The most expensive rail station car parks in the UK - revealed! - Select Car Leasing
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The most expensive rail station car parks in the UK - revealed!

These are the most expensive railway stations for car parking in the UK - and some of the eye-watering daily rates will horrify you.


Taking to the rails in Britain can be a wallet-busting affair.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that regulated rail fares would rise sharply in 2024, capped at 4.9%, and with the new prices coming into effect in March this year.

To help soften the blow of more pricey tickets, the Department for Transport also announced the return of the ‘Great British Rail Sale’ - with reduced rail ticket prices offered on journeys between now and March 15th.

But if you plan to park at the railway station you’re travelling from, the costs can be high enough to shatter the benefit of any discounted fares.

That’s according to a new study by Select Car Leasing, which analyses the most expensive - and the cheapest - railway stations to park your car.

And with the price of parking at one station costing a budget-obliterating £550 per DAY, the advice is to plan your journeys carefully.


Commuting Conundrum: The Rising Cost of Taking the Train


The team at Select Car Leasing analysed more than 150 railway stations in England, Scotland and Wales that enjoy the highest footfall of passengers each year - according to stats held by independent regulator The Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The cost of parking at those stations was then pin-pointed via the individual rail station websites. 

And Select also looked at the annual cost of parking in those railway bays - even for light commuters who work just a couple of days per week in the office while spending the rest of the time working from home, as is the norm for many of us right now.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive station in the UK can be found in the heart of affluent West London - at Kensington Olympia (below). 


Car parking rates there are a cool £62 an hour. To park here for a whole day could cost upwards of £550 a day.

The second most expensive train station car parking in London is London Bridge, at £38 a day. Located right next to The Shard, parking here to commute to work twice a week could set you back almost £3,900 a year.

In third is London St. Pancras International at £31 a day, which makes a yearly cost of over £3,200 a year for parking, even for casual commuters. In fourth are three stations, all priced at £26 a day for parking; London Paddington, London Waterloo and London Victoria. These stations all have national rail capabilities making them more popular to travel into and out of.


The Most Expensive Rail Station Car Parks in the UK


While England’s capital has many of the most expensive rail station car parks in the UK, the second highest on our list is actually at Gatwick airport - located near Crawley, West Sussex, at £43 a day.

Whilst the higher cost could be associated with the car parks being mainly used by holiday-goers, it is advertised on the Gatwick Airport website as offering commuter parking, too.

The second most expensive rail station car park outside London is Glasgow Central, at £25 a day.

In third is Birmingham New Street at £24 a day - or just under £2,500 a year for twice-weekly commuters.

In fourth is Sheffield, with a daily parking rate of £23. This is rather surprising as only 8.7 million passengers use this station each year, making it more expensive than other, more popular rail station car parks.

In fifth is Reading with an average daily cost of £21. Reading is traditionally a popular station for commuters travelling into London, which might explain the elevated parking fares.


The Cheapest Rail Station Car Parks in the UK

It’s not all bad news.

There are many railway stations in the UK that offer FREE parking for customers.

There’s a cluster of them in and around Merseyside in particular - with free parking offered at Kirkby, Ormskirk, and Liverpool South Parkway. It also costs just £4 a day to park at the railway station in Southport.

You’ll also find rail stations with free or extremely cheap car parking in Greater London, costing just a few quid for the day, too. For those head to Greenwich, Norwood Junction, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace and West Drayton.

Meanwhile other inexpensive stations for parking include Stevenage (Herts), Selly Oak (Birmingham), Paisley Gilmour Street (Scotland), and Stirling (Scotland).


Conclusion

In conclusion, the cost of train tickets continues to climb, posing significant challenges for commuters.

And if you’re planning to take advantage of the Government’s ‘Great British Rail Sale’ discounted fares, make sure you assess the price of car parking before you book!

We’ve looked at the often-overlooked expense of parking at rail stations, revealing staggering figures that add up to substantial annual costs for commuters - even casual ones.

From rates of £62 an hour at Kensington Olympia to the steep fees of £38 a day at London Bridge and £43 a day at Gatwick Airport. Even outside of London, stations like Glasgow Central and Birmingham New Street impose hefty parking charges.


Methodology

Rail station car parks were picked from the 300 with the highest number of passengers in 2023 according to the ORR. To get the cost of each car park, Select Car Leasing used the car park sources linked on each rail company's website.

Any railway stations with no car parks listed were removed from the data.

The cost was calculated with the time in the car park being as close to the length of a workday as possible. The yearly cost is the daily cost, multiplied by two, the average number of days people are in the office, multiplied by 52, the number of weeks in a year.


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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024