The UK’s busiest train stations revealed

London Waterloo has been knocked off the top spot

Jabed Ahmed
Thursday 14 December 2023 21:40 GMT
The busiest station saw 80.4 million entries and exits in one year
The busiest station saw 80.4 million entries and exits in one year (PA)

The busiest railway station in the UK has been revealed, knocking London Waterloo off the top spot, according to data from the Office for Rail and Road.

London Liverpool Street saw 80.4 million entries and exits between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023, 22.6 million more than Waterloo, and 21 million more than London Paddington which took second place.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said the opening of the extremely popular Elizabeth line was the main contributing factor, increasing the number of entries and exits by more than 50 million in a year.

The new Elizabeth line, which runs from beyond the western and eastern edges of the capital, has also impacted the figures for Paddington, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road which all feature in the top-10 stations.

Paddington was the second busiest station, up four places from last year, with 59.2 million entries and exits, while Farringdon has risen 29 places to number nine (31.5m). 

Tottenham Court Road’s Elizabeth line station opened in May 2022 and enters the list for the first time as the seventh busiest station with 34.9 million entries and exits. London Waterloo dropped down to third (57.8m), while London Bridge is fourth (47.7m).

The busiest stations outside London were Birmingham New Street (30.7m), Leeds (24.0m) and Manchester Piccadilly (23.6m), ranking 11th to 13th overall.

Glasgow Central was the most used station in Scotland with 20.8m entries and exits and Cardiff Central topped the list in Wales (10.2m).

The least used station was Teesside Airport which had two entries and exits in the latest year, however its once-a-week Sunday service was suspended in May 2022 after the platform was classified as unsafe.

The least used station that was open throughout the whole year was Denton in Greater Manchester with 34 recorded entries and exits. Third-place Elton and Orston in Nottinghamshire was the least visited in the previous year with 40 entries and exits; that number increased by 16 this time round.

Feras Alshaker, Director of Planning and Performance at the Office of Rail and Road, said: “Our official statistics released today show how the full opening of the Elizabeth line has changed the way people travel into and across the capital. Waterloo had been the busiest station in Britain for all but one of the previous 18 years. The busiest stations outside of London remain more stable with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester leading the list.

“These statistics offer insight not only for the public but also for industry and planners, and we have continued to evolve them this year with the inclusion for the first time of data about journeys between stations.”

Transport for London’s (TfL) Elizabeth line director Howard Smith said: “The Elizabeth line has been a transformational new railway for London, connecting east and west through 10 modern stations, with around 4.3 million journeys being made each week and more than 270 million journeys since it opened last year.

“Liverpool Street, Paddington, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road and Stratford all being in the top 10 busiest stations in the UK, and four of the 10 most popular journeys being on the Elizabeth line, shows the popularity of the railway and how it has offered new journey options in London and beyond, as well as a new direct route to Heathrow Airport.”

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