Home General Interest Statistics confirm rail journeys fell to lowest levels for 150 years

Statistics confirm rail journeys fell to lowest levels for 150 years

Railway journeys in Great Britain during the first quarter of 2020-21 (April to June 2020). fell to levels last seen in the mid-nineteenth century, official statistics from the Office of Rail and Road have revealed.

In total, 35 million journeys are estimated to have been made in the first quarter of 2020-21 (April to June 2020). This is a decrease of more than 400 million compared to the same quarter last year, highlighting the severe effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on passenger numbers.

London and the South East had the most journeys compared to the rest of the country. Govia Thameslink Railway recorded 7.5 million passenger journeys this quarter, the most of any operator.

In contrast, Transport for Wales Rail recorded the lowest number of journeys at 369,000. In Scotland, just one million journeys were made, equating to 4.3% of journeys made in the same quarter a year earlier. This was the lowest percentage for any operator.

Recent estimates published by the Department for Transport show that current national rail use was predicted to be 32% of what would be expected on an equivalent day.

Graham Richards, director of railway planning and performance at the Office of Rail and Road, said: “This unprecedented fall in passenger numbers, the largest on record to levels last seen in the mid-nineteenth century, has clearly had an impact on both rail usage and also ticketing revenue.

“These figures include the period of lockdown and reassuringly we’re now seeing passenger numbers slowly increase. ORR has worked closely with the industry, and continues to do so, to ensure the necessary health and safety advice and guidance is in place.

“Rail is one of the safest ways to travel and our inspectors continue to monitor the reality on the ground to ensure people have the confidence that they can travel safely.”

In total, revenue from passenger tickets was £184 million in 2020-21 Q1, just 6.9% of the £2.7 billion in 2019-20 Q1.

Anytime/Peak tickets accounted for 24.1% of all passenger revenue this quarter – the lowest share for such tickets in any quarter since the time series began in 2010-11.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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