diamond geezer

 Saturday, November 07, 2020

Anorak Corner [DLR/Overground/Crossrail edition]

For the first time, TfL's latest splurge of passenger data also includes official entry and exit data for stations on the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and TfL Rail. Figures are for total entries and exits during the calendar year 2019.

The DLR's ten busiest stations (2019) (with changes since 2018)
  1) Bank (30m)
  2)
Canary Wharf (18m)
  3)
Woolwich Arsenal (15m)
  4)
Canning Town (14m)
  5)
↑1 Stratford (10.5m)
  6)
↑1 Limehouse (9.8m)
  7)
↓2 Lewisham (9.7m)
  8)
Shadwell (8.9m)
  9)
Heron Quays (8.2m)
10)
Cutty Sark (7.1m)

Bank is the most used DLR station, which is good going for two cramped platforms shoehorned under the City of London. Tower Gateway is 14th, for comparison. In second place is Canary Wharf, the line's other financial nexus. Woolwich Arsenal takes third place, confirming the wisdom of driving a DLR extension under the river. Canning Town's total includes all those interchanging to/from the Jubilee line. Stratford's DLR passenger numbers continue to edge up while Lewisham's are falling back. Cutty Sark is the highest ranked DLR station not to interchange with any other railway line.

The DLR's ten least busy stations (2019)
  1) Beckton Park (509000)
  2)
Pudding Mill Lane (856000)
  3)
Stratford High Street (1.18m)
  4)
Abbey Road (1.22m)
  5)
West India Quay (1.31m)
  6)
Gallions Reach (1.42m)
  7)
Star Lane (1.50m)
  8)
Elverson Road (1.70m)
  9)
↑1 Royal Albert (1.82m)
10)
↓1 King George V (1.86m)

Beckton Park, three stops before Beckton, remains the least used DLR station. Pudding Mill Lane is the other DLR station with fewer than a million passengers annually (despite having been rebuilt as the largest station on the network). Stratford High Street, Abbey Road and Star Lane are all on the Stratford International branch, bypassed by the Jubilee line, and not especially busy. Most of the least used stations are on the fringes of Newham, with Elverson Road the only straggler south of the river. Pontoon Dock was in this Bottom 10 two years ago but is no longer in the Bottom 20 thanks to the development of dense new housing alongside.

The Overground's ten busiest stations (2019) (with changes since 2018)
  1) ↑1 Highbury & Islington (23.6m)
  2)
↓1 Canada Water (23.4m)
  3)
Stratford (16.0m)
  4)
Clapham Junction (14.8m)
  5)
Whitechapel (14.0m)
  6)
Liverpool Street (13.4m)
  7)
Willesden Junction (10.6m)
  8)
↑1 Shoreditch High Street (9.5m)
  9)
↓1 Seven Sisters (9.4m)
10)
Shepherd's Bush (8.3m)

Highbury & Islington creeps into first position ahead of previous champion Canada Water, but only just. Both stations benefit from interchanges with busy tube lines. At Stratford more people catch the Overground than catch the DLR. Clapham Junction's 15m is perhaps half of all those who enter and exit the station annually. Shoreditch High Street is the only station in the Top 10 to be Overground only.

The Overground's ten least busy stations (2019)
  1) Battersea Park (12200)
  2)
Emerson Park (323000)
  3)
Cheshunt (459000)
  4)
↑3 North Wembley (550000)
  5)
↑1 South Kenton (561000)
  6)
↓2 South Hampstead (577000)
  7)
↓2 Upminster (596000)
  8)
Romford (638000)
  9)
Headstone Lane (653000)
10)
Bushey (699000)

The Overground's least used station is the one hardly any trains stop at. Battersea Park sees only two Overground departures and one Overground arrival a day, so attracts barely 40 passengers a day. Far more worthy of the title is Emerson Park, the least-used regularly-served station, which averages more like 1000. Cheshunt appears because it has much faster non-orange trains to central London, ditto Bushey. Figures suggest that quarter of North Wembley and South Kenton's passengers take the Overground while the rest take the Bakerloo. Upminster and Romford are very busy stations where the Overground is an insignificant part of overall traffic.

TfL Rail's ten busiest stations (2019) (with changes since 2018)
  1) Stratford (27m)
  2)
Liverpool Street (19m)
  3)
↑1 Romford (8.9m)
  4)
↓1 Ilford (8.3m)
  5)
Paddington (4.7m)
  6)
Chadwell Heath (4.4m)
  7)
Goodmayes (4.0m)
  8)
Forest Gate (3.9m)
  9)
Seven Kings (3.5m)
10)
↑1 Harold Wood (3.1m)

One day this will be a Crossrail list, but for now it's mainly a measure of the popularity of suburban stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. Stratford and Liverpool Street dominate, both far in advance of Romford and Ilford, which themselves easily outrank everywhere else. Paddington is the only western station to feature. Stations from West Drayton to Reading are not included because they only joined TfL Rail in December 2019.

TfL Rail's ten least busy stations (2019)
  1) Acton Main Line (381000)
  2)
Hanwell (676000)
  3)
↑2 Heathrow T4 (1.43m)
  4)
West Ealing (1.49m)
  5)
↓2 Maryland (1.56m)
  6)
Heathrow T2&3 (1.66m)
  7)
Shenfield (1.86m)
  8)
↑6 Brentwood (2.43m)
  9)
↑1 Hayes & Harlington (2.55m)
10)
↓2 Southall (2.56m)

Most of these lesser used stations are to the west of London, headed by currently insignificant halts at Acton and Hanwell. Heathrow is not (yet) a significant driver of TfL Rail services. Maryland is the only underperforming station to the east of the capital, along with Shenfield and Brentwood just outside. Anorak Corner 2023 is likely to bring lowly Twyford, Taplow and Iver to this list, but for now just revel in the sheer unnecessariness of it all.

Finally, because TfL are now producing data for tube, DLR, Overground and TfL stations on an equal footing, I can bring you this definitive ranking...

TfL's ten least busy stations (2019)
  1) Emerson Park (323000) [Overground]
  2)
Acton Main Line (381000) [TfL Rail]
  3)
Roding Valley (450000) [Tube]
  4)
Beckton Park (509000) [DLR]
  5)
Chigwell (525000) [Tube]
  6)
South Hampstead (577000) [Overground]
  7)
Grange Hill (652000) [Tube]
  8)
Headstone Lane (653000) [Overground]
  9)
Hanwell (676000) [TfL Rail]
10)
Hatch End (726000) [Overground]

I've excluded stations served by more than one mode, because their combined passenger totals are too large, so these genuinely are TfL's least used stations. I like how each of the four modes appears in the list, indeed numbers 1-4 include one of each! Emerson Park takes the tumbleweed award, and rightly so, followed by empty Acton Main Line and lowly Roding Valley. If London's National Rail stations were allowed to compete they'd take all ten places... and the next ten after that. And if only TfL had thrown in totals for tram stops then I could have brought you the Tube Map's Least Used Top 10, but hey, maybe next year.


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