Work on the bridge, which crosses Lower Briggate in the city centre, has began as it is currently being redecorated in a bespoke paint design thanks to funding raised by the local LGB&T Community and Leeds City Council.
It’s a sign that Leeds is following in the footsteps of other cities around the world, following the likes of Philadelphia (pictured below).
The bridge, which carries trains traveling north from Leeds rail station, will also see vital engineering work carried out as part of the ongoing Railway Upgrade Plan to create a more reliable railway for passengers.
Neil Henry, area director for Network Rail, said: “Work at the bridge on Lower Briggate, which carries a huge number of vital passenger services to the north of Leeds, is essential to keep rail services reliable and forms part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We’re delighted that our stakeholders want the bridge to become an iconic one for the city and were more than happy to work with them on the new colour scheme.”
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive member for culture, said: “The plans for this bridge represent a tremendous show of support for the city’s LGB&T community. Not only will the rainbow bridge be an eye-catching addition to what is already a lively and eclectic part of Leeds, it will also make a huge statement to our many visitors that here, we embrace and celebrate diversity and the contribution it makes to ensuring Leeds is such a warm, welcoming and successful city.”
Thomas Wales, LGB&T campaigner who came up with the idea for painting the bridge, said: “The new rainbow colour scheme is based on a variation of the Freedom Flag as designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. Each colour represents something different, from life and harmony to nature and spirit, it is also a scheme that has been adopted internationally to celebrate freedom in sexuality and gender identity in our city. It is destined to become a landmark we can all be proud of.”