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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable