London Stratford emerges as UK's busiest station

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Image source, Getty Images

London's Stratford railway station was Britain's busiest in a year that recorded the lowest level of passenger journeys for almost 150 years.

The station recorded about 14 million entries and exits between in March 2020 and April 2021 as passenger usage fell 78% in Britain due to the pandemic.

Lockdowns and restrictions throughout the year meant more people worked from home and did not commute as much.

London Waterloo witnessed the biggest decrease in passenger usage.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said Waterloo had lost the title of Britain's busiest station for the first time in 17 years, with just 12.2 million entries and exits compared to 86.9 million the year before.

It said the pandemic had brought the lowest level of rail journeys across Britain since at least before 1872.

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the ORR, said there had been "radical change", particularly in London, in the stations people used the most.

He said recent figures suggested there had been a "slower increase in commuter journeys" compared to leisure trips, which had almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Waterloo Station deserted on a Saturday evening during the first lockdown

London's railway stations dominated the top 10 most used, with London Victoria (13.8 million) also heavily used during the pandemic.

Highbury and Islington (8.7 million), Clapham Junction (8.4 million), Barking (6.7 million) and East Croydon (6.7 million) entered the top 10 for the first time, replacing London's Paddington, Euston, St Pancras International and Kings Cross stations.

Outside of the capital, the ORR said Birmingham New Street was the only station that recorded more than six million entries and exits, with 7.4 million people travelling from or to the station.

Image source, Jaggery/Geograph

Image caption,

Sugar Loaf station in Wales was opened in 1868 and has no regular passengers

Across Scotland, Glasgow Central remained the most used station with 5.3 million entries and exits, a fall from 32.5 million in 2019-20, while Cardiff Central in Wales remained the nation's busiest with just under 2 million journeys compared to more than 12 million the year before.

Nearly 200 railway stations across Britain had fewer than 1,000 entries and exits, with many having services suspended due to the pandemic.

There were six stations that recorded no entries or exits. These were Abererch and Llanbedr stations, in Gwynedd, Wales, Sugar Loaf in Powys, Beasdale in Highland, Scotland, Sampford Courtenay in Devon, and Stanlow & Thornton station near Chester.

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