December rolled around, which meant another publication of station usage data from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The Estimates of Station Usage are published around this time every year and provide a large spreadsheet of the number of people who either boarded or alighted trains at each station across Great Britain. The statistics are estimates as the UK rail network is not fully gated (what would be the point of having ticket barriers at Kildonan, for example). It also does not include ticketless travel (fare evasion). This short post examines the least used stations for the year, as well as looking at the stations I visited in the period and how I contributed to the figures.
The Least Used Stations List 2017-2018
There are 54 stations with an annual patronage below 1000. The least used station was British Steel Redcar, which recorded 40 passengers (down from 50 last year). Barry Links, the least used station for the last period moved up to 2nd, with patronage doubling from 24 to 52. Denton, Teesside Airport, Stanlow & Thornton, Breich, Reddish South, Elton & Orston, Thorpe Culvert and Coombe Junction Halt are the remainder of the top 10.
The station with the biggest drop (in terms of percentage) was IBM Halt (that gem) where patronage dropped from just over 6000 to 768.
Sugar Loaf increased from 228 passengers last year (already very high for the station) to 1846 this year. This increase was put down to “increased attraction due to it being the least used station in Wales” by the ORR, although it has been the least used station in Wales for many years, so there will be other factors as to why the station has suddenly chosen this period to become popular. A BBC journalist (Peter Shuttleworth) pointed to a proposal by some people which then caused multiple others to visit the station. Dolgarrog (on the Conwy Valley Line) is now the quietest railway station in Wales.
How My Trips Effected the Figures
For this period, I visited 8 stations of which 7 saw patronage for that year below 1000. The only one that didn't saw an annual patronage of 2162 (Chathill). The two stations that I had the biggest effect on patronage-wise were Breich and Barry Links, both of which my journey there accounted for about 2% of all trips made in that year.
The list below shows the stations visited, the date, and my effect on the patronage.
16th Sep 2017 – Breich – 2 of 102
24th Nov 2017 – Chathill – 2 of 2162
2nd Dec 2017 – Barry Links – 1 of 52
2nd Dec 2017 – Golf Street – 1 of 268
13th Jan 2018 – Braystones – 1 of 992
13th Jan 2018 – Nethertown – 1 of 536
20th Feb 2018 – Scotscalder – 2 of 182
4th Mar 2018 – Teesside Airport – 1 of 74
My second visit to Breich was made after the date for these statistics ended. Therefore, I will also be including my re-visit in next year's summary.
I realise that, since my trip to Lochailort in October, I haven't posted a new blog entry for a newly visited station, instead focusing on previously visited stations. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I should have something new up by Christmas.
Author - Felix