Britain’s least used railway station has been revealed as Berney Arms in Norfolk, which served just 42 passengers last year.
The station, a request stop consisting of one short platform, a name plate and a tiny wooden shelter, is 30 minutes along a single-track line from Norwich to Great Yarmouth, and named after a local pub that closed several years ago. Situated in protected marshland near the River Yare and some way from the nearest main road, it is normally only accessible on foot.
Berney Arms achieved bottom spot in the rail regulator’s passenger charts after losing 90% of its past patronage due to engineering works closures for 10 months of the 2019-20 financial year. It returned to action in February, weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic led to advice to avoid public transport.
The joint least-used stations of the previous year, Denton in Greater Manchester and Stanlow and Thornton in Cheshire, experienced a boom in passenger numbers, with 92 and 82 respectively – the former doubling 2018-19’s figure of 46. The stations are thought to have relinquished the title partly due to visits from enthusiasts seeking them out, according to the Office of Rail and Road.
Six stations in total had fewer than 100 passengers over the year, the ORR said. Many more could vie to join the sub-100 club next year due to the effects of the pandemic, which reduced overall UK rail passenger numbers by more than 90% in the spring and has left them hovering at about 30% of pre-Covid levels.
Jay Symonds, the ORR senior statistical analyst, said: “With numbers staying at historically low levels during 2020, there is no doubt that next year’s figures will look a lot different.”
At the other end of the scale, Britain’s busiest railway station remained London Waterloo, for the 16th consecutive year, with almost 87m entries and exits – an 8% fall due to strikes in 2019 as well as the early impact of coronavirus. Birmingham was the busiest station outside London, with 46.5 million passengers, followed by Glasgow Central on 32.5 million.