This is how many passengers used Sunderland Railway Station in the last year

A rail operator fears that continued strikes may have contributed to a fall in the number of passengers using Sunderland's main train station.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 15:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 14:53 pm
The estimated number of passengers using Sunderland's main railway station has fallen.

Estimated figures for the 2017-18 year to the end of March show a fall from 483,836 customers 12 months previously to 447,702.

The Office for Rail and Road statistics cover ticketed journeys made to and from Sunderland via Northern, Grand Central, Metro and the former Virgin Trains East Coast services.

They cover a period in which the bitter dispute between Northern and the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over the role of guards escalated.

Union fears that the potential removal of a second member of staff will hinder both passenger and employee safety have led to repeated strikes and emergency timetables.

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December 15 was the 17th consecutive Saturday in which Northern operated a reduced service.

A spokesman for Northern, which owns the station, said: “Northern is operating more services than ever before for our customers in the North East, providing faster and better links between towns, cities and tourist hotspots.

“Throughout 2019 we will build on this with the introduction of more services and increased capacity, continued refurbishment of our trains, improvements at stations and, of course, the removal of Pacers from the network.

“Sadly the ongoing RMT industrial action, which has just reached the 17th consecutive Saturday of strikes, continues to disrupt our customers’ journeys and negatively impact the economy of the north of England.

“With fewer services than normal during strike days there are, undoubtedly, fewer customers using the railway.

"But we are working to improve this and, from last Saturday, have been able to add services between Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.”

The new estimates do not cover Metro-only stations.

Seaham Railway Station, where Northern services from Newcastle-Middlesbrough also operate, saw a fall from 145,362 passengers to 140,894.

Great Britain's busiest station was Waterloo, in London, with 94,355,000 entries and exits.

British Steel Redcar was the least used with passenger figures plummeting to just 40 following the closure of the SSI Redcar steelworks in 2015.