At a time when the UK rail industry is hardly bathed in glory, a glimmer of hope and light comes from the news that the UK rail revenue has increased to a four year high. This all stems from an increase in the number of journeys taken by passengers. These journeys were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales with the results forming part of the quarterly report released by the Office of Rail and Road.
Throughout 2018-19, the rail network in Britain saw passengers make a total of 1.76 billion journeys. In comparison to the previous year, this was an increase of 3% much of which was driven by an increase in certain sectors, including a 3.9% increase in London and the South East.
Following the increase in the number of journeys taken by passengers, the revenue peaked at 10.3 billion for 2018-19, making the highest growth seen since 2014-15.
Of course, the increase was put down to the activity in London and the South East, as this sector played a major role in the annual revenue growth. This sector alone contributes to half of the revenue generated from passengers, which saw an increase of 7%, reaching a record high in 2018-19 reaching £5.1 billion.
Throughout 2018-19, the amount of distance that passengers travelled also increased as that rose to 67.7 billion from 65.6 billion, which is a significant distance.
This was the highest rate of growth that had been seen since 2015-16. TfL Rail was the largest growing operator with the TransPennine Express following behind, however, much of this could be put down to the fact that it took over the Manchester to Leeds stopping service from Northern.
However, Northern still saw impressive results, recording the highest Q4 figure since 2016-17, regardless of the changes. This included a 5.9% increase in the number of kilometres travelled by passengers on the network. This increase has been put down to the way in which the operator has recovered from industrial action in Q4 of 2017-18, while the benefits of the Great North Project have also had an impact. There was also a quarterly increase of 6.2% for TransPennine when it came to the distance that passengers travelled.