MANNINGTREE Railway Station was recorded as the busiest station in Tendring last year, figures reveal.

Office of Road and Rail (ORR) data shows an estimated 3 million passengers used Tendring's 14 stations in 2019/20.

But that equates to 128,976 fewer than the previous year - which is a fall of 4.1 per cent.

The busiest station was Manningtree with 1.1 million entries and exits by passengers, followed by Clacton, with 763,000, and Frinton, with 185,000.

The least used station was Wrabness with passenger usage at 29,056.

It was followed by Weeley, 37,652, and Kirby Cross, 47,842.

The ORR has put the national reduction in journeys down to a “dramatic drop” in passengers in March due to Covid-19 restrictions, with lockdown introduced on March 23.

But Railfuture, an independent organisation with 20,000 members, is hopeful the railway system will recover.

Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for the group, said: “I am very confident that the railways will bounce back when Covid-19 is over.

“We can’t ignore the fact the world has changed and people working from home may stay put – but I still feel for the most part, things will return to normal.

“Considering the underlying trend of increased rail usage over the past 30 years, we have to look at Covid-19 as a temporary blip.”

In Tendring there were 21 passenger journeys for every person living in the area in 2019/20 compared to the national rate of 75.

Jay Symonds, ORR senior statistical analyst, said: “The dramatic drop in passenger numbers towards the end of March due to Covid-19 explains much of the drop in usage compared to last year.”

He added: “With numbers staying at historically low levels during 2020, there is no doubt that next year will look a lot different.”