Growth In Passenger Numbers Accelerating16/02/2007
In 2006, the railways saw growth in passenger numbers accelerating to 6.7%, up from 3.1% in 2005. This takes the number of passenger journeys to well over a billion, and their highest level for 60 years.
Growth began to accelerate last spring. Whilst growth over the whole of 2006 was 6.7%, growth in the last six months has been about 10%.
George Muir, Director General of the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “This has been a very successful year for the railway - people are increasingly turning to rail.
“For the first time we are seeing the environmental benefits of rail becoming a significant factor in how people choose to travel around the UK.
“There is a huge programme of work in hand aimed at meeting rising demand - some projects are already underway and others are at an advanced stage of planning between Government and the industry, ready for approval.
“The new High Speed 1, the rail link to France for example, is virtually complete and will handle domestic traffic from Kent in 2009. The Thameslink Programme has received Parliamentary approval and if it gets the final go ahead will massively expand capacity into London from both the North and the South. Crossrail, currently before Parliament, will address traffic East and West of London as well as through traffic.
“We look forward to these big projects and other smaller projects across the network, getting funding approval”.
ATOC estimates that one billion, one hundred and forty seven million journeys (1.147 billion) were made on Britain’s rail network in 2006. This represents an increase of 6.7% over the 2005 total of 1.075 billion journeys.
This is the highest number of passenger journeys ever made on the post-Beeching rail network, which is now around half the size it was in 1946.
On average, around 3.2 million journeys are made on the rail network every day. Passenger journeys have increased by more than 50% since 1995/6.
Significant increases in passenger journeys have been experienced across the whole country:
* 9.7% on long distance services (71% increase since 1995/6)
* 6.0% on London and South East services (48% since 1995/6)
* 7.3% on regional services (52% increase since 1995/6)
Initiatives underway include:
1) The Thameslink Programme is moving towards approval after receiving Parliamentary consent and £30m development funding from Government. It will deliver substantial extra capacity through London.
2) Construction of the £1.4 billion East London Line extension is underway and 20 new trains are on order which will add capacity when it opens in 2010. Phase Two, when approved, will extend services to Clapham Junction helping create an overground orbital rail service.
3) 24 new trains with additional capacity will run on the North London Line from 2009.
4) Domestic high speed services from Kent on High Speed 1 will commence in 2009 following the start of international services to St Pancras in November this year.
5) 4,500 more seats have been provided on South West Main Line services and investigative work is underway to firm up options to add extra capacity at Waterloo.
6) The ‘four tracking’ of the Trent Valley section of the West Coast Main Line is nearing completion and will deliver substantial extra capacity from December 2008.
7) On the East Coast Main Line, an additional 12 midweek services between Leeds and London will be introduced.
8) TransPennine Express has acquired 14 additional train carriages adding 10% capacity, with a further 18 carriages coming this year. Northern have introduced 12 train carriages into service, adding extra capacity in West Yorkshire.
9) The Scottish Parliament is supporting the re-opening of the Bathgate to Airdrie line which would complete a fourth route between Glasgow and Edinburgh and work is nearing completion on reopening the Stirling to Alloa line.
10) In Wales, the line to Ebbw Vale will be re-opened later this year. On the Cambrian coast line plans are well advanced for the trialling of the new ERTMS signalling system which will provide additional capacity.
Further increased capacity on a route by route basis is being planned as part of Network Rail's Route Utilisation Study (RUS) programme.
Finally, the Crossrail project is proceeding through Parliament, and will ultimately provide very significant additional transport capacity.
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