National Rail: London's least used station where there's almost double the number of trains than people

national rail: london's least used station where there's almost double the number of trains than people

Drayton Green is now London’s quietest station

Drayton Green has taken the rather unglamorous title of London’s least used National Rail station. Only 10,846 passengers used the Zone 4 station which is served by a shuttle GWR train between West Ealing and Greenford which only runs Monday-Saturday daytimes.

Although stations on the same line have been crowned ‘least used station’ many times in previous years, Heathrow Terminal 4 claimed the quietest station crown last year with a lacklustre 162 passengers, as it was closed for most of the year as London’s busiest airport mothballed the terminal whilst Covid travel restrictions were in place. For the full duration of this 2021/22 period it remained closed so is exempt from the list – recording zero passengers.

In contrast, Waterloo regained its usual status as the most used National Rail station in London according to figures released by the rail regulator ORR this morning. A whopping 41,426,042 passengers used the zone 1 station in the year 2021/22, a jump on the previous year thanks to the progressive re-instatement of train services which were removed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which temporarily crowned Stratford.

The overall passenger figures are reassuring for the rail industry as almost all stations in London saw rises on the previous year. The London Overground, which celebrated 15 years of operation this month, is a particular winner as it saw a number of its stations rank as some of Britain’s most popular interchanges. Highbury and Islington is now more popular than Clapham Junction. The Elizabeth line stations also saw a boost.

Whilst these are by far the most reliable statistics we have on station usage in London, the unique nature of our fare system, means stations without ticket barriers can be undercounted, as those who do not touch in/out there or have a ticket to a zone/Travelcard instead of the particular station can be missed. As a result, these statistics should be seen as best case estimates as opposed to absolute usage.

Drayton Green doesn’t have ticket barriers, is unstaffed and does not have a main station building. As it only receives a train service every 30 minutes six days a week, the figures suggest just 34 people use the station per day. That equates to around 0.53 people per train, or almost double (64) the amount of stopping trains than average boarding passengers (34), although the service did fluctuate over the reporting period.

The top 10 least used National Rail stations in London for 2021/22 were:

  • Woodmansterne – 88,790 passengers/year
  • Coulsdon Town – 85,876 passengers/year
  • Reedham – 69,216 passengers/year
  • Birkbeck – 55,104 passengers/year
  • Morden South – 54,746 passengers/year
  • Castle Bar Park – 41,128 passengers/year
  • Sudbury Hill Harrow – 39,292 passengers/year
  • Sudbury and Harrow Road – 15,352 passengers/year
  • South Greenford – 13,462 passengers/year
  • Drayton Green – 10,846 passengers/year

Heathrow Terminal 4 was closed for the entire duration of the reporting period.

The top 10 least used National Rail stations in London for 2021/22 were:

  • Waterloo – 41.4 million passengers/year
  • Victoria – 36.8 million passengers/year
  • London Bridge – 33.3 million passengers/year
  • Liverpool Street – 32.2 million passengers/year
  • Stratford – 28.2 million passengers/year
  • Paddington – 23.9 million passengers/year
  • Euston – 23.1 million passengers/year
  • King’s Cross – 20.5 million passengers/year
  • St Pancras International (excluding Eurostar) – 19 million passengers/year
  • Highbury & Islington – 17.8 million passengers/year

Feras Alshaker, Director of planning and performance at the ORR said: “It is heartening to see passengers return to travelling by rail following what was a difficult period for the industry during the pandemic. There’s still some way to go in order for station usage figures to return to pre-pandemic levels. Once again it is important to thank all those in the rail industry, who continue to work hard to help people travel safely and with confidence.”

Have you ever used Drayton Green station? Tell us in the comments below.

If you have a transport-related story you think MyLondon should be covering, email callum.marius@reachplc.com

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