For this week’s activity, my London Shoes took advantage of a glorious day of weather, and with my 60+Oyster-Free Travel Card in my hand, I travelled across the ‘Smoke’ to track down:-
London’s ‘Most Used’ & ‘Least Used’ Stations – and this is the result
London Underground’s quietest, least used tube station is “Roding Valley”.
Located at the top end of the ‘Hainault Loop’ section of the Central Line (the red one on a tube map), Roding Valley station is situated in the north eastern Greater London & South Essex borders.
The Central Line is the busiest of London’s tube lines, servicing in excess of 260 million passengers per year – but its Roding Valley station sees only a little over 360,000 passengers per year – giving it the grand title of London’s least used tube station.
The station itself was opened in 1946 and is situated in Zone 4 on the London Underground Map, and up until recently, it was one of a very select few tube stations that didn’t have a ticket barrier installed.
Trains depart to Woodford in the north and Hainault to the south of the ‘Loop’, every 15mins or so – and another unique fixture of Roding Valley station is that it has a ‘public’ footbridge that crosses the rail tracks from one platform to the other – and this access bridge is open to the public 24/7 every day of the year.
What struck me about Roding Valley tube station was just how quiet, peaceful and countrified it was –very strange for quite a built up residential area – but still, a very nice little station to commute to and from work.
Train geeks out there will probably know that South Greenford station is London’s least used, quietest rail ‘overground’ rail station – with around only 28,000 entrances & exits per year.
The station opened in 1926 – its located in the London Borough of Ealing – is part of the Great Western Railway network – its 8 miles from Paddington Station and is in situated in Zone 4 on the train map.
It runs 2 trains per hour to Greenford & 2 trains per hour to West Ealing then on to Heathrow.
It used to be called South Greenford Halt station up until 1969 – and today its line also services a lot of freight train traffic.
Waterloo Station has the accolade of being London’s busiest rail & tube station – not surprising really, as it has a number of tube lines connected to it.
Its main-line rail station opened first back in 1848, when it was run by the London & South Western Railway Co – running services as far afield as Weymouth / Southampton / Portsmouth / Exeter, plus the suburbs of Surrey/Hampshire/Berkshire.
The overground railway was the original Eurostar terminus before services were transferred to St. Pancras
Waterloo tube station was first opened in 1898 when it provided an underground rail link to Bank station and was known as ‘The Drain’ – the line was extended the other way to Baker Street in 1906 – and in subsequent years the Bakerloo Line (the brown one on a tube map) and the Northern Line (the black one on a tube map) were linked up to the Waterloo tube – and in 1999 the Jubilee Line (the silver one on a tube map) was linked to it.
With a collective 100 million entries & exits per year it is not only London’s but also the UK’s busiest station – and in terms of floor space, and platforms etc – the UK’s largest.
There is one other station that I feel warrants inclusion in this ‘busiest & quietest’ category – this particular station also has a personal connection for me, as I spent roughly 15 years commuting to & from it whilst working at Barclays Bank’s head-office, before my retirement in 2017 – and that station is:-
Canary Wharf tube station is the busiest ‘single-line’ tube station in London – servicing a staggering 54 million passenger entrances & exits at the last count in 2018.
It is situated at the northern end of the Isle-of-Dog’s in London’s old Docklands district – and is located in Zone 2 on a London Underground Map.
It is served by the Jubilee Line (the silver one on a tube map) and (at present) has no other tube line connected to or running through it.
The station’s structure is built to a very distinctive style – that was designed by architect ‘Sir Norman Foster’ and its structure was based on the ‘Bilbao Metro’ in northern Spain, that Foster designed, and is known locally as the ‘Fosteritos’ – (a train network that I personally know very well, having visited that magnificent city virtually every year for the past 15 years)
Canary Wharf tube station has been specifically designed to cope with anything from 50,000 to 70,000 passengers at any one time – particularly the so called morning and evening ‘rush-hour’, and from experience, it comfortably copes with those sorts of numbers – and it is the only station ‘outside’ Zone 1 to be in the Top 10 of London’s busiest stations.
Viewing Canary Wharf station from street level, you would have no idea of the enormity of the vast subterranean ‘station’ world that exists below ground, a complex which also includes 2 massive shopping malls.
Because Canary Wharf is a ‘single-line’ station, it only has just 2 platforms – and these 2 platforms have unique ‘screen doors’ that have to open & close to enable you to board a train – these unique screen doors are in situ at all the other Jubilee Line stations that are ‘underground’.
There are also a total of 20 escalators in operation at the station plus 3 large passenger lifts – and covering all this, above ground, is the peaceful & tranquil Jubilee Park for the public to enjoy.
In the past few years a brand new Canary Wharf station has been built, which is a massive complex and is a very visible sight on the landscape of Canary Wharf – this new station is part of the new ‘Crossrail’ service which is scheduled to open at the end of 2021 and has been built at a cost of £500 million – but whether it opens on time remains to be seen, with the way the world is at the mo.
Before boarding an empty tube train and setting off back home – I necked down a ‘cheeky’ bottle of ‘Iron Bru’ amongst the delightful waterfall landscape features and greenery of a serene Jubilee Park – and it was good to see so many other folk taking advantage of the balmy September weather, and just chilling-out and taking in the rays.
So – in conclusion, that’s London’s 4 busiest & least busy tube & rail stations, 2 x underground & 2 x overground, plus London’s busiest ‘single-line’ station.
However, also in conclusion, although this was quite a straight forward simple topic to cover-off, there was an under-current of serious concern and sadness that, as a born & bred Londoner, emotionally impacted me throughout the day, as I travelled all over the ‘Smoke’ on empty trains – rode on empty escalators – stood on empty platforms – went up & down in empty lifts – passed through empty ticket barriers, and on most locations, walked through empty surrounding streets………..how the hell have we let this, and allowed this to happen – and will it EVER be the same again!!!!
See below the entire gallery of photos taken to support this blog