Millions of extra journeys as passengers rediscover their love of the railway travel

Share this article
Have your say

The number of rail journeys taken in a year has more than doubled since the mid-1990s, according to official figures.

Overall, there were 1.27 billion rail journeys made across England, Scotland and Wales in the 12 months ending March 2013 - a 3.3 per cent rise on the figure for the 12 months ending March 2012.

There was a 2.8 per cent increase in journeys to and from London in 2012/13, while journeys wholly within London rose 6.3 million.

The increase between 2011/12 and 2012/13 for Scotland was 2.9 per cent both for journeys to and from Scotland and for journeys within the country.

Journeys wholly within Wales in 2012/13 rose one per cent, with the largest rise being on services to and from the South Wales town of Merthyr Tydfil where demand has grown by more than 60% in the last five years.

Mick Cash, acting general secretary of the RMT transport union said: “While passenger numbers on Britain’s railways continue to surge, the capacity required to meet that demand has failed to keep up, leaving many services bursting at the seams with in some cases passengers left stranded because there simply isn’t enough room on board.”

He went on: “Rather than the cuts to staffing set out in Sir Roy McNulty’s (2011) rail review for the Government, what we really need are more engineers to deal with maintenance and renewals, a speeding up of the fleet replacement programme to expand capacity and more staff on trains and stations to ensure safe and efficient operation.

“Britain’s railways are a stunning success story but we could be doing a whole lot better with proper investment in capacity and modernisation, free from the profiteering and exploitation of the private train operators.”

A spokesman for rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said: “An industry focused on attracting more passengers and freight, combined with a commitment by successive governments to invest over the long term, is generating phenomenal growth.

“This winning formula is helping to reduce unit costs while improving and expanding a vital public service.”

In 1995/96 there were only 590 million passenger journeys made. This figure had risen to more than 758 million by 2001/02.