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Rural stations lead recovery in rail travel on the Bentham Line

The Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has celebrated a continued increase in rail patronage along the Bentham Line in the last year.

The CRP’s findings are based on the most recent set of ‘footfall figures’ (the number of journeys to and from a particular station), which have been published by the Office of Rail and Road for the 2022-23 financial year.

Bentham Station has surpassed its best pre-Covid figure of 29,932 journeys annually to reach the latest figure of 36,416 trips, some 22% above the pre-Covid numbers.

Gerald Townson, chair of the Leeds-Morecambe CRP, said: “Our analysis shows that there has been further positive recovery across the route in 2022-23 since the return of passengers to the Bentham Line during 2021-22, after Covid restrictions were lifted.

“From one year to the next, the figures show that it is our most rural stations – Wennington, Bentham, Clapham, Giggleswick, Long Preston and Gargrave – that have recovered better than the larger towns and cities at both ends of the line.

“It is also the rural stations which have led the way by exceeding the earlier footfall figures from 2019-20, prior to the pandemic.”

Rod Tickner of the Leeds-Morecambe CRP, said: “We look forward to passenger numbers continuing to grow, as people seek to travel in a more environmentally friendly manner. As part of this work, we are continuing our trips, tailored for those living with dementia, to the coast and countryside. The scenic qualities of the route make the train travel part of a great day out for them and their carers.”

Keep up to date with future news, projects and events from the Leeds-Morecambe CRP via their website.