London Waterloo reclaims title as Britain's busiest railway station

London Waterloo was visited by 12.2 million more passengers in 2021/22 compared to the previous year Credit: PA

London Waterloo has been crowned Britain’s most frequently used railway station.

The station was previously dubbed the busiest railway station for 16 years, until it slipped to number four in 2020/21.

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 Credit: PA

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.”

In total 12.2 million more passengers travelled through London Waterloo in the last year up to March Credit: 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 and there are no ticket-buying facilities, toilets or waiting room at Elton and Orston.

Glasgow Central and Cardiff Central were the busiest stations in Scotland and Wales respectively Credit: PA

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.

It comes just two days after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced plans for a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January.

More than 40,000 members of the RMT union across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will strike on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and on January 3, 4, 6 and 7.

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