Numbers of rail passengers at stations in Welshpool, Newtown and Caersws have increased over 30% over the past three years, new government figures show.

The research, published in the Office of Rail and Road's yearly station usage estimate report, now provides three years worth of data since the introduction of Welsh Government subsidised peak hourly trains and extra Sunday services were introduced between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury in May 2015.

And according to the Office of Rail and Road's yearly station usage estimates, passenger numbers up and down the Cambrian line have increased by 23.5% in the period since the service improvements were made.

The largest increases have taken place at Newtown, which has seen passenger numbers leap from 130,306 in 2014/15 to 185,064 in 2017/18, an increase of just over 42%, while at Caersws passenger levels have improved from 49,250 in 2015 to 69,668 last year. In the last year alone, passenger numbers have increased by 14%.

Welshpool has also seen increases over over 30%, making it the second busiest station in the region behind Newtown, with passenger numbers at Machynlleth also showing a double digit percentage increase since 2015.

A spokesperson for Shrewsbury Aberystwyth Rail Liaison Committee said the figures showed the "real need" for a full hourly service, and says it will continue to work with the Welsh Government on the issue.

"The Shrewsbury Aberystwyth Rail Liaison Committee is aware of the increases and indeed was very instrumental in gaining the improved services that came in during May 2015," said Robert Robinson, spokesperson for the group.

"The survey work on the line to ascertain rail usage was also done by the Committee on 3 occasions since May 2015 as well as doing one in 2014.

"The increases in numbers show that there is a real need for the full hourly train service, it is almost there, and for longer trains.

"The SARLC will continue to work with Welsh Government and Transport for Wales to gain the best for the Cambrian Lines."

The number of students and commuters using the line in Welshpool and Newtown to get to sixth form colleges and work in Shrewsbury has also shown a marked increase, with around 40,000 season tickets for the line sold between Caersws and Welshpool, accounting for around a quarter of the increase in footfall.