Glasgow Central bounces back as Scotland’s busiest station – while Scotscalder is least used

Passenger numbers at Scotland’s busiest station bounced back in the year to March as Covid restrictions eased but they remained at less than half of pre-pandemic levels, new figures showed.

Glasgow Central handled 15.3 million passengers in 2021-22, up from 5.3 million in the previous year but down from 32.5 million in 2019-20 before the virus struck, according to estimates by the Office of Rail and Road regulator.

It was the 12th busiest station among the 2,570 in Britain, behind eight London stations, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds.

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Glasgow Central has featured in the top ten in some previous years, but its lower position may be in part because flexible working since the pandemic has been more popular in Scotland than other parts of Britain, with ScotRail commuter numbers still down by 40 per cent.

Glasgow Central passenger numbers remained at less than half of pre-pandemic levels in 2021-22. Picture: John Devlin

Edinburgh Waverley remained at number two with 13.6m entries and exits, with Glasgow Queen Street third with 8.5m. They were followed by Paisley Gilmour Street with 2.1m and Partick in Glasgow with nearly 1.7m.

At the other end of the scale, Scotscalder in Caithness was the least used Scottish station, with just 116 passengers – nearly 20 per cent higher than last year but half as many as pre-pandemic.

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Elton and Orston in Nottinghamshire was the least used station in Britain with 40 recorded entries and exits.

London Waterloo regained its position as Britain’s busiest station with 41.4m passengers after being knocked off the top spot in 2020-21 for the first time in 16 years by Stratford in east London, but the south London terminus’ total remains less than half the 86.9m of two years ago.

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Only 116 passengers used Scotscalder in 2021-22. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/S Simon

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the Office of Rail and Road, said: “It is heartening to see passengers return to travelling by rail following what was a difficult period for the industry during the pandemic. There’s still some way to go in order for station usage figures to return to pre-pandemic levels.

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“Once again it is important to thank all those in the rail industry, who continue to work hard to help people travel safely and with confidence.”