Station usage statistics pre-1997?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Senex

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2014
Messages
2,401
Location
York
I'm not sure if this is the right place for this query — if not, could Admin move it to the proper location, please?

The figures for passenger usage of the various stations from 1997 onwards are readily available on line. But does anyone know if any similar figures for earlier years are to be found, or were the usage figures for individual stations in the British Rail(ways) era simply never made available? If they weren't accessible to the public, do they exist and are they to be found in any of the railway records now at Kew?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

LUSOwner

Member
Joined
30 Dec 2019
Messages
55
Location
London
I contacted the ORR on this matter and they said they only held data on these years - whether BR had this data I am none the wiser...

Unfortunately I don't have the email any more...
 

Andrew1395

Member
Joined
30 Sep 2014
Messages
426
Location
Bushey
I maybe wrong, but I think CAPRI data, used to analyse revenue, was used to compile data of usage at a station level to inform privatisation. So that data would have been made available to OPRAF/ORR. Whether BR business sectors collated data at a station level I am unsure. BRPB Station Trading did use Station usage figures. How they collated them, I don't know.

It could be the BR did routinely compile annualised Station usage figures, as opposed to annualised passenger numbers. I am not sure where all BR data is vested at. It maybe that business intelligence data is available (for example for academic research). Perhaps an approach to the National Archive (when the world settles back down)?
 
Last edited:

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
2,209
Location
Hope Valley
I'm not sure if this is the right place for this query — if not, could Admin move it to the proper location, please?

The figures for passenger usage of the various stations from 1997 onwards are readily available on line. But does anyone know if any similar figures for earlier years are to be found, or were the usage figures for individual stations in the British Rail(ways) era simply never made available? If they weren't accessible to the public, do they exist and are they to be found in any of the railway records now at Kew?
As a BR Service Group Manager in sector days (early 1990s) I would often have loved to have known how many passengers were using 'my' stations but data was very sketchy.
It was possible to interrogate CAPRI with 'flow enquiries' which would usually list the top 100 flows. For most smaller stations these would capture to great majority of journeys. Not so useful for big city centre stations though.
These enquiries, of a mainframe system, running on a batch processing basis overnight, were complicated to set up and (at least informally) 'rationed' on a "why do you need to know?" basis by the Business Services 'priesthood'.
For some stations the use of passenger transport executive 'zonal' and multi-modal tickets meant that a very large slice of journeys were not recorded on a point-to-point basis. In tourist areas - including much of Scotland - extensive use of rover and InterRail passes was an issue too.
Different management and planning methods were used. Actually sending some agency staff out for a survey/passenger count was often quite helpful because it could also provide a picture of factors like overcrowding, adequacy of station facilities, spread of usage throughout the day, demographics, means of getting to the station and so forth. More helpful than some (incomplete and arbitrary) raw numbers spat out from a mainframe.
So the simple answer is that 'they didn't exist' before 1997, certainly not in any standardised, systematic, national form.
 

Senex

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2014
Messages
2,401
Location
York
Thank you very much for that — it makes things very much clearer! I do like the notion of the high priests wanting to keep control on knowledge. Was it not ever thus?
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
14,962
Location
Mold, Clwyd
In the 1960s at least, I was told that all collected ticket stubs were sent to Derby for analysis (this was in LM territory).
It was one of the reasons for the tiresome BR practice of collecting all tickets at a station exit, usually funnelling hoards of people past a single collector at a terminus.
It would probably have been done at the all-powerful Regional level too, and not at a national level.
This probably changed in the sector period, with gradual automation of ticket issue, and computerisation at HQ.

I remember the Beeching traffic maps (1963) came as a considerable surprise, in terms of how low/high certain routes were (very much favouring London commuting).
But the closure analysis, for the few examples shown, seemed to be more about station receipts and line costs than numbers of passengers and the journeys they made.
 

StephenHunter

Member
Joined
22 Jul 2017
Messages
822
Location
London
Yes, Beeching chose to ignore that many of the places that lost their service, such as Minehead or Maldon, got most of their traffic in the summer months; BR would often run extra trains on summer Saturdays to cope with the demand.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,907
I'm not sure if this is the right place for this query — if not, could Admin move it to the proper location, please?

The figures for passenger usage of the various stations from 1997 onwards are readily available on line. But does anyone know if any similar figures for earlier years are to be found, or were the usage figures for individual stations in the British Rail(ways) era simply never made available? If they weren't accessible to the public, do they exist and are they to be found in any of the railway records now at Kew?
You probably need to bear in mind other comments above as to what actualy existed, but if it did you probably need National Record Office / National Archives at Kew. In my work area (not transport) all sorts of data was collected for govt stats which were then published by HMSO in annual digests - we had a whole room of them relevant to our work in our office dating back to circa 1945 (this was in about 2005) - but online publication of such stuff rarely is available in ministry tables pre 1997. Think this is because Blair govt decided to digitise all govt data in the 2000s but only backdated it for a few years to give context. I was trying to answer a question last week that required a statistic for 1952 financial year. I know it exists but not on line and not important enough to go to Kew - it would have been in that room of books of data but they got cleared out circa 10 years ago: 'why would we ever want all those old books of information'....
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top