Calder Valley Line stations lose passengers, but Mytholmroyd surprises!

If service is poor people will vote with their feet. Latest statistics from the Office of Road and Rail cover the year including May 2018 timetable chaos. So it’s no surprise that many stations show a drop in passenger footfall. Bits of good news include figures for Mytholmroyd where the ORR records nearly 15% annual growth and attributes it to improved service in May 2018. But Sowerby Bridge had the same improvement at the same time and appears to have lost passengers to the tune of 5½%. Other factors affect our valley, such as traffic problems on the dreaded A646. Sadly, increased service frequency given to SOW and MYT in 2018 has now been taken away—likely to be reflected in next year’s statistics. But when Mytholmroyd gets its big new car park (soon!) with spaces for a couple of hundred daily park and riders the station could see another surge. Mytholmroyd has real potential to relieve Hebden Bridge — but only if the service is improved. Usage also increased at Todmorden where upcoming access improvements could attract even more. Walsden is another to watch, a 6.3% surge reversing gradual decline over ten years — and only an hourly service! Brighouse still tops the CV Line league for biggest 10-year percentage growth, but its messed-up service over two years (effectively only one train an hour to Leeds) has begun to throw away the gains. We’ll keep an eye on how the Bradford-Huddersfield shuttle performs. Great start for first two years of Low Moor.

Our table adapts the ORR’s spreadsheet. Explore link above for national picture. Interpretation may require a pinch of salt. Nobody’s been counting actual passengers: figures estimate total entrances and exits from ticket sales, with adjustments for multimodal tickets like MCard.  Note comment on methodology for the GM stations, where free concessionary travel has been evaluated and included for the first time. So apparent surge over the border is journeys suddenly being counted and high growth compared with the Yorkshire side is more apparent than real. It is right to include these journeys and the comparison will again become valid in future results.

Halifax is 324th busiest station nationally (down from 300th). Leeds is third busiest station outside London, behind Birmingham and Glasgow Central. London Waterloo retains the overall title.

Two Cinderella stations again top table!

Network Rail say rail passenger numbers have doubled nationally over 20 years and will double again by 2041. But the top stations on our line can better that! Halifax station usage has doubled in just 10 years. Latest batch of station usage estimates from the Office of Rail and Road reinforce previous years’ results. ORR’s estimates are based on ticket sales. Refinements of methodology over the years mean caution is required when identifying trends. But some trends are clearly significant.

We have again done our homework on the ORR spreadsheet and calculated increases in estimated footfall over the last ten years (up to last spring), as well as the latest year-on-year figures. Our Calder Valley Line (CVL) table is ranked by 10-year growth, and once again Brighouse and Sowerby Bridge come out top. Brighouse has had another growth spurt (8.1% over last year), consolidating a spectacular 476% over ten years. Sowerby Bridge may have levelled off slightly this time — sign of demand starting to be suppressed by service limitations? —  but 132% over ten years is still double the national average. These are of course our “Cinderella” stations; they serve medium-size towns comparable with Todmorden and Hebden Bridge but have significantly fewer trains. As we keep telling people, better services at Brighouse and Sowerby are surely overdue.

10-year growth exceeds the national average at all Calder Valley stations within West Yorkshire except Walsden and Mytholmroyd, the latter a significant village halt where untapped potential may emerge when the new car park opens. Overall, CVL stations are a little behind national growth figures, more significantly so on the latest year-on-year results. Again, is this the limitations of provided service suppressing demand?

Walsden is interesting with a sudden apparent spurt against declining trend. Look also at New Pudsey where morning peak trains regularly leave passengers behind. And Bramley, third from the top, last station before Leeds (but compare with Moston at the other end of the line). Any theories?

CVL station usage statistics: entries and exits
(extracted from Office of Road and Rail station usage estimates, December 2016 – growth calculations added for HADRAG by JSW)
Year on year growth Growth over 10 years
2005-06 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 13/14-14/15 14/15-15/16 05/06-15/16 Mean/y
Brighouse 72,229 371,666 384,922 416,094 3.6% 8.1% 476.1% 19.1%
Sowerby Bridge 168,942 351,652 383,844 391,766 9.2% 2.1% 131.9% 8.8%
Bramley 154,249 317,132 305,580 315,342 -3.6% 3.2% 104.4% 7.4%
Halifax 978,225 1,912,798 1,935,764 1,982,148 1.2% 2.4% 102.6% 7.3%
Hebden Bridge 385,768 739,112 764,354 756,508 3.4% -1.0% 96.1% 7.0%
Todmorden 311,986 548,152 563,920 585,310 2.9% 3.8% 87.6% 6.5%
New Pudsey 475,591 763,666 844,046 891,062 10.5% 5.6% 87.4% 6.5%
Rochdale 641,487 1,059,282 1,098,630 1,134,418 3.7% 3.3% 76.8% 5.9%
Littleborough 223,821 368,598 380,786 391,896 3.3% 2.9% 75.1% 5.8%
Castleton 85,695 143,506 148,596 148,262 3.5% -0.2% 73.0% 5.6%
Mills Hill 183,853 302,726 313,536 310,032 3.6% -1.1% 68.6% 5.4%
Mytholmroyd 107,107 156,704 171,704 164,742 9.6% -4.1% 53.8% 4.4%
Smithy Bridge 98,319 146,980 144,206 149,152 -1.9% 3.4% 51.7% 4.3%
Moston 52,205 125,902 82,486 71,732 -34.5% -13.0% 37.4% 3.2%
Bradford Interchange 2,482,799 2,990,294 2,922,956 2,993,340 -2.3% 2.4% 20.6% 1.9%
Walsden 132,703 94,332 93,942 102,324 -0.4% 8.9% -22.9% -2.6%
CVL totals 6,554,978 10,392,502 10,539,272 10,804,128 1.4% 2.5% 64.8% 5.1%
National 1,601,494,732 2,665,123,512 2,785,070,620 2,938,358,550 4.5% 5.5% 83.5% 6.3%