Rail journeys rise by a fifth, says ORR

Image by Umair D on Unsplash

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has reported a 20% year-on-year increase in the number of passenger journeys.

A total of 417 million rail passenger journeys were recorded in Great Britain from October to December 2023. 

It shows numbers up by a fifth – with 348 million journeys taken in the same quarter in 2022. 

There were 1,570 million journeys in the year to 31 December 2023. 

This is a 20% increase on the 1,300 million journeys made in the previous 12 months.

A total of 15.2 billion passenger kilometres were travelled in Great Britain in the latest quarter. 

This is a 20% increase on the 12.6 billion passenger kilometres travelled in the same quarter in the previous year.

Total passenger revenue was £2.6bn in the latest quarter. 

This is a 20% increase on the £2.2bn in the same quarter in 2022 - when adjusted for inflation.

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has welcomed the strong progress on increased passenger levels.

Darren Caplan, RIA chief executive, said: “The return to rail continues apace and this substantial 20% uplift year-on-year is a really encouraging increase in the number of passenger journeys and revenues.

“This follows the excellent recent DfT passenger statistics which - despite changing calculations methodologies to exclude all Elizabeth Line passengers - has in March exceeded 100% of pre-Covid figures.

“Inclusion of those passengers would take overall numbers to nearly 110%, which is real progress considering the comparison year, 2019-20, was the second highest on record.

“These new ORR and DfT figures are a reminder that the railway will need more capacity in the future, especially with the recent RIA-commissioned Steer report forecasting passenger numbers to grow between 37% and 97% to 2050, depending on which policy levers the UK Government adopts in the coming years.

“It is clear that there needs to be rail reform and a long-term rail strategy, including a plan for more capacity, to deliver the connectivity, economic, levelling-up, and sustainability benefits everyone wants to see.”

If you would like to contact Karen McLauchlan about this, or any other story, please email kmclauchlan@infrastructure-intelligence.com.