Latest Rail News

27.01.17

Rail travel in Britain continues to see long-term boom

The number of passenger journeys on Great Britain’s railways increased by 5.1% last year, continuing rail’s long-term increase, new figures have revealed.

The ORR’s new report on regional rail usage revealed that 1.464 billion passenger journeys were made across Great Britain in 2015-16 – more than double the figure declared in 1995-96.

All regions except Scotland saw an overall annual increase of 3% in journeys to or from other regions, with Scotland’s figures falling slightly due to exceptional growth during Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014.

The same overall increase applied to journeys within regions which all saw an annual rise of 6.1% to 996.5 million last year, with only the North East showing a mild decline.

With the highest number of total journeys over 934.6 million, London was unsurprisingly the largest contributor to the overall change as over 11 million more journeys travelled to/from the capital last year (397.2 million), with journeys within London also increasing by 9.2% (537.4 million).

However, the West Midlands saw the highest growth rate in total journeys (7.7%) and in journeys in and out of the region (6.1%), along with the second highest growth rate within the region (8.7%) in 2015-16, which the ORR attributed to London Midland’s new timetable and the completion of the Birmingham New Street station works in September 2015.

Meanwhile the north east had the lowest number of total journeys last year (15.2 million) and the lowest growth rate of 1.3%.

The north east, East Midlands, East of England and the south east all saw more journeys in and out of the region than within them with the South East showing the largest difference, no doubt due to the region’s proximity to London.

The ORR noted a 5.3% increase in journeys to/from Oxfordshire within the south east in 2015-16, possible due to Chiltern’s new Oxford Parkway – London Marylebone service which first opened in September 2015 before expanding to Oxford city centre last year.

While the overall number of journeys between England and Wales rose by 2.8% to 9.6 million last year, the total number between England and Scotland fell by 2.9% to 8.4 million, again a comedown from the Commonwealth Games.

In comparison, the journeys made between Scotland and Wales were very small, with only 43,000 journeys between the two countries in 2015-16, a 17.3% decrease from the previous year’s figures as more passengers choose to fly between the two countries.

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   27/01/2017 at 17:59

Not only that but the boost of the production of brand new rolling stocks vehicles are also coming alive and are currently in construction including the Class 195's, Class 230's, Class 331's, Class 385's, Class 397's, Class 700's, Class 707's, Class 710's, Class 717's, Class 800's, Class 801's and Class 802's rolling stocks vehicles that are currently being built and those that are planned to be manufactured throughout the years ahead and onto 2020's-onwards that will replace the older rolling stocks that are built in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's that most of them still serve the UK's railways.

Lutz   27/01/2017 at 22:13

Another year of growth of about 2% in southern regions; is this because patronage is tailing off or possibly due to saturation of existing services?

Noam Bleicher   28/01/2017 at 09:38

I think we're at saturation on some London commuter routes Lutz; figures are very much driven by peak-time travel which is very much not discretionary. It follows that figures will be almost entirely driven by work commuting, and from that it follows that traffic growth will track economic growth, which has been about... 2%. QED.

Darky   29/01/2017 at 12:20

Didn't you mean 1.464 Billion journeys across GB as opposed to Million?

Lutz   30/01/2017 at 18:18

@Noam Bleicher There is not a direct connection between the two rates of growth as demonstrated in years up to about 2013/2014. Going back a few years (to 2005 or 2007), one of the reports estimated that there was about 10% unserviced/latent demand on the BML. So I am thinking we have passed saturation on these key routes. However, I also thionk there are a few problems with the linear projects that have been made for future growth and do not take into account where populations have been growing - in particular in Greater London.

Jerry Alderson   31/01/2017 at 20:42

"1,464 million passenger journeys were made across Great Britain in 2015-16." I get really confused by the publication of two different totals. This is the lower of the two. The higher total is about 1.7 billion. Can anyone explain why there are two figures published and how they differ?

David   01/02/2017 at 22:04

Andrew, all of the rolling stock that you list will be completed by 2020, plus you forgot the Class 387s and numerous other types. "Not to mention" that the only remaining stock older than the HSTs/Class 313s is the Mk2 coaching stock.

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