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Britain’s busiest station recorded 7.3 million fewer entries and exits in 2019-20

1 December 2020
Britain’s busiest railway station London Waterloo recorded 7.3 million fewer entries and exits between April 2019 and March 2020 compared to the previous year.
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Estimates of station usage 2019-20

The numbers are revealed in the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) estimate of station usage statistics, which officially records the annual total of passenger entries and exits. 

The least used station was Berney Arms in Norfolk which recorded 42 entries and exits during the year. Usage at this station fell by 90% in 2019-20 due to the lines serving the station being closed most of the year for signalling upgrade work. Last year’s least used stations; Denton and Stanlow & Thornton increased from 46 to 92 and 82 respectively.

Waterloo station topped the chart for the sixteenth consecutive year despite the decrease in numbers. The decline in usage across Great Britain can be partly attributed to the dramatic fall in passenger numbers towards the end March of this year following the impact of COVID-19.

At the other end of the scale, there were six stations with fewer than 100 entries. 

Four new stations opened in 2019-20 bringing the station total to 2,567 at the end of March 2020. These stations were Meridian Water, Robroyston, Warrington West and Worcestershire Parkway. These attracted 137,050; 43,542; 83,902 and 25 478 entries and exits respectively.

Around Great Britain, Glasgow Central (32.5 million) remained the busiest station in Scotland but saw 331,886 fewer passengers, followed by Edinburgh Waverley (23.1 million). In Wales, Cardiff Central recorded 12.7 million entries and exits, a decrease of 2.0% compared to last year.

The busiest station in each region of England in 2019-20 was the same as in the previous year. 

The station with the biggest percentage increase was London Paddington (17.5%) due to the inclusion of journeys to and from Heathrow Airport.

Jay Symonds, ORR senior statistical analyst, said: 

"The dramatic drop in passenger numbers towards the end of March due to Covid-19 explains much of the drop in usage compared to last year. Despite this, Waterloo remains top but we saw a change in the least used station with Berney Arms taking the spot from Denton and Stanlow & Thornton. 

"With numbers staying at historically low levels during 2020, there is no doubt that next year’s figures will look a lot different."

Notes to editors
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  1. The statistics together with an interactive dashboards are available at:
  2. ORR's Q4 passenger rail usage statistics for  2019-20 (1 January – 31 March 2020) found nationally, journeys fell by 51 million (11.4%) in) compared with 2018-19 Q4.
  3. These official statistics have recently been assessed and designated as National Statistics by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority. This means that they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.