diamond geezer

 Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Anorak Corner [National Rail edition]

It's time once again for the annual splurge of passenger data from across Britain's railway network, this time covering the period April 2017 to March 2018.

Time was when these figures went pretty much unnoticed apart from a brief quirky news article about this year's tumbleweed station. But these days they're social media gold, with the Office of Road and Rail trumpeting the release date weeks in advance, then a wild burst of media excitement on the day itself. That day is today, and the official release time is 9:30am.

London's ten busiest National Rail stations (2017/18) (with changes since 2016/17)
  1) -- Waterloo (94m)
  2)
-- Victoria (75m)
  3)
-- Liverpool Street (67m)
  4)
-- London Bridge (48m)
  5)
-- Euston (45m)
  6)
-- Stratford (40m)
  7)
-- Paddington (37m)
  8)
↑1 St Pancras (35m)
  9)
↓1 King's Cross (34m)
10)
↑1 Highbury & Islington (30m)

London's Rail Top Ten is filled by almost the same stations as last year, and in almost the same positions. Waterloo is still easily top of the list, despite an engineering blockade in the summer, with Victoria and Liverpool Street sitting comfortably behind. King's Cross and St Pancras change places, with improved Thameslink services likely to be a contributory factor. Even if they were a single combined station they'd still only be in third place. Highbury & Islington's new entry is at the expense of Clapham Junction, which slips to 11th.

London's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't central London termini (2017/18)
  1) -- Stratford (40m)
  2)
↑1 Highbury & Islington (30m)
  3)
↓1 Clapham Junction (29m)
  4)
-- Canada Water (25m)
  5)
-- East Croydon (24m)
  6)
-- Vauxhall (20m)
  7)
-- Wimbledon (19m)
  8)
-- Whitechapel (14m)
  9)
-- Barking (13m)
10)
-- Richmond (11m)

Once you strip out the central London termini a rather different picture appears, and it's substantially orange. One reason for this is that at Overground stations the data includes everyone changing to or from the tube, because technically that counts as an entrance or exit even if passengers don't leave the station. You can imagine how much this boosts stations like Highbury & Islington [Victoria], Canada Water [Jubilee] and Whitechapel [District/H&C]. So it might be more informative to discount TfL-operated stations, like so...

London's ten busiest non-TfL stations outside zone 1 (2017/18)
  1) -- Clapham Junction (29m)
  2)
-- East Croydon (24m)
  3)
-- Wimbledon (19m)
  4)
-- Barking (13m)
  5)
-- Richmond (11.5m)
  6)
-- Lewisham (10.7m)
  7)
-- Surbiton (9.1m)
  8)
-- Putney (8.8m)
  9)
↑1 Bromley South (8.6m)
10)
↓1 Balham (8.5m)

Here's a more traditional-looking list, focusing on suburban commuter traffic, with stations operated by the Overground and TfL stripped out. Other than Barking, note that all the big-hitters are south of the river. Only Bromley South and Balham have swapped places this year, and by the tiniest of margins. For comparison purposes, North Greenwich tube sees over 28m passengers a year, so is busier than all but one of the stations listed above. Clapham Junction's total would double if you included interchanges, and interchanges also account for a large proportion of the crowds using East Croydon and Lewisham.

London's ten least busy Overground stations (2017/18)
  1) Emerson Park (308,000) ↑11%
  2)
South Hampstead (422,000) --
  3)
Headstone Lane (455,000) ↓5%
  4)
Crouch Hill (470,000) ↑65%
  5)
Walthamstow Queens Road (501,000) ↑130%
  6)
Woodgrange Park (514,000) ↑160%
  7)
Stamford Hill (543,000) ↓6%
  8)
Wanstead Park (563,000) ↑165%
  9)
South Kenton (570,000) ↓4%
10)
Leytonstone High Road (571,000) ↑170%

Last year's figures were massively distorted by lengthy closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking line. This year they spring back - not quite completely, because those closures dribbled on, but enough to restore some sense of normality. Emerson Park on the runty Romford-Upminster line returns to the bottom of the heap, even though its passengers numbers have increased by another 10%. Meanwhile South Hampstead's total looks remarkably low for a station in a densely-populated part of Zone 2, but in reality nearby Swiss Cottage is a much stronger draw.

