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Train commuter figures show rise in usage remains on track

Stratford-upon-Avon Railway Station.
Stratford-upon-Avon Railway Station.

THE number of people catching the train to and from south Warwickshire is rising.

Figures produced by the Office of Rail and Road this month show that while usage figures at Stratford’s town centre station are down by around 1,600 the previous year to 994,070, the number of passengers getting on and off at the £9million Parkway on the outskirts of town rose by around 20,000 to 83,228 passengers.

The cost of car parking is thought to be a factor. At Warwick Parkway, usage has fallen to just over 632,000 — a slight reduction of 0.8 per cent — but that is countered by a rise at Warwick’s town station of 2.2 per cent to over 567,000 journeys.

The figures relate to between April 2015 and March this year.

At Leamington, where passengers have to change on many of the London services to and from Stratford, there has been an increase of five per cent to over 2.4 million passenger journeys a year.

Elsewhere, Honeybourne, on the Cotswold Line, has increased its growth by 3.2 per cent (to 57,978), while numbers are up 6.6 per cent (to 237,198) at the station in Moreton-in-Marsh, which is popular with south Warwickshire residents who commute to London.

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group has cautiously welcomed the overall increase in Stratford passengers of 1.7 per cent.

Secretary, Fraser Pithie, said: “Growth at less than two per cent is welcome but it demonstrates how the current situation in Stratford prevents much greater economic growth, estimated to be worth up to £17m year, being enabled for the town and its businesses.”

But Mr Pithie said while passenger numbers at Stratford’s Parkway were up sharply, they equated to just under three people for each train that stops there.

He added: “The Parkway continues to underperform and shows what a poor investment and scheme by the county council it was, but now it’s there and in use we will support those who use it, but in reality it will only ever realise a financial return if the railway line reopens south, and through services return.”

Waterloo is the country’s busiest station with just under 100 million passengers, while Birmingham New Street is the seventh busiest with around 40 million passengers.

Do you catch a train to or from Stratford-upon-Avon? What are your thoughts about the services, tickets prices and car parking at the town station and the Parkway? Post your comments here or e-mail news@stratford-herald.com

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