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London's least used rail station revealed with just 162 passengers the whole year

MyLondon logo MyLondon 25/11/2021 Callum Marius

The full extent of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across London's National Rail network has been revealed this morning, as official figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show just how many people used each station in the last financial year 2020-2021.

During this period there were three lockdowns and a period of Tier 4 restrictions in London lasting a total of eight and a half months, where we were advised to only make rail journeys if essential. Even at the end of these restrictions, Londoners were reluctant to return to the rails and the increase in home working has meant that whilst weekends are now as busy on trains before the pandemic, weekdays still aren't.

London's least used station, according to the figures, is Heathrow Terminal 4. This is unsurprising given that the station has been closed for most of the last 18 months due to the airport terminal's closure following a reduction in flights caused by travel restrictions. The next least used station, Sudbury and Harrow Road, with 6,258 passengers, sees just eight trains per weekday and that's it.

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An empty platform at the station which saw just 162 passengers the whole year: Heathrow T4 © Sunil060902/ CC An empty platform at the station which saw just 162 passengers the whole year: Heathrow T4

Sudbury and Harrow Road is located just a few minutes walk from Sudbury Town tube station meaning that most people take the tube which runs around every 10 mins there. It's also not helped by its service frequency (how often trains come), which is just four trains each morning to Marylebone and four trains back. The figure of 6258 passengers is an 84 per cent drop on last year.

One of the peculiarities of the station is that it's actually the terminus for London's busiest bus route, the 18, which carried 6.09million people last year, around 970 times the amount of passengers who used the station which is managed by Chiltern Railways.

The classic least used station in London, South Greenford, jumped to 4th position perhaps due to its cult status.

The figures also revealed that six stations outside of London saw zero passengers. Most of these stations were closed for the year.

Stratford was named the most used station with almost 14million passengers although this was still drop of 67 per cent. As Stratford was also shown to be the busiest Tube station last year, the East London interchange really is the busiest major station in the country.

The figures represent how important London Overground is to key workers, who made up much of the passengers throughout the year. London Overground serves five of the top ten busiest stations in the country and six of the busiest interchange stations according to the data.

Stratford Station © Callum Marius Stratford Station

London's top 10 least used National Rail stations 2020-2021

Position Station Train services Number of passengers
1st Heathrow Terminal 4 TfL Rail 162
2nd Sudbury and Harrow Road Chiltern Railways 6258
3rd Drayton Green GWR 7146
4th South Greenford GWR 8810
5th Sudbury Hill Harrow Chiltern Railways 14584
6th Castle Bar Park GWR 26778
7th Morden South Thameslink, Southern 31864
8th Birkbeck Southern 33850
9th Reedham Southern 36292
10th Woodmansterne Southern 37704

London's top 10 most used National Rail stations 2020-2021

Position Station Train services Number of passengers
1st Stratford Greater Anglia, London Overground, TfL Rail, c2c 13,985,162
2nd Victoria Southern, Southeastern 13,791,322
3rd London Bridge Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern 13,763,890
4th Waterloo SWR 12,214,626
5th Liverpool Street Greater Anglia, London Overground, TfL Rail 11,212,008
6th Highbury & Islington London Overground, Great Northern 8,660,736
7th Clapham Junction SWR, Southern, London Overground 8,370,706
8th Barking London Overground, c2c 6,742,918
9th East Croydon Thameslink, Southern 6,695,420
10th Euston London Overground, Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, Caledonian Sleeper 6,606,698

The figures are best possible estimates collated by various ORR sources including ticket sales. In London, that means those travelling with a paper Travelcard could go uncounted if they use a station without ticket barriers. Transport for London (TfL) released data in April showing that the last used Tube station in the capital last year was Kensington Olympia (35,234 passengers if you count Tube journeys only) or Roding Valley (190,163 passengers) and the most used was Stratford with over 25 million passengers.

In response to the stats for, Andy Bagnall, Director General at the RDG which represents train operators, said: “The station usage figures show how the rail industry kept people moving for the first year of the pandemic. Some of the entries on the list reflect where people like key workers were travelling from and also the acceleration of changes to how people are travelling after the pandemic."

You can find the full station usage figures here.

Were you one of the 162 passengers to visit London's least used station last year? Tell us in the comments below!

You can read all of MyLondon's transport-related news stories, features and trivia pieces on our dedicated page here.

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