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A report which compares rail station usage, for each and every station by line or route for April 2019 to March 2020.

Main points

  • There was a 4.4% decrease in the number of station entries and exits in Wales in 2019-20 (to 50.4 million) compared with the previous year. This is the only year on year percentage decrease since records began in 1997.
  • Over the same time period, there was a 1.1% decrease in rail station entries and exits across Great Britain.
  • During 2019-20 a total of 180 rail stations (81%) out of 222 Wales rail stations registered a fall in number of entries and exits in Wales.
  • Although the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic only affected the last few weeks of 2019-20, it explains the fall in usage at most stations across Wales and Great Britain. More details on COVID-19 impact on rail station usage can be found in the Office for Rail and Road statistical bulletin.
Station entries and exits in Wales increased between 2005-06 and 2018-19. In 2019-20 Wales recorded its first ever decrease in Station entries and exits.

While station entries and exits are estimated based on ticket sales at train stations, the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) also publish estimates of passenger journeys by Train Operating Company (TOC).

These estimates show that in the first three months of 2020, passenger journeys made with Transport for Wales (TfW) fell by 16% compared to the previous year. This compares to an 11% fall in total passenger journeys across the UK.

Detailed points

  • Cardiff Central rail station remained the busiest station in Wales in 2019-20 with 25% of all station entries/exits.
  • Of the 20 busiest stations in Wales, more than half are part of the Valley Lines network (not including Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street) and two are in North Wales at Rhyl and Bangor.
  • There was a decrease of 9.7% in all interchange station entries and exits in Wales in 2019-20 compared with 2018-19.
  • Cardiff Central remained the busiest interchange station, supporting a total of 10 different lines followed by Cardiff Queen Street that supports 6 lines.
  • Rail station usage in Wales accounted for 1.7% of the GB total in 2019-20. This proportion has been stable in recent years and suggests that rail travel is less prevalent in Wales than across the UK in general, with Wales accounting for 4.9% of the GB population.

Reasons other than the COVID-19 pandemic also had some impact on estimates for April 2019 to March 2020

  • Flooding in Wales in January and February 2020 resulted in the closure of Sugar Loaf train station resulting in a 78% decrease, the largest annual decrease of any Welsh station in 2019/20.
  • Sunday services were introduced towards the end of 2019 on the Maesteg line resulting in increases at a number of stations along the line.

Further information

Further detailed tables can be found on StatsWales and key quality information can be found in last year’s release.


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James Khonje

Telephone: 0300 025 0210

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Telephone: 0300 025 8099

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