Railway Statistics for Britain

Road to rail?

motorway-traffic.jpg Of the total internal journeys made in Britain, 1.5% are by air, 8% by rail and the rest by road. Almost everyone thinks transferring traffic from road to rail is a good idea. It will reduce road congestion and carbon emissions, they say. BUT, in reality, it's not as easy as that. If just 2% of road traffic transferred to rail, rail capacity would have to increase by 25%. Since the railways can barely cope with the traffic they have now, huge amounts of investment would have to be put into the railway network to achieve this level of change.

British Transport Mode Use - 1952 to 2008


Source: Department for Transport

The level of rail travel has risen somewhat since 1952 but the number of road journeys has gone up by 400%.

Rail Passenger Journeys in the UK - 1987 to 2011


Source: ORR

Passenger journeys in Britain are recovering and, following a slowdown at the beginning of the recession, are continuing to grow at a fast rate. More investment in the rail network is urgently needed if overcrowding is to be contained.

Cost of Travel in the UK - 1999 to 2009


Source: Department for Transport

This shows how the cost of buying a car has fallen against disposable income. Even the all-up cost of running a car has only risen by 12% since 1999, less than all modes of public transport.

UK Railway Data Table

A selection of the available data on UK railways, updated as far as possible to Feb 2011.

Item Statistic Comments
Route kms 2010 15,777  
Route kms 1961 28,100  
Track Miles 21,000  
Stations 2,516  
Platform faces 5,736  
Trains 4,000  
Services run 20,000/weekday This is 16% increase from 1995 to 2009
Operating Staff 5,500  
Signal Boxes 1,100  
Level (at grade) Crossings 7,000  
Level (at grade) Crossing Deaths 13 (2009) This is low by world standards
Turnouts 19,000  
Signals 17,000  
Tunnels 674  
Overbridges 15,000  
Undeerbridges 20,000  
Viaducts 2,000  
Cuttings 3,000  
Embankments 3,000  
Electrified areas 40% of total  
Electrically operated traffic 60% of total  
25kV AC electrified track 7,578 single track kms  
AC feeder stations 73  
DC electrified track 4,285 single track kms  
DC sub-stations 430  
Network rail property ownership 4th largest in UK  
Listed buildings owned Cost £50 million/year  
Persons visiting stations 1.75 million/year 65% of all rail trips start or finish in London
Passenger journeys per day 2.75 million In the last 10 years passenger kilometres have risen 36%
Passenger journeys in 2010 1.32 billion Passenger kilometres were 33.3 billion
Railcards Sold 1.9 million 82% of journeys are made on discounted tickets
Freight carried 400,000 tonnes/day  
Energy usage 1 car uses 50% of the energy of a whole High Speed Train  
Average age of Rolling Stock 2009 15 years
Cost of new rolling stock ordered since 1996 £4.5 billion 4,700 new vehicles at almost £1 million each
Fuel range of UK HST 1,400 miles  
Sources: Network Rail, ATOC, SRA