Britain’s ghost trains: The deserted railway stations without any passengers

A lack of travellers – and trains – has left some parts of the rail network surprisingly idle

They are platforms without a purpose; stations where you won’t see a soul. While many commuters are forced to shove their way on to overcrowded trains during the rush-hour, there are some stations that serve just a handful of passengers a month.

Teesside Airport Station in Darlington is the UK’s most-deserted stop, attracting just 14 passengers last year and only 18 the year before that, according to figures released by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The station, on the Darlington to Middlesbrough line, is a 15-minute walk from Durham Tees Valley Airport. The low passenger figures are perhaps unsurprising, given that it is served by just one “ghost” train a week. Such occasional “zombie” services allow train operators to mothball lines without the consultation required for a formal closure.

Dorking West in Surrey could boast only 16 passengers in 2011-12 and just 22 in 2010-11, the ORR figures showed. It has regular services to and from London but its user statistics suggest that nearly everyone prefers to travel from the Surrey town’s two other stations – Dorking and Dorking Deepdene.

The third-least-busy station in 2011-12, with just 30 passengers, was Denton in Greater Manchester, which is served only on Friday mornings by a one-way service between Stockport and Stalybridge. A testimony to its relative popularity among the nation’s unloved and unvisited stations is the active Friends of Denton Station campaign, which hopes to increase the frequency of trains passing through.

The group’s chairman, Alan Jones, has even taken to the internet to tell passengers of the good times they might expect.

Speaking about the station, Mr Jones, 77, said the ORR figures were “ridiculous” and added that the number of people using Denton had increased since the data was collected. “I’m sure that if there were more trains people would use them,” he said. “The station is at the junction of the M67 and the M60. The traffic on the roads during rush-hour is horrendous. This is a valued service and we are trying to get a regular service.”

Northern Rail said the station, which could boast  of a whopping 52 passengers in 2010-11, was being kept open only as part of the company’s franchise. A spokeswoman said: “Although passenger numbers are low, we continue to work closely with the Friends of Denton and the South East Manchester Community Rail Partnership on a local level.”

She added that Northern Rail was looking to industry partners, including the Department for Transport, to “specify a higher level of service to the station” and contribute towards funding.

The rail usage figures are based on the numbers of people entering and leaving stations and are compiled by the transport consultancy Steer Davies and Gleave.

Denton, Manchester 30 passengers last year.

Dorking West, Surrey 16 passengers last year.

Teesside Airport, Darlington 14 passengers last year.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam