AN EXTRA 134,000 people used train stations in the Braintree district last year, new figures reveal.
The number of commuters and day-trippers using Braintree, Witham, Freeport and other stations in the district soared, according to the latest statistics from the Office of Rail Regulation.
Including Kelvedon, Hatfield Peverel, Cressing and White Notley stations, nearly 4.2 million people boarded trains in the district last year.
Witham had the biggest increase with nearly 2.2 million people using the station – up nearly 100,000.
Braintree MP Brooks Newmark said: "I do think that it's good news that the amount of passengers visiting Braintree and Witham has increased because we want to encourage people to use public transport. But these numbers will keep going up and overcrowding is an issue now."
"For Braintree in particular it's very important that we work hard to get a rail loop between Braintree and Witham because we do not want people to use the roads between the two towns to access the stations, which could include those from White Notley and Cressing.
"I am working with Braintree District Council to work out an economic plan for the loop and am hoping to have achieved my goal by the end of the year."
The Cressing loop is estimated to cost £9.4 million and will give residents living in the Braintree district a more frequent service into London.
David Bigg of the Braintree and Witham Rail Association said: "It would be a three-year project and would help the villages like White Notley and Cressing which only have an hourly service into London at the moment.
"We also need extra lines to ease congestion and we have suggested that an additional track between Braintree and Stansted would be ideal.
"This would mean that some commuters could travel down to London on the train line through Harlow which isn't as overused. I have been told by a lot of my 400 members that overcrowding is a real problem already and it is only going to get worse."
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