A significant construction milestone has been achieved at the new White Rose Rail Station in south Leeds, which comes at a cost of £26.5 million.

Rail infrastructure specialist, Spencer Group, has successfully installed two new link bridges connecting the main station buildings to the platform level at the new station. This station is being constructed adjacent to the White Rose Park, situated between Morley and Cottingley on the primary trans-Pennine route to Manchester via Huddersfield.

The upcoming station will facilitate easier access for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users, enabling a greater number of people to reach employment, educational institutions, and recreational activities. Moreover, it will offer improved entry points to the White Rose Park, shopping centre, and bus interchange.

In addition to providing 80 designated spaces for bicycles, the project encompasses enhanced pathways for walking and cycling within local communities. These routes will connect to the White Rose Shopping Centre and bus interchange.

This initiative is a collaborative effort between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Munroe K, Leeds City Council, Network Rail, and the Department for Transport.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “We’re determined to create a better-connected region where everyone has the same opportunity to get on in life.

“Investing in transport schemes that support economic growth, like the White Rose Rail Station, has a key role to play in that.

“This investment will bring new opportunities for people in nearby communities by boosting transport links, regeneration and jobs.”

The two link bridges were installed during overnight operations spanning two weekends.

A crane weighing 1,200 tonnes – approximately 200 times the weight of an elephant – was assembled on-site. It was transported in sections and took a week to put together, requiring over 25 lorry deliveries of components.

The east link bridge, which had to be constructed in two sections and then welded on-site, measures 40 metres in length and weighs 84 tonnes.

The west link bridge is 20 metres long and weighs 46 tonnes.

These accomplishments follow the installation of sections for the platform canopy earlier this year.

Leeds City Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, said; “It’s really pleasing to see a significant milestone achieved in the construction of Leeds newest Rail Station. The changes when complete will improve access to the city centre for residents in surrounding neighbourhoods, visitors to Leeds and thousands of young people who learn in the city’s schools and colleges each day. White Rose Station along with other improved transport links we’re working on provide more opportunities to reduce our city’s carbon impact and realise our economic potential.”

David Aspin, CEO of Munroe K, said; “Seeing the two-foot bridges installed marks a significant milestone in the project and is a real testament to the workmanship of the whole team at Spencer Group. In recent weeks the station buildings have come to life as the external cladding has been added and now the passenger walkways. We’re excited to see the progress continue as we head towards the new station opening next year.”

Anna Weeks, Principal Programme Sponsor at Network Rail, said; “It’s always special to reach milestones such as this in the large-scale infrastructure projects that Network Rail supports alongside its partners. We’re proud to be playing our part in delivering a new accessible railway station for local residents and the wider public, offering them more sustainable ways to travel into Leeds city centre and beyond.”

Joe Bennett, Operations Director at Spencer Group, said; “The installation of the two link bridges represents a major milestone in the project.

“We had to work around external obstacles with the bridge lifts, including gas main renewals on the main road, but it went very well. The station is now really beginning to take shape.

“We’re excited to be working closely with our partners to deliver this important project, which will provide a significant upgrade to the rail infrastructure in the North.”

The project’s funding partially comes from a grant provided by Natural England, in association with the Pennine National Trails Partnership. This initiative aims to facilitate people in enjoying the picturesque countryside in the region. Kirklees Council has matched this grant, using funds allocated to the Public Rights of Way budget by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, to cover the complete cost of the project.