A PLATFORM and footbridge standing on the original route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway which now serves one of the least used stations in the country will be permanently closed.

Just 30 people got on or off a train at the Teesside Airport railway station between April 2016 and March 2017, making it the second most unpopular halt in Britain.

Now Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) bosses have agreed with Northern Rail to operate the station’s current once-a-week service in only one direction.

The closure of the footbridge and eastbound platform will spare DTVA costs of up to £6m to maintain the site until 2022.

However, passengers catching the weekly service from Hartlepool to Darlington will still be able to use the platform on the side of the station closest to the airport.

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “The station only receives a ‘Parliamentary’ service currently with one train per week calling at the location and attracting minimal usage.

“Last year saw only 98 people through the facility, the year before the number was 32 and officially the nation’s lowest – the increase last year was solely due to a visit made by enthusiasts to the station last autumn.”

Proposals to move the station closer to the airport were never realised and despite DTVA adopting its new name in 2004, the station retains the Teesside Airport moniker.

However, DTVA bosses insist the station will not be completely closed.

A statement from the airport, operated by the Peel Group, said: “The existing airport rail halt, located a kilometre from the terminal building, is used by few people with its location unsuitable for airport passengers and for those in surrounding housing or businesses.

“Since the early 1990s it has received only the once-a-week obligatory so-called ‘Parliamentary’ service.

“The maintenance and remedial costs of maintaining the current infrastructure are estimated as high as £6m over the next five years – expenditure which is not in line with our business goals.

“We are not currently pursuing full closure of the station which would require support from both regional stakeholders and the relevant rail authorities.

“Our masterplan includes a vision for a newly located station which would be delivered in partnership with our stakeholders and council shareholders and which we continue to aspire to achieve.”

The station officially opened in October 1971 and its only facility is a payphone.