Shipley Depot

The Transpennine Route Upgrade is investing around £100million in a new rail depot in Shipley.

The new depot, which was officially announced on Thursday 14 March 2024 by Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP during a visit to Shipley Station, forms part of the Government’s latest £3.9billion investment into what is one of Britain’s largest rail projects.

Initially, the rail depot will be used to house and maintain Northern’s fleet of electric trains on the Airedale and Wharfedale Lines while access in and out of their Neville Hill depot in Leeds is restricted during a future phase of TRU.

Northern will then keep Shipley depot open following the completion of the upgrade, with as many as 100 permanent employees.

  • [l-r] Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP; Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director, Northern;
    Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Neil Holm, Managing Director of the Transpennine Route Upgrade
  • The proposed design for the main building exterior of the new Shipley Depot
  • The proposed interior of the main trainshed at the new Shipley Depot

The depot has most recently been used as a recycling centre operated by Crossley Evans, who have remained supportive and co-operative throughout the early development stages of the depot, which will redevelop an existing brownfield site within the town.

The proposed layout of the new Shipley Depot

During the depot’s construction, the Transpennine Route Upgrade will continue to commit to its pledge to create local jobs and support local communities, with 65% of team living within 25 miles and 80% living within 40 miles; and spending a minimum of 25% with local businesses to drive further growth in the North. At the time of new depot’s announcement in March 2024, the Upgrade had already spent £420million (66%) with local businesses and £218million (34%) with small and medium-sized enterprises.

History has come full circle for the site, and the opening of the new Shipley depot is the latest phase of the site’s railway career.

Our Depot Project Manager, Paul Summerfield, and Richard Pulleyn, who was the last signaller at the Shipley Goods Signal Box which controlled access to the site until its closure in 1972, have provided us with a fascinating insight into the site’s heritage:

The railway line between Leeds, Shipley and Bradford was opened by the Leeds & Bradford Railway in June 1846, when the fare between the two cities was as little as a shilling.

The impact of the railway was enormous for freight as well as passengers, with goods transferring from the Bradford extension of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, which ran parallel to the railway from Shipley to Bradford and was eventually abandoned in 1922.

Much of the early freight was the delivery of coal and the transportation of stone from the nearby Wrose Quarry. The site was extended to the south of Valley Road in 1877 to meet demand.

  • Shipley Urban District Council plan of Shipley Goods Yard (credit: Richard Pulleyn)
  • 1877 Board of Trade Inspection Report plan of Shipley Goods Yard (credit: Richard Pulleyn)
  • Historic LM&SR plan of the south of Shipley Goods Yard (credit: Richard Pulleyn)

A small part of the site first started handling scrap metal during the First World War, when there became an urgent need to recycle metal. This demand gradually grew and eventually took over the whole site in the 1970s.

  • Shipley Goods Yard North in the 1960s (credit: Richard Pulleyn)
  • Shipley Goods Yard South in 1970 (credit: Richard Pulleyn)
  • Shipley Goods Yard South in 1971 (credit: Richard Pulleyn)

An increase in passenger trains on the line from the 1990s due to rising popularity of rail travel meant it became harder for freight trains to serve the site, and this eventually ceased. It is the latest generation of clean, modern electric trains on this line which will be serviced and maintained at the new Shipley depot.