Bradford Interchange

Bradford Interchange National Rail

The car park and entrance
Place Bradford
Local authority City of Bradford
Coordinates 53°47′28″N 1°45′00″W / 53.791°N 1.750°W / 53.791; -1.750Coordinates: 53°47′28″N 1°45′00″W / 53.791°N 1.750°W / 53.791; -1.750
Grid reference SE165327
Station code BDI
Managed by Northern and Metro
Number of platforms 4
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 2.804 million
– Interchange  Increase 35,284
2011/12 Increase 2.877 million
– Interchange  Increase 59,279
2012/13 Increase 3.005 million
– Interchange  Decrease 54,863
2013/14 Decrease 2.990 million
– Interchange  Increase 65,581
2014/15 Decrease 2.923 million
– Interchange  Increase 74,189
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE West Yorkshire (Metro)
Zone 3
1850 Opened as Bradford Exchange
1973 Resited south
1983 Renamed as Bradford Interchange
2001 Bus station rebuilt
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bradford Interchange from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Bradford Interchange is a transport interchange in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, which consists of a railway station and combined bus and coach station adjacent. The Interchange, which was designed in 1962, was hailed as a showpiece of European design and was opened in 1971. It is served by the majority of bus services in the city centre along with National Express Coaches, while the railway station, which is one of two in the city centre (along with Bradford Forster Square), is served by Northern and is also the terminus for Grand Central services to London Kings Cross.

Layout and facilities

The bus station concourse at Bradford Interchange

The main entrance with the taxi rank and car park is on a lower level, while the train platforms and bus/coach stops are on a split upper level, both separate with pedestrian access. Downstairs, in the central concourse, there are a few shops, a newsagent, a cafe and sandwich shop and a fast food outlet on the train platforms, where hot drinks are also available. Toilets are located off the main concourse.

There is also a British Transport Police office and lost luggage desk, provided for passengers' concern and safety at the railway station, with a separate security and lost-luggage unit for bus travellers, on the bus concourse. A smoking ban is observed in all parts of Bradford interchange, and CCTV is also in operation with security officers and police regularly patrolling the station.

The railway station has 4 platforms and a short bay that was previously used for the Red Star parcels facility. Platform 1 has a run-round facility for locomotive hauled trains (mainly freight services). The track layout and associated signalling was remodelled during the course of a week-long engineering blockade from 25 October to 3 November 2008 to permit higher speeds on both routes into the station and also allow trains to approach the station from both Leeds and Halifax simultaneously (something that was not possible with the old track configuration).[1]

Ticket offices

Bradford Interchange has separate bus and train ticket outlets. The bus and Metro office, which also deals with National Express coach enquiries from a separate desk, is located in the central concourse. The train ticket office is next to the pedestrian entrance to the train platforms and is open seven days per week (except late evenings). Escalators and lifts link the two levels and there is step-free access to all platforms.[2]


LMS Fairburn 2-6-4T 42072 at Bradford Exchange, 1966-67
Internal view in 1961
Platform view in 1961
Bradford Interchange bus terminal c. 1998, taken from the footbridge that connected the platforms. The green signs indicate departure bays. Note Keighley & District, First Bradford Traveller and WYPTE liveried buses.

The original railway station, named Bradford Exchange, was opened by the joint efforts of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the Great Northern Railway on 9 May 1850.[3] In 1867, the Leeds, Bradford and Halifax Junction Railway, which had previously used Bradford Adolphus Street, built a link to the tracks into Exchange station to join the two existing companies; Adolphus Street station was then closed to passenger use.[4]

The railway station was completely rebuilt on the same site in 1880 with ten bay platforms and two arched roofs. Constructed of wrought iron, these rested at the outer sides on plain stone walls and classical corinthian style columns down the middle. Glass covered the middle half and timber (inside)/ slate (outside) covered the outer quarters of each span. The four end screens were glazed in a fan pattern with decorative timber outer edging. The dimensions were a length of 450 feet (140 m), a width of 100 feet (30 m) for each arch and a height of 80 feet (24 m), track to apex. The railway station never had a formal frontage; instead, passengers entered by an opening in the northwest side.

In its 1920s heyday, it served routes to Wakefield Westgate via Ardsley (used by many of the city's through trains to London Kings Cross), Wakefield Kirkgate via Batley and Ossett, Keighley & Halifax via Queensbury, Mirfield via Cleckheaton (the Spen Valley line) and to Leeds via the Pudsey Loop in addition to the current lines. These however had all closed by the end of 1966 - most having fallen victim to the Beeching Axe.

By 1973, the railway station with its 10 platforms[5] was deemed too large and was again rebuilt, this time on a different site slightly further south. The old Exchange station was demolished soon afterwards and was used for a time as a car park; the site now houses Bradford Crown Court[3] and is due to be developed as a 'Justice Quarter' with new Magistrates' and Coroner's Courts.[6] In 1977, a bus station was built alongside, and, in 1983, the station was renamed Bradford Interchange to link buses and trains in a covered environment.

The bus station featured a large ridge and furrow design of overall roof, which was subsequently demolished in 1999 to allow for a rebuilding of the bus station, which was opened in 2001. This was paid for partly by the sale of some adjacent land to the south of the site and some now-surplus land on the old bus station site. During the 1970s and 1980s, the station was considered the mainline station for Bradford with express services to London King's Cross, Trans-Pennine services to Liverpool and Newcastle and summer Saturday services to the South-West. The Inter-city services were moved to Forster Square station in 1992 when the line was electrified. The station also had an adjacent Red Star Parcels terminus but, like most other mainline stations following the privatisation of British Rail, it lost this facility during the 1990s.


