Britain now has Europe’s fastest growing railway, according to the results of a study published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies
(ATOC). The study entitled, ‘Ten-year European Rail Growth Trends,’ looks into the levels of usage on Britain’s railways compared to those of mainland Europe.
Over the past ten years the number of passenger kilometres travelled on Britain’s railways rose to 40.4 billion in 2003, an increase of 36.1% - higher than in any other country in Europe. In second place is Spain, third - Ireland and fourth - France.
The news comes after ATOC’s announcement in December 2003 that there were more than one billion passenger journeys made on Britain’s rail network in 2003. This makes Britain the second largest railway in Europe in terms of passenger journeys.
Contrary to recent reports about Britain’s ‘north-south divide’, a breakdown of Britain’s rail passenger kilometre figures demonstrates strong growth in regional services over the past ten years (37.8%), as well as in London and the South-East (46.5%). Long distance services rose by 26.2%.
George Muir, Director General of the Association of Train Operating Companies said:
“This is great news for Britain - it shows that passengers recognise that we are changing the railway for the better.”
More than 2.75 million people now travel each day by train and over 19.000 scheduled passenger services are being operated each weekday in the Summer 2004 timetable, an increase of 12% since 1995.