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Rail investment vital to meet demand says industry leaders

9 May 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

With the number of rail journeys in Britain rising to almost 1.7billion last year, industry leaders have highlighted the value of rail investment in order to meet demand.

Rail investment vital to meet demand says industry leaders

Britain’s multi-billion pound investment in the railway is vital to meet demand says the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail.

Figures taken from the rail industry’s central ticketing system, LENNON, reveal train journeys across Britain rose by almost four percent overall, up 60million to nearly 1.7billion, in the last financial year, despite falling petrol costs and an overall sluggish economy. As a result revenue from passengers grew by more than five percent to £9.3billion in 2015-16. With on average 97p in every £1 of every fare going back into running and maintaining the railway, the additional revenue has been used to improve rail services in order to meet additional demand.

Train journeys across Britain rose by almost 4% last year

Britain is currently undergoing one of the biggest rail investment programmes in its history. Commenting on the continuation of investment, Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said:

“Rail keeps Britain moving, but our network is very busy at times due to a big increase in services as passengers numbers have doubled. It is vital that we invest and plan long-term for this ever-growing demand.

“It is vital that we invest and plan long-term for this ever-growing demand”

“Billions of pounds are being spent to improve reliability and increase capacity, reversing decades of under-investment. Money from fares is helping to build the bigger, better, modern railway that Britain needs, giving customers faster journeys and improved facilities.

“While there has been growth overall in the past year, these are challenging times. There has been a slowdown in the rate of growth in some areas of the rail market and we are analysing how factors such as a worsening economic outlook or continued low petrol prices may be affecting train travel.”

“While there has been growth overall in the past year, these are challenging times”

Figures from the RDG show that between April 2015 and the end of March 2016:

  • There were 60million more journeys made than the previous year – a 3.7 per cent rise to 1.7billion, more than 4.6million a day on average;
  • Journeys on Anytime and Season tickets accounted for more than one billion of the total;
  • Journey growth in the last 12 months was greatest in London and the South East, up 4.2 percent to almost 1.2billion. Long-distance routes saw a 3.3 per cent increase in journeys (to 139million) and regional routes 2.3 per cent more (to 379million). 

Demand for fully flexible and first class fares grew significantly over the last year. The year-on-year growth includes an almost eight percent rise in journeys on unrestricted Anytime tickets, which can be used on any train.

Off-Peak first class journeys rose by nearly ten percent to 1.4million, with Anytime first class journeys up more than three per cent to 3.7million.

Journeys by commuters with Season tickets rose by almost two per cent to 658million.

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