Should train operators keep under-used stations open?February 14th, 2011 by Barry Potier
London Waterloo was the busiest rail station in the year up to March 2010 with 86,397,666 users according to the latest station footfall tables from the Office of Rail Regulation. Although these figures are based on ticket sales, they try to estimate all people using entrances and exits rather than just people using trains.
Birmingham New Street was the busiest station outside London with more than 25 million users. At the other end of the scale is Coombe on the Cornish Looe branch. Coombe station registered just 42 users throughout the entire year and perhaps surprisingly Tees-Side Airport had only 68 users. The report also shows that a total of 61 stations were used by less than 1,000 people over the course of the year in question.
Admittedly, a lot of these are in isolated places such as Altnabreac (156 users) and Falls of Cruachan (204 users). Both stations are unmanned request stops and mainly used by hikers in the warmer months. But for how much longer will these small stations survive?
The rail industry has so far escaped the brutal cuts subjected on other sectors but will Theresa Villiers’ plans to set tough objectives for train operators see a whole swathe of under-used stations disappearing forever? I for one wouldn’t like to see that happen.
Do you think there’s any value in keeping these quiet stations open or do you think train operators will quietly have a blitz on closing down under-used stations?