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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