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Estimates of station usage in Great Britain

07 December 2017

Last week, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) published their Estimates of Station Usage for 2016/17.

Over the last six years, Steer Davies Gleave has supported the ORR in producing these estimates and implementing, along the way, various methodological improvements to address known weaknesses.  

Last year, Shippea Hill in Cambridge was the least used station with 12 recorded entries/exits. However, this year the number has shot up to 156 which was partly due to a former Great British Bake-Off finalist offering a mince pie to anyone who disembarked at the station on Christmas Eve 2016.  He attracted 16 people but – somewhat explaining why the station is lightly used – there are only two trains a day (12 hours apart) they would have had to find an alternative means to get home unless prepared to wait a long time.  Shippea Hill’s replacement as the least used station is Barry Links in Scotland, with 24 entries/exits – very sparse service with one train each way from Monday to Saturday.

Exits & Exits % Growth 15/16 – 16/17 by Region

Exits estimation growth

Growth in 2016/17 was +0.4% nationally (compared to 5% in 2015/16) and is symptomatic of the ‘slowdown in growth’ that has been observed in the GB rail market over the last two years. Although if London and the South East were removed from the comparison, then growth would have been +3.3%. 

As the graph below shows growth outside London and South East is relatively buoyant but since circa 60% of rail journeys nationally involve London, then these areas have quite an impact on the national figure.  Of particular note is the Southern franchise area where there have been substantial falls in journeys as a direct result of the effects of the industrial action on services in the area. This is quite stark when you look at the changes on the map below (note that blue is negative).


Tags: Rail, Stations
Region: UK & Ireland

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