London's ten least busy National Rail stations (2017/18)
  1) ↑2 South Greenford (26500)
  2)
↓1 Angel Road (32900)
  3)
↑4 Drayton Green (33600)
  4)
↓2 Sudbury & Harrow Road (44100)
  5)
-- Morden South (75600)
  6)
↓2 Sudbury Hill Harrow (77100)
  7)
↑4 Castle Bar Park (80400)
  8)
↓2 Birkbeck (108000)
  9)
↓1 South Merton (120000)
10)
-- Belmont (141000)

Angel Road has lost its crown as London's least used station (and should be expected to descend more rapidly in two years' time after being reborn as Meridian Water). Its place as the capital's least used station is taken by South Greenford, a desolate halt on the Greenford branch which lost all its direct trains to Paddington at the start of last year, and whose passengers no longer seem keen on travelling to West Ealing and changing there. Also on this branch are 'high climber' Drayton Green and 'new entry' Castle Bar Park, each of which have lost over half of their passengers in a single year. For comparison purposes, London has forty-nine National Rail stations that are less busy than the tube's least used station, Roding Valley.

But enough of London.

The UK's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't in London (2017/18)
  1) -- Birmingham New Street (44m)
  2) -- Glasgow Central (33m)
  3) -- Leeds (31m)
  4) -- Manchester Piccadilly (28m)
  5) -- Edinburgh (23m)
  6) -- Gatwick Airport (20m)
  7) -- Reading (17m)
  8) ↑1 Brighton (16.9m)
  9) ↓1 Liverpool Central (16.5m)
10) ↑1 Glasgow Queen Street (16.4m)

It's no change at the top, indeed no change in the top seven. Recently-revamped Birmingham New Street remains at the top, and is the only station outside London to make it into the national Top Ten, slotting inbetween Euston and Stratford. Glasgow Central remains in second place, and Glasgow Queen Street nudges back into tenth place following a lengthy closure during the previous year. The only other stations outside London to exceed 10 million passengers are Liverpool Lime Street, Cardiff Central, Cambridge and Bristol Temple Meads.

The UK's ten least busy National Rail stations (2017/18)
  1) ↑3 British Steel Redcar (40)
  2)
↓1 Barry Links (52)
  3)
↑9 Denton (70)
  4)
↓2 Tees-Side Airport (74)
  5)
↑5 Stanlow & Thornton (92)
  6)
↓3 Breich (102)
  7)
↓1 Reddish South (104)
  8)
↑2 Elton & Orston (138)
  9)
↑8 Thorpe Culvert (148)
10)
↑8 Coombe Junction (156)

Finally, here's the list everyone finds the most intriguing. These are the stations that can't even muster four passengers a week, such is the inaccessibility of their location or the paucity of their service.

The 'least used' rankings are often volatile, as you'd expect when dealing with very small numbers, and this year is no exception. British Steel Redcar has sprung into pole position, as might be expected when the steelworks entirely surrounding it closed in 2015. Barry Links might do better in next year's figures because golf's Open Championship was held at neighbouring Carnoustie this summer. Denton and Reddish South see only one train a week, hence their appearance. Teesside Airport, which was the least used station from 2010 to 2013, had its two trains a week cut to one this time last year. Elton & Orston and Thorpe Culvert are usually-skipped stations on the Nottingham to Skegness line. Coombe Junction Halt is the only one of these ten in the southern half of the country, and by far the least used station in Cornwall.

There's also a story to be told about the stations which are no longer listed here. Shippea Hill is now only number 19, thanks in no small measure to Geoff & Vicki's incursion as part of All The Stations last summer. Pilning has a passionate users group whose campaigns have successfully doubled ridership this year on top of a previous 400% boost. Sugar Loaf has gone from Wales' quietest station to unexpected tourist attraction with a 700% leap. Least Used stations don't always remain least used, there's always hope. But when there are still 24 stations which can't even muster an average of one passenger per day, we perhaps ought to question the service they're receiving.

» Rail passenger data here (total annual entry and exit frequencies)
» Previous updates: 16/17 15/16 14/15, 13/14, 12/13, 11/12, 10/11, 09/10, 08/09, 07/08, 06/07, 05/06


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream