Waterloo has just lost its crown as the UK’s busiest railway station

It’s official: Waterloo, holder of the title of the busiest railway station not just for London but for the whole UK for no less than 16 consecutive years, has finally lost its crown. It had 86.9 million entries and exits in the 2019-2020 year, but it now ranks as the third-busiest rail hub in the country. So what’s changed?

Well, the biggest change has been made by the opening of the Elizabeth line. Since the new rail service started welcoming passengers in May 2022, it’s carried 270 million passengers (roughly 4.3 million per week) and experienced its busiest day ever just last week, with 769,000 journeys being made on Wednesday December 6. 

The Lizzie line has had a huge impact on rankings of the UK’s busiest stations – and that’s shown by the new champ. None other than Liverpool Street station is the new busiest train station in the country. It’s estimated the station has welcomed an extra 50 million passengers. 50 million. That takes ’Pool Street up to 80.4 million passengers over 12 months. 

Second place went to another Elizabeth line hub, Paddington, which had 59.2 million people pass through it. 

There are some concerns from transport watchdog London TravelWatch that the Elizabeth line is too heavily relied on, especially in west London. After some overhead power cables broke last Thursday (December 7), 4,000 passengers were stranded for four hours. 

Despite these problems though, the impact that the Elizabeth Line has had on the capital is hard to deny. 

‘Our official statistics show how the full opening of the Elizabeth Line has changed the way people travel across the capital,’ said director from the Office of Rail and Road Feras Alshaker, according to the Standard

And they’ve got a point. Tottenham Court Road’s Elizabeth Line station entered the ten busiest in London for the first time, claiming seventh place, and Farringdon, a key interchange between the tube, Thameslink services and the Elizabeth Line, rose 29 places to number nine. 

For more updates on transport across the city, such as the train strikes in December or the timetable changes across the network over the festive period, keep an eye on our London news page. 

Did you see that Uber is giving out £50 train vouchers to get you home for Christmas?

Plus: Peckham Rye station is getting a massive £40 million glow-up

Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the Christmas special with Paloma Faith in the East End is out now.

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