Special visitor shows Denton Station is still loved

DENTON, Britain’s least loved railway station, received a special visitor on Valentine’s Day.

To mark Denton and Stanlow and Thornton being Britain’s least used stations, British Transport Police visited both with special bouquets to show they are still loved.

They also posted a message on social media: “From big and busy to small and bijou, stations of Britain we’re here for you.

“On Valentine’s Day, no one should be alone. So we paid a visit to Britain’s least busy stations, Denton and Stanlow and Thornton. Just showing a little lover on a special day.”

It came days after it emerged Redcar British Steel station is no longer Britain’s least used railway station.

After it held that honour, hundreds of people paid a visit enabling passenger numbers to rocket from 40 to 360 during 2018-19.

And the crown was handed over to Denton and Stanlow and Thornton in Cheshire, both with 46 entries and exits.

The Office of Road and Rail (ORR) reported Redcar British Steel “may have attracted visitors” because of being named the least used station in the 2017-18 rankings.

The station closed to the public in December 2019 but the new figures only cover up to the end of March. Usage fell sharply after the nearby steel plant in Teesside shut in 2015.

Where will enthusiasts who like to boost the passenger numbers of Britain’s loneliest stations want to go next?

Denton is likely to feature prominently but rail users only have one opportunity each week to use the station.

There is one return journey each Saturday morning from Stalybridge to Stockport calling at Guide Bridge, Denton and Reddish South, which with 60 visitors, is the third least used station in Britain.

The service in known as a “parliamentary” train as Rail operator Northern puts on one journey a week for the line to remain operational.

Many stations are kept open despite being rarely used because it is easier to arrange for a train to stop infrequently than obtain permission to close a station.

Rail operator Northern said it was contractually obliged to run a minimum level of services to the rarely visited stations, but there was “no demand” and “low usage” in those areas.

A report on the BBC website described Denton station as “it looks like the kind of place even tumbleweed snubs”.

It continued: “Tucked behind a bus stop near a motorway flyover, you enter via a steep set of metal stairs.

“Once on the platform there are just two benches, no shelter and no toilets.

“There are signs that human life has passed by as discarded cans lie on the track and takeaway food cartons are sprinkled under the bridge.

“Yet some people clearly do care for this forlorn outpost of the rail network.

“The Friends of Denton Station have planted three flower beds to bring a semblance of colour to somewhere that looks particularly bleak on a wet and windy January day.”

Previous stations to have held the least-used title in Britain have included Barry Links and Teesside Airport while Shippea Hill, Cambridgeshire, was the least used for two years but received a boost in passengers after Great British Bake Off finalist Ian Cumming offered mince pies to people who disembarked at the station on Christmas Eve 2016.

• London Waterloo remained the most used station with more than 94 million entries and exits in the last year.

• STALYBRIDGE is one of the country’s worst performing railway stations.

It has been named the eighth worst out of the 500 busiest rail stations in the country for the excessive delays, according to data specialists RotaCloud.

It experienced an average of 60.3 per cent of its trains arriving late last year, not far behind Lancaster which was the worst with 63.5 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We know how frustrating delays can be. We’re doing more to tackle them, spending billions on major upgrades to ease congestion.”

James Lintern, co-founder RotaCloud, said “The country’s hardworking railway staff are spread paper thin, and we didn’t build this tool to give them more of a bashing than they’re already getting. It can help illustrate the scope of this problem”.

Thirteen of the 20 worst performing stations are in the North of England, including Manchester Oxford Road and Deansgate.

The data was collected from more than 2,500 stations on request from Network Rail. Find out more online: www.rotacloud.com/departurebored

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