A RAIL watchdog has been accused of spreading “fake news” after saying an Angus station is used by just two passengers a month.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which regulates safety on the railways, said its data for 2016-17 showed just 24 passengers travelled to or from Barry Links station in the whole year.

The station is on the line between Carnoustie, which hosts golf’s Open Championship next year, and Dundee. Just one ScotRail train stops each day in each direction, Monday to Saturday.

It has no ticket office, ticket machines, toilet or CCTV, and is unstaffed.

The ORR said its figures are estimates based on ticket sales, but Brian Boyd, an independent councillor on Angus Council, said Barry Links station is used much more than the figures suggest.

He warned that if low usage figures led to talk of closure there would be anger.

“Many people buy Carnoustie tickets but get off at Barry,” he said.

“These figures are quoted based on who buys tickets for stations and you can’t buy a ticket at Barry so you buy it at Carnoustie.

“I can assure you there’s at least a dozen passengers coming off each and every evening from the tea-time train at Barry. Yes, there aren’t many trains that stop there, but the figures are way out, in my opinion.

“People at the west end of Carnoustie are closer to Barry Links than the main Carnoustie station so there would be a lot of disgruntled customers if it was ever closed down on the view that it’s not used.”

He added: “It is not the least-used station – it’s fake news.”

Boyd, who represents the Carnoustie and District Ward, expects the station to be well used next summer as golf fans travel to the Open Championship.

“With golf coming in 2018, it will be used considerably more because it’s right on the perimeter of the world-renowned golf course. It’s an important station for the area.”

Shippea Hill in Cambridgeshire was the least used station in 2015/16, but publicity for the figures led to its annual usage jumping from 12 to 156 passengers, the ORR said.

Glasgow Central is still the busiest station in Scotland, with passengers using it 32.1 million times this year. Cardiff Central was top in Wales with 12.5 million entries and exits.

London Waterloo maintained its title as the UK’s busiest station for the 14th consecutive year. Almost 100 million passengers used the station in the past year.

Birmingham New Street – which saw a £600 million redevelopment completed in 2015 – is the most used station outside London with 42.4 million passengers in the past 12 months, putting it at number six on the overall list.