The railway station with just 14 passengers a year

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Teeside Airport

The Office of Rail Regulation has published its annual list of the most and least used railway stations in the UK. And while the London mainline stations see tens of millions of passengers pass through the gates every year, there are a handful of stations where fewer than 20 people use the station each year.

So which are the least-used stations, and why are they still open?

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Overall, the report showed that we are actually using the railways more - with a 6.7% increase in the number people people passing through the stations. The most used stations continued to be the London stations - with 94 million people using Waterloo, 76 million using Victoria, 57 million using Liverpool Street and 52.6 million using London Bridge.

Least-used

Teeside Airport station in Darlington took the top spot as the least-used station in the country, with just 14 passengers in the last year - this was down from the 18 passengers the year before. It is only 15 minutes from an airport which has hosted Airforce One (pictured). However, this station sees two trains a week - both of which stop there on a Sunday. It's arguable that it's not the kind of timetable that's going to increase foot traffic.

This was followed by Dorking West in Surrey, which managed just 16 passengers - down from 22 a year earlier.

Third on the list was Denton in Greater Manchester, which managed 30 - this is actually a reasonable showing given that only one train a week stops at the station - a one-way service on a Friday morning to Stalybridge.

Why?

Two of these stations are an anomaly of the promises the train companies give when they are awarded a franchise. They may be told they have to keep a line open. As a result they operate a very small number of trains, known in the business as ghost trains, which saves them the difficulty and expense of going through a formal consultation and closing the station.

The third station on the list is served well - with regular trains to London. It's just that most people in the town use the two other stations in the area Dorking and Deepdene.

There are plenty of other stations struggling with minimal passengers - including Reddish South, Coombe, Elton & Orston, Barry Links, Briech and Buckenham - all of which saw fewer than 50 passengers enter the station during the year.

Why not close?

It's arguable that given the lack of popularity of these stations, it's a waste of money to keep them open. However, The Friends of Denton Station would disagree. They are campaigning for more services to stop there, and in the interim, when a strain does stop, a member of the campaign distributes leaflets to all passengers urging them to continue using the line.

The group's website and Facebook page is a combination of the optimistic and the disappointed. Alan Jones, Chariman, wrote on the site in March: "1,000 leaflets were distributed in shops around the town centre of Denton up to now there has been no feedback whatsoever. I am beginning to despair of the people in the area nobody seems interested but I'm sure of one thing: if we did get a service they would use it and be glad of it ."

So what do you think? Are these stations set to die. or will a combination of local enthusiasm and franchise red tape save these stations?

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