STRATFORD Parkway Station is not paying its way say rail campaigners.
The £7million station at Bishopton was hailed as a major addition to transport links in the area when it opened in 2013.
But the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group, which is pushing for the re-opening of the Honeybourne line, say new figures published by the Rail Regulator on station usage by passengers for the year up to March, are evidence the Parkway station is not providing good value despite passenger numbers being up a fifth. The station was built as part of Warwickshire County Council’s Sustainable Transport Project, and was funded by the Department of Transport.
Group spokesman Farser Pithie said: “Stratford Parkway station has yet to realise its investment payback only attracting 83,228 passengers for the year equating to 229 passengers a day or just under three passengers for each train that calls at Stratford Parkway.
“The Parkway station continues to underperform and shows what a poor investment and scheme by the county council it was. Now Parkway is there and in use we will support those that use it but in reality it will only ever realise a financial return if the railway line (Honeybourne) reopens south and through services return.”
But the county council has no problems with its investment in the station.
A spokesman told The Observer: “The county council is very pleased with passenger growth at Stratford Parkway up to March 2016 which is broadly in line with projections and similar to other similar new stations at this stage.
“The growth appears to have come mainly from walk-up and drop-off passengers who find the location convenient and also from people travelling to the station to access employment in the vicinity of the station.
“Since the opening of Stratford Parkway, passenger numbers at Stratford town have grown by almost 100,000 as it has benefited from the improved rail service made viable by the opening of Stratford Parkway.”
The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group maintain re-opening the Honeybourne line – six-miles of track to a new station at Long Marston would have huge economical benefits and provide a shorter and more direct route to directly connect with Oxford, Reading and London Paddington.
But the No Avon Rail Group, which is firmly against the plan, have questioned the economic benefit and say it would have a negative environmental impact.
Stratford’s main station saw nearly a million passenger journeys made in the year – up 1.7 per cent on the previous year.