Busiest train stations in Wigan last year revealed

Wigan North Western was the borough's busiest station in 2019-20Wigan North Western was the borough's busiest station in 2019-20
Wigan North Western was the borough's busiest station in 2019-20
The transport data gives a tantalising look back at our pre-Covid world.

Wigan North Western had the most entries and exits of any rail station in the borough in 2019-20, statistics published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) shows.

In total there were 1,603,012 passenger entries and exits from North Western, with 1,478,316 at Wigan Wallgate.

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In both cases these were slightly down on the figures recorded in 2018-19, with the biggest increases in usage at smaller stations.

However, this data is from the 2019-20 financial year, which means it only covers the very beginning of the national lockdown due to Covid-19, which saw public transport passenger numbers plunge to unprecedentedly low levels as people were ordered to stay at home.

The statistics, therefore, provide a fascinating snapshot of travelling before the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has brought huge changes and challenges to the railway network.

The busiest station in the North West last year was Manchester Piccadilly, where there were more than 32 million passenger entries and exits in 2019-20.

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Jay Symonds, ORR senior statistical analyst, said: “Despite the dramatic decline in passenger numbers towards the end of March due to Covid-19, Manchester Piccadilly was the busiest station in the North West.

“With numbers staying at historically low levels during 2020, there is no doubt that next year’s figures will look a lot different.”

Of the 10 railway stations in the borough three saw lower numbers of passenger entries and exits in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19; the two stations in Wigan town centre and Pemberton.

The biggest comparative rise in usage was at Ince, where entries and exits rose by 33.9 per cent, while the 2019-20 total was 15.4 per cent higher at Hindley, 14.1 per cent bigger at Atherton and 13.1 per cent larger at Gathurst.

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The ORR said the decline in usage seen at major stations across Britain can be partly attributed to the massive drop in travel due to Covid-19 when

lockdown was announced in March.

Nationally there was an 11 per cent drop in passenger numbers in the quarter between January 1 and March 31 in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

The ongoing efforts to suppress the novel coronavirus throughout 2020 mean the 2020-21 figures will bear no resemblance at all to the picture of millions of people travelling through major transport hubs painted in the data for most years.

When it published railway statistics for the first quarter of 2020-21 earlier this year, the ORR said public transport activity had been reduced to the levels it was at in the middle of the Victorian era some 150 years ago, with a drop of more than 90 per cent from the same time the previous year.

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In 2019-20 London Waterloo was the country’s most used stations, while the least visited was Berney Arms, a rural halt near Great Yarmouth in East Anglia, where there were just 42 entries and exits.

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