RAIL campaigners have welcomed “whopping” new figures showing dramatic increases in the use of local train services, particularly from Severn Beach station.

South Gloucestershire Council has published figures from the annual count carried out at stations across the region over one day in November.

The figures show that passenger boarding and alighting have increased at Severn Beach station over two years from 2011 by 25.4 per cent and now stands at 252 passengers.

Pilning and Severn Beach Councillor Robert Griffin said: “This whopping 25 per cent increase in the number of passengers using Severn Beach station is testament to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, particularly the Severnside Community Rail Partnership.

“All we can do is encourage people to leave their cars at home and use public transport and it’s great to see this being done in ever increasing numbers on the Severn Beach line.

“There’s always more that needs to be done to keep this trend heading in the right direction, particularly improving reliability.”

Other stations in the region have also seen a significant rise in numbers when compared with 2012 figures.

Filton Abbeywood has seen a 21.3 per cent increase - up to 4,412 passengers. Patchway has seen a 12.1 per cent increase – up to 408 passengers. Bristol Parkway has seen a 7.8 per cent increase – up to 10,396 passengers

However Yate station has seen a 3.1 per cent decrease – down to 1,193 passengers.

Stoke Gifford Councillor Brian Allinson, Conservative lead member on South Gloucestershire Council’s transport committee said: “The figures for Parkway, Patchway, Abbeywood and Severn Beach highlight the increasing use of train services from our local stations, which has come after many years of working closely with industry and the community to make travelling by train as attractive as possible.

He added: “The exception this year is Yate station, which has shown a small decrease in passengers numbers and the council’s transport committee really needs to get to the bottom of why this has happened after many years of steady increases in passenger numbers.”