Bus and coach

The bus station is managed by Metro. The main operators at the bus station include First West Yorkshire, Arriva Yorkshire and Yorkshire Tiger with other services run by Geldards Coaches, Keighley Bus Company, Stagecoach Yorkshire and TLC Travel. National Express coaches run nationwide from the station, Bharat Coaches run coach services to Derby, Leicester, Slough and Southall and Megabus runs services to Burnley, Halifax, Huddersfield, Skipton and East Midlands Parkway railway station (with train connections to London St Pancras) as part of its Megabusplus service.

Local bus services run to many destinations, including Dewsbury, Halifax, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Ilkley, Keighley, Leeds, Otley and Wakefield, as well as services within the Bradford area, such as Shipley. A FreeCityBus service also serve the Interchange and runs to the main shopping sites of town, Bradford Forster Square railway station, Bradford College and the University of Bradford.


Bradford Interchange is on the Caldervale Line and is one of the two railway stations serving the city of Bradford. The other station is Forster Square, a 10 minutes walk away.

Monday to Saturday at daytime, services run every 15 minutes between the Interchange and Leeds and hourly onwards to York. A limited number of services also operate to Selby, but regular through running ended at the May 2014 timetable change. On evenings and Sundays, there are usually three services to Leeds each hour with one extended to York.

In the other direction, there is a train every 15 minutes to Halifax, with two trains an hour continuing to Manchester Victoria (one limited stop, the other serving all stations to Todmorden, then Rochdale only), one to Blackpool North via Preston and one to Huddersfield.[7]

Sundays, there are three services each hour to Halifax, with one continuing to Manchester Victoria and one to Blackpool North. One Halifax service continues to Huddersfield on alternate hours.

Because of the geography of Bradford, the station was built as a terminus, with the lines in a 'Y'-formation, so trains must reverse out of the station to continue their journey.

London services

The station now also sees regular services to London King's Cross via Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster. In January 2009, Grand Central had its application for train paths to run a Bradford Interchange to London service accepted by the Office of Rail Regulation.[8] Four trains per day operate, now that full approval for the service has been granted;[9] these use Class 180 units and started running from 23 May 2010.[10][11]

Ongoing improvements

The railway station has not seen significant improvements in many years.

The bus platforms were once more plentiful and originally featured a large 'ridge and furrow' glass roof,[12] but this was demolished in the 1990s, following the sale of some land for an office development. The bus station was completely rebuilt in 2001.

Metro are currently considering improvements to the bus and rail platforms, including better access between facilities and pedestrian access between the bus concourse and the rail platforms, to save walking down and up the escalators.

The information displays were replaced in early 2009,[13] following a modest facelift in autumn 2008, which included new signage and a repaint. In January 2010, automatic ticket barriers were installed by Northern Rail.[14]

Further improvements under the National Station Improvement Plan are proposed, which include refurbished canopies, new flooring, more lighting and CCTV, a new waiting room and extra seating.[15]

Under Network Rail's Northern Hub development, the Northern franchise which commenced in April 2016, will reintroduce services to Liverpool and new services to Nottingham via Sheffield, Manchester Airport and Chester have been announced.[16] These will form part of the new "Northern Connect" network and use new-build DMUs once these have been delivered in 2018.[17]

Other interchanges

With the option to combine bus and rail transport, Bradford Interchange allows a flexibility in public transport not experienced in many other major Northern cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. Leeds recently tried to combine access to buses and trains with a small dual transport terminal, Leeds Station Interchange, but most buses from Leeds continue to operate from bus stands around the city centre. The best example of integrated services, at least for the time being, is now Hull Paragon Interchange.

A train arriving at Bradford Interchange, 2006

See also



    1. "Upgrade for Bradford Interchange"Railnews article 25 September 2008; Retrieved 19 November 2016
    2. Bradford Interchange station facilities National Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 30 November 2016
    3. 1 2 "Bradford Exchange". Subterranea Britannica. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
    4. "Bradford Adolphus Street". Subterranea Britannica. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
    5. "Bradford". Retrieved 11 March 2014.
    6. "City plans £58m Justice Quarter". BBC News Online. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
    7. Table 41 National Rail timetable, May 2016
    8. ORR Track Access Applications Decision for ECML Passenger Services - 28 January 2009 ORR Website; Retrieved 29 January 2009
    9. Grand Central Rail - Future Developments; Retrieved 21 August 2009
    10. RAIL issue 641
    11. "Rail firm to launch another Bradford-London train link". Telegraph & Argus. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
    12. Photo of bus station in 1977 on Lost Railways West Yorkshire: Bradford
    13. Killner, Will (20 April 2009). "'Voice of the rails' launches £3.3 million passenger information system". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
    14. "Automatic rail ticket gates at Bradford Interchange". West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
    15. Kilner, Will (24 March 2010). "Campaigners say they are delighted at plans to carry out work at Bradford Interchange". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
    16. £1.2 billion upgrade for North as Arriva wins Northern and First retains TransPennine Express Clinnick, Richard; Rail Magazine 9 December 2015; Retrieved 17 December 2015
    17. CAF awarded Arriva Rail North rolling stock contract Railway Gazette International 22 January 2016; Retrieved 27 January 2016

    External links

    Preceding station National Rail Following station
    Halifax   Northern
    Caldervale Line
      New Pudsey
    Halifax   Grand Central
    Disused railways
    Bowling Junction   L&Y   St Dunstans
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