London's ten busiest National Rail stations (2014/15)(with changes since 2013/14) 1) Waterloo (99m)2) Victoria (85m)3) Liverpool Street (64m)4) London Bridge (50m)5) ↑1 Charing Cross (42.98m)6) ↓1 Euston (42.95m)7) Paddington (36m)8) King's Cross (32m)9) Stratford (31m)10) St Pancras (28m)
It's a lot of no change in the London Rail Top 10. The only slight switch sees Charing Cross overtake Euston, fractionally, mainly thanks to passengers displaced by extensive closures at London Bridge. Although Stratford's position in the London Top 10 hasn't changed, a rise of 4½m passengers has seen the station enter the National Top 10 for the first time, at number 10.
London's ten busiest National Rail stations fifteen years ago (1999/2000) 1) London Bridge (81m)2) Waterloo (66m)3) Victoria (59m)4) King's Cross (46m)5) Liverpool Street (38m)6) Euston (30m)7) Paddington (24m)8) Fenchurch Street (16m)9) Clapham Junction (15½m)10) East Croydon (13m)
London Bridge may have haemorrhaged passengers since the millennium (do we have the Jubilee line to thank?), but entries and exits at every other station in this list have grown enormously over the last 15 years (by approximately 40-50% in most cases). Charing Cross has shot up from 21st fifteen years ago to 5th now, while Stratford used to be 35th back then, one place behind Earlsfield.
London's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't central London termini (2014/15) 1) Stratford (31m)2) Clapham Junction (26m)3) East Croydon (22m)4) Vauxhall (21m)5) ↑1 Highbury & Islington (20m)6) ↓1 Wimbledon (19½m)7) Putney (11m)8) Richmond (9.8m)9) ↑1 Barking (9.7m)10) ↓1 Surbiton (9.6m)
Not much has changed here either since last year, with a lot of stations in south and west London making a prominent appearance. Highbury and Islington's strong showing is mostly due to the Overground, and not thanks to an onslaught of passengers using the Northern City line.
London's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't central London termini fifteen years ago (1999/2000) 1) Clapham Junction (16m)2) East Croydon (13m)3) Wimbledon (11m)4) Richmond (7m)5) Putney (6m)6) Surbiton (5.45m)7) Ealing Broadway (5.42m)8) Bromley South (4.8m)9) Romford (4.5m)10) Sutton (4.3m)
Stratford was way outside this list fifteen years ago, with only 2.5m passengers annually, a total that's since increased tenfold. Many of the other stations in the top 10 back then are still there, only with almost twice as many passengers. Is this because of London's increased population, or a shift from road to rail, or improved infrastructure, or the influence of a Mayor on transport policy?
Meanwhile at the bottom of the heap, not much has happened. The bottom six stations are the same bottom six as last year in the same order, in many cases with approximately the same (feeble) number of passengers. Belmont is creeping up, or rather creeping down, and if you've ever been to this almost-Surrey outpost you'll know why. But Emerson Park is heading the right way, with 20% more passengers than last year, and this is with a cut-off date before the Overground took over.
London's ten least busy National Rail stations fifteen years ago (1999/2000) 1) West Ruislip (92)2) Drayton Green (6500)3) Sudbury & Harrow Road (8200)4) South Greenford (10000)5) Sudbury Hill Harrow (15000)6) Angel Road (16000)7) Crews Hill (22000)8) Emerson Park (24000)9) Belmont (26000)10) Woodgrange Park (40000)
Other than the top and bottom of the list (look at West Ruislip!) these lowly stations are almost identical to today. Nobody wanted to go to Sudbury and Greenford then, and nobody does now. Even so, look at how passenger numbers have exploded more than tenfold at these stations since the millennium. That's particularly the case at Woodgrange Park, today part of the Overground with three quarters of a million passengers annually.
The UK's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't in London (2014/15) 1) Birmingham New Street (35m)2) ↑1 Glasgow Central (29.0m)3) ↓1 Leeds (28.8m)4) Manchester Piccadilly (24.6m)5) Edinburgh (21.1m)6) ↑1 Gatwick Airport (17.5m)7) ↓1 Brighton (17.2m)8) Glasgow Queen Street (17.0m)9) Reading (16.3m)10) Liverpool Central (15.3m)
Since last year, again minimal change. Glasgow and Leeds continue to swap places based on fractions of a million, whereas the real story is Gatwick Airport continuing its relentless rise. Of all these provincial stations only Birmingham makes the National Top 10, all the other places are taken by stations in London.
The UK's ten busiest National Rail stations that aren't in London fifteen years ago (1999/2000) 1) Glasgow Central (23m)2) Manchester Piccadilly (15m)3) Birmingham New Street (13m)4) Edinburgh (11.7m)5) Leeds (11.4m)6) Liverpool Lime Street (11.3m)7) Reading (11.2m)8) Brighton (8.9m)9) Gatwick Airport (8.6m)10) Cardiff Central (6.5m)
Glasgow Central took the crown fifteen years ago, and hasn't dramatically increased its passenger numbers since. But many of the other stations have - Leeds has more than doubled and Birmingham New Street almost trebled. Will the latter's revamp earlier this year boost numbers even more?
These ten stations on the National Rail network have fewer than 100 passengers a year, that's less than two a week! Often the reason for this is an abysmal train service running at awkward times or on infrequent days. Shippea Hill, for example, has one train to Norwich around 7.30am daily (except Sunday), and one train to Cambridge around 7.30pm on Saturdays only, so is effectively useless. The least used station in London is a thousand times more popular.
The UK's ten least busy National Rail stations fifteen years ago (1999/2000) 1) Coombe Junction (32)2) Buckenham (33)3) Gainsborough Central (36)4) Pilning (42)5) Golf Street (56)6) Altnabreac (58)7) Barry Links (60)8) Sugar Loaf (78)9) Thorne South (85)10) Watford West (87)
Much the same suspects, with similarly appalling passenger numbers. The big escapee since the millennium is Thorne South, which now has an hourly service to Doncaster and a six figure annual passenger total. And look, there's poor dead Watford West, at the time limping on with a daily taxi service and officially closed a couple of years later. It's also the only one of these ten stations I've ever been to - I should really do something about that...
» Rail passenger data here(total annual entry and exit frequencies)