Waterloo tops station  usage league again

Waterloo again took premier place in ORR’s annual station usage survey with nearly 100 million recorded entries and exits for 2015/16. Victoria and Liverpool Street ranked second and third, but Birmingham New Street was the only non London station to make the top ten at seventh position.

2.928 billion entries/exits (2014/15: 2.785 billion) were made at 2,500 stations across the GB national network.

The top ten railway stations accounted for 525 million journeys (2014/15: 517 million), or 17.9% (2014/15: 18.6%) of all entries/exits. Two per cent of stations each handled over 10 million passengers annually.

Source: ORR

222.2 million (2014/15: 230.4 million) interchanges were recorded at 553 stations, one less than the previous year; Clapham Junction was the main interchange station with 30.4 million changes.

Source: ORR

ORR also provided a regional station breakdown.

The work was commissioned by the ORR and carried out by SDG (Steer Davies Gleave).

Measuring station usage is not an exact science; ORR emphasises that estimates have to be used as well as ‘real data’ (extrapolated from ticket office sales). This is because not all stations are gated, and estimates have to be made for multi-journey travelcards in the London and big conurbation areas as well as for ranger/rover runabout tickets and in other circumstances when the originating and terminating journey points are unknown.

Not all journeys are included either; the figures exclude Eurostar and Heathrow Express.

ORR says that the latest figures (for London) are not strictly comparable with those for 2014/15 due to changes in methodology. This has resulted in a reallocation of some  journeys away from the Zone 1 central terminal areas. That accounted for Stratford’s improved position within the top ten rankings, while the results for the central terminals were less than they otherwise would have been. Waterloo, for example, would have topped the 100 million mark with 104.1 million entries/exits (and not 99.1 million shown above) had the previous year’s methodology been employed.

Fourteen new passenger stations were opened during the year, bringing the national total to 2,553. Seven were on the newly opened Borders Railway in Scotland, and one was in Wales (Ebbw Vale Town).The other six were in England: Apperley Bridge (between Leeds and Shipley); Bermuda Park and Coventry Arena (both between Coventry and Nuneaton); Cranbrook (in Devon); Newcourt (on the Exmouth branch); and Oxford Parkway (for Chiltern’s planned Oxford to Marylebone service).

The highest  ten increases for stations with over 10,000 annual entries/exits were:

Source: SDG

And the ten greatest decreases for stations with over 10,000 annual entries/exits were:

Source: SDG
Opening of the new Ebbw Vale Town station in May 2015 undermined patronage at the existing Ebbw Vale Parkway station nearby.

It just remains to mention the bottom 10 performing stations with the lowest usage. Some of these stations saw very few passenger trains. Number of annual entries/exits (previous year in brackets):

Shippea Hill (between Ely and Norwich), 12 (22); Reddish South (between Stockport and Guide Bridge, 38 (54); Pilning (between Bristol and Cardiff, 46 (68); Coombe (between Liskeard and Looe), 48 (26); Barry Links (between Dundee and Aberdeen), 68 (60); Denton (between Stockport and Guide Bridge), 74 (120); Stanlow & Thornton (between Hooton and Helsby), 88 (158); Tees-Side Airport (between Stockton and Darlington), 98 (32); Chapelton (between Exeter and Barnstaple), 100 (192); and Clifton (between Manchester and Bolton), 116 (152).


Waterloo is not only the UK’s busiest station, but with 24 platforms it is  also the largest. Platforms 1-4  (shown here) will be lengthened to take 10 car trains in 2017. The  former high speed platforms (20-24) on the other side will be re-activated in 2018 for SWT Windsor Lines services.


ORR report & data 2015/16










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