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Drayton Green: Ealing station named London’s least used

The bridge over Drayton Green - London’s least used station  (Google Maps)
The bridge over Drayton Green - London’s least used station (Google Maps)

Drayton Green is the least used station in London with fewer than 11,000 users, data released by the Office of Rail and Road has revealed.

While Waterloo saw 41.4 million entries and exits for April 2021-March 2022, making it the UK’s most used, the Ealing-based station only saw 10,846 pass through it in the same period.

In terms of London, South Greenford was second from bottom with 13,462, then came Sudbury and Harrow Road with 15,352, while Sudbury Hill was relatively booming with 35,292.

They all, though, were kept from the absolute bottom by Heathrow Terminal 4 which was closed for the period although still rounded off the chart with zero entries and exits.

Drayton Green has fallen down the London usage table but is not technically rock bottom (Google Maps)
Drayton Green has fallen down the London usage table but is not technically rock bottom (Google Maps)

The Office of Rail and Road released data for all UK stations on Thursday, which included those on the Overground but not Underground network.

For Drayton Green, it marks a relative fall from grace - having only been the third least used in 2020-21. The zone four station is on the branch line from Greenford to West Ealing and does not run into central London. There are two trains per hour in each direction from Monday to Saturday but no trains run on Sunday.

As well as serving the aforementioned Green, the station is near to several local schools but is only a short walk from West Ealing which would be the preferred option for many given its direct link to central London as well as Elizabeth line connection. Its neighbour West Drayton is also benefiting from Crossrail improvements.

But perhaps Drayton Green residents can take comfort in being spared the ignominy of having the UK’s least used station, an unfortunate honour that befalls Elton & Orston in Nottinghamshire - where just 40 entries and exits were made.

Usage of railways has declined across the country as a whole since the pandemic, with the total number now being less than half of what it was in 2019.

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the Office of Rail and Road 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.”

Nonetheless, the usage of Drayton Green has declined rapidly from more than 100,000 entries and exits in 2017 when it was outside of the top five least used in the capital.

It has now even become the subject of visits from trainspotters looking to tick off less travelled landmarks.

“That feeling when I got the whole railway station to myself,” tweeted AutisticPb Trains, who visited in 2021 as part of his mission to see all 2,568 stations.

He added: “I went to this station in summer, I looked outside, I was shocked. Couldn’t understand why there should be a station here when you can use nearby West Ealing.”

Lee Davies tweeted in 2020 the station was “dead but beautiful”.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “These statistics highlight how the pandemic has clearly transformed the way people use the railways, with remote working and new technology meaning the sector needs to adapt.

“We remain committed to pursuing rail reform and modernising the industry to ensure it’s sustainable for the future.

Top five least used railway stations in London

5. Sudbury Hill Harrow. 35,292 entries and exits for April 2021 - March 2022. Ranked 1,995 out of 2,568 for all UK stations in terms of usage.

4. Sudbury and Harrow Road. 15,352 entries and exits. Ranked 2,214.

3. South Greenford. 13,462 entries and exits. Ranked 2,235.

2. Drayton Green. 10,846 entries and exits. Ranked 2,274.

1. Heathrow Terminal 4. Zero entries and exits as the station was closed. Ranked 2,568 and last.