Waterloo reclaims title of Britain’s busiest railway station

Passengers at Waterloo station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike by members of the union in a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. Picture date: Thursday June 23, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images) (James Manning - PA Images via Getty Images)

London Waterloo has regained its status as Britain’s most frequently used railway station.

The Office of Rail and Road said the station was used by an estimated 41.4 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March.

The total is up from 12.2 million during the previous year, but was below half the estimate of 86.9 million in 2019/20.

London Waterloo was Britain’s busiest station for 16 years until it slipped to number four in 2020/21 as passenger numbers plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Scotland, Glasgow Central remained the most used station, with 15.3 million passengers, up from 5.3 million last year but down from 32.5 million two years ago.

Cardiff Central kept its status as the busiest station in Wales, with 7.5 million entries and exits.

That was more than three times as many as the two million in 2020/21, but remained down from the 12.7 million in 2019/20.

ORR director of planning and performance Feras Alshaker 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.”

General view of the platforms and waiting shelter at Elton and Orston station
Elton and Orston was the least used station in Britain (Avalon/Construction Photography/Alamy Stock Photo/PA)

The least used railway station in 2021/22 was Elton and Orston in rural Nottinghamshire, with 40 recorded entries and exits.

It is served by two East Midlands Railway trains per day between Mondays and Saturdays.

The first departs at 7.04am towards Nottingham, while the second leaves for Skegness at 5.11pm.

No trains call at the station on Sundays.

RAIL Stations
(PA Graphics)

There are no ticket-buying facilities, toilets or waiting room at Elton and Orston.

The ORR’s estimates of station usage are derived from the rail industry’s ticketing and revenue system Lennon, with some local ticketing data.

Adjustments are made to “make the estimates as accurate as possible”, the regulator said.