Train usage in Ayrshire fell by up to 94 per cent last year, with one station recording just four passengers per day, statistics from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show.

It was to be expected, given the fact that a series of restrictive measures relating to the coronavirus pandemic left us at home for most of the year.

But the scale at which the figures dropped shows the impact the virus had on commuting via public transport in a stark light.

Some Ayrshire stations saw passenger numbers fall by up to 94 per cent when compared to the previous year.

New Cumnock saw just 1,574 passengers enter and exit through the station in the entire year, a reduction of 94 per cent from the 25,566 passengers recorded pre-pandemic.

That averages out at just four passengers per day.

Similarly Kirkconnel, the next stop on that line, saw just 1,260 passengers, also down 94 per cent on 19,880 on the year before.

Across the UK as a whole, rail usage dropped by an average of 78 per cent.

The numbers are revealed in the ORR's estimates of station usage statistics 2020-21, which include the annual total of passenger entries and exits at each of the 2,500+ stations in Great Britain.

The Ayrshire stats are as follows (key: Passenger numbers in 20/21. Passenger numbers in 19/20. Percentage change):

Ayr - 238,652/1,395,968 = -83 per cent

Ardrossan Harbour - 13,128/123,904 = -89 per cent

Ardrossan South Beach - 23,670/215,924 = -89 per cent

Ardrossan Town - 2,272/22,364 = -90 per cent

Auchinleck - 5,162/72,080 = -93 per cent

Barassie - 15,150/168,448 = -91 per cent

Kilwinning - 111,346/938,072 = -88 per cent

Dalry - 18,872/208,416 = -90 per cent

Girvan - 15,456/121,742 = -87 per cent

Irvine - 114,254/889,394 = -87 per cent

Kirkconnel - 1,260/19,880 = 94 per cent

Maybole - 15,244/94,974 = -84 per cent

New Cumnock - 1,574/25,566 = -94 per cent

Newton-On-Ayr - 14,130/92,416 = -85 per cent

Prestwick International - 7,734/101,220 = -92 per cent

Prestwick Town - 52,984/383,852 = -86 per cent

Saltcoats - 38,352/303,468 = -87 per cent

Sanquhar - 1,752/24,258 = -93 per cent

Stevenston - 12,040/115,218 = -90 per cent

Troon - 79,790/610,086 = -87 per cent

The statistics show that although Ayrshire's rail usage was low, it was not the lowest, as six stations did not record a single passenger for the entire year.

The six stations with no recorded entries and exits were Abererch (Gwynedd, Wales), Beasdale (Highland, Scotland), Llanbedr (Gwynedd, Wales), Sampford Courtenay (Devon, England), Stanlow & Thornton (Cheshire West and Chester, England) and Sugar Loaf (Powys, Wales).

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the Office of Rail and Road said: “Throughout 2020-21 the railways remained an essential service for those people who needed to travel during a year which was impacted by the pandemic.

“This year we have seen many railway stations with very few passenger entries and exits.

"However, we know that recent figures show leisure journeys are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, while there has been a slower increase in commuter journeys.”

Around 14.8 million passenger journeys were made using ScotRail in 2020-21 and Glasgow Central remained the busiest station with 5.3 million entries and exits, down from 32.5 million in 2019.