How being named as Britain's loneliest railway station brings a boost to business, figures show

Jamie Johnson
Denton station saw only 46 people alight last year - PA

The railway stations of Denton and Stanlow & Thornton will mean very little to most of the British public. 

But today, having been named as the least visited stops on the vast railway network, they can look forward to a tourism bounce as curious travellers race to visit the UK’s loneliest stations.

New figures show that two stops are the joint least visited in Great Britain. Denton, in Greater Manchester and Stanlow & Thornton in Cheshire, each saw only 46 passengers last year.

Denton had seen passenger numbers drop from 144 in 2016-17 down to 70 in 2017-18 before yesterday's results, while Stanlow & Thornton faced a similar fall, from 128 in 2016-17 to 92 in 2017-18.

But there is hope for the two stations, with evidence pointing towards a resulting surge in numbers after the public exposure that comes from the Office of Rail and Road figures.

Stanlow and Thornton also only saw 46 passengers last Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

“People want to see the least visited train station in Britain” a spokesperson said.

Redcar British Steel station received only 40 visitors in 2017-18 but last year saw 360 people arrive on its platforms.

The same effect was seen at Sugar loaf a station in rural Powys, rather than on a mountainside overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

Named as Wales’ quietest train station in 2016-17 with just 228 passenger stops, the exposure saw as many visitors in the following 12 months as it had done in the previous 17 years, with 1,824 people coming from far and wide.

The request stop sits on an exposed 150-year-old single-track high in the Cledan Valley, and is "turning into a bit of a tourist destination," according to Peter Joyce, a volunteer who helps look after the station.

"The other day I popped down to the station to do a little gardening and there was a man waiting on the platform who had made the 12-hour round-trip from London, just to get a ticket that has the destination as Sugar Loaf,” he told the BBC in 2018.

"We've had people from the USA coming here because they've seen Sugar Loaf station referenced in books because it so unused," he added.

Shippea Hill rail station saw its numbers boosted after a Great British Bake Off contestant sold cakes on the platform  Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Shippea Hill, Britain’s least visited station in 2014-15 (22 passengers) and 2015-16 (12 passengers) received a tourist bounce after a contestant from the Great British Bake Off announced that he would be selling mince pies on the platform.

Ian Cumming offered a pie to anyone who alighted at the Cambridgeshire station on Christmas Eve in 2016 and attracted 16 people - more than the entire previous year. The figures for 2016-17 showed that the number had jumped to 156, and last year, some 432 passengers disembarked there.

London Waterloo was confirmed as Britain's busiest station for the 16th consecutive year with 94.2 million passengers using the station in 2018-19, while Birmingham New Street was the only station outside London ranked in the top 10 busiest with 47.9 million entries and exits.