Aside from looking at the fluctuating list of our least used stations, one of the other fascinating aspects of the annual ORR station usage statistics is to examine those stations which have seen most growth in passengers, and attempt to identify any pattern to the changes.
Having already reviewed our least used stations, I have now taken a look at those stations seeing most growth in 2018/9 compared to the previous year. The table below lists the 29 places on our network that saw passenger numbers rise by more than 50% year-on-year.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the two fastest growing are those which have earned notoriety for being previous least-used stations, namely Teesside Airport (+178.4%) and the now-closed Redcar British Steel, which experienced a remarkable 800% surge in passengers to 360 (40 in 2017/8).
|Station||Passengers 2017/8||Passengers 2018/9||Growth (%)|
|London Road (G’ford)||540,978||1,021,802||88.9|
|Redcar British Steel||40||360||800.0|
Source: ORR Station Usage Statistics (published 14 January 2020)
Teesside Airport is also one of nine stations in the +50% list where the ORR compilers add the qualification “absolute change in passengers is small”. The others listed here to have that rider attached being Hopton Heath, Rawcliffe, Gainsborough Central, Shippea Hill, Thorpe Culvert, Wressle, Barry Links and Chapelton.
Then there are those stations which were seeing passenger numbers recover from industrial action in the previous year (2017/8). Within this list that covers three Merseyside area stations: Hall Road, Rice Lane and Walton (Merseyside).
Next in the fastest growing list come two one-off impacts that have earned these stations a place in the rankings. Firstly, at Carnoustie the 57.4% surge in numbers is attributed to extra services and passengers attending the Open Golf tournament held in July 2018.
The other exceptional inclusion in this list is London Road (Guildford) where the compilers mention “improved estimates at Guildford stations”, a change which has seen the number of users estimated at the town’s main station fall by 5.8% to 7,494,002 (2017/8: 7,954,618).
New or improved services are a major feature among the remaining stations to show exceptional growth. In the London area, for example, one particular feature was re-opening of the Gospel Oak to Barking line in January 2018, and illustrated here, which accounts for the growth at Crouch Hill, South Tottenham, Upper Holloway and Wanstead Park, with three other stations on the route also seeing growth of more than 40%.
South of the River Thames, the extension of Thameslink services onto the North Kent Line accounts for the growth at Maze Hill and Deptford, with nearby Greenwich also seeing a 43% surge in passenger numbers, Woolwich Dockyard numbers up by 45.3% and a rise of 41.5% at Plumstead.
Two newly opened stations to feature in the +50% growth list are Kirkstall Forge in West Yorkshire, where numbers were up by 54.7%, and Cambridge North, which opened during the previous period and experienced an impressive 66.3% increase in 2018/9.