Waterloo station, via Istock

London Waterloo usurps Stratford as the UK’s busiest station

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have released their station usage statistics for the year between April 2021 and March 2022, which include the annual total of passenger entries and exits at each of the 2,570 stations in Britain.

London Waterloo has returned to its ranking as the station with the highest usage in the UK, seeing a total of 41,426,042 entries and exists throughout the year. These current statistics are trailing at less than half of the number from April 2019 to March 2020, due to the rail sector still tyring to recover passenger usage numbers since the catastrophic impact of the recent pandemic restrictions, which severely damaged industry revenue in the process.

There has been significant recovery since the easing of lockdown restrictions, as in the last year there have been 24 stations in the UK with more than 10 million entries and exits, marking significant growth compared to the five stations in the year prior. Though this represents clear progression and recouperation for the sector, it is still a major drop off from the 43 stations just two years ago.

Eight of the stations within the top ten ranking are situated in the nation’s capital, being joined by Birmingham New Street which remained in eighth place (22.7 million) and Manchester Piccadilly, which moved up from last year’s 18th to this year’s 10th (19.6 million).

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at regulator 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.”

Britain's most popular railways stations

  • London Waterloo 41,426,042
  • London Victoria 36,776,338
  • London Bridge 33,309,348
  • London Liverpool Street 32,165,310
  • Stratford (London) 28,182,238
  • London Paddington 23,870,510
  • London Euston 23,097,606
  • Birmingham New Street 22,682,526
  • London Kings Cross 20,476,492
  • Manchester Piccadilly 19,581,442

Britain's least popular railway stations

  • Elton and Orston, Nottinghamshire (40 entries and exits)
  • Teesside Airport, Darlington (42)
  • Stanlow and Thornton, Cheshire (44)
  • Denton, Greater Manchester (50)
  • Kirton Lindsey, North Lincolnshire (68)
  • Sugar Loaf, Powys (76)

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