New figures reveal how many passengers used Hartlepool Railway Station in the last year
New figures suggest the number of passengers using Hartlepool Railway Station has remained static.
This is despite ongoing industrial action affecting Northern services heading from the town to Middlesbrough and Newcastle.
Figures for the 2017-18 year to the end of March show that the number of estimated ticketed journeys to or from Hartlepool was 638,050.
This is just eight people down on the Office of Rail and Road's numbers for 2016-17.
Seaton Carew Station, on the same line, saw an estimated increase in passengers from 57,160 to 61,858.
Billingham, meanwhile, saw a decrease in numbers over the same period from 94,994 to 81,862.
The figures cover journeys made by passengers using both Northern and Grand Central services.
Northern, which owns the station, runs the majority of services although it has had to run reduced timetables on a succession of strike days by the Rail Maritme and Transport (RMT) union since last year.
The dispute centres on the future role of guards with the union worried that both employee and passenger safety will be threatened without the presence of a second member of staff.
A spokesman for Northern, which insists guards have guaranteed jobs until at least 2025, said: “Northern is operating more services than ever before for our customers in the North East, providing faster and better links between towns, cities and tourist hotspots.
“Throughout 2019 we will build on this with the introduction of more services and increased capacity, continued refurbishment of our trains, improvements at stations and, of course, the removal of Pacers from the network.
“Sadly the ongoing RMT industrial action, which has just seen the 17th consecutive Saturday of strikes, continues to disrupt our customers’ journeys and negatively impact the economy of the north of England.
“With fewer services than normal during strike days there are, undoubtedly, fewer customers using the railway.
"But we are working to improve this and, from Saturday just gone, have been able to add services between Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.”