U.K. Rail Journeys Hit Record 1.65 Billion Led by London Surge

Passenger journeys on the U.K. rail network rose more than 4 percent to a record 1.65 billion in the fiscal year through March as the country’s crowded roads encouraged people to continue an exodus from cars to trains.

Passenger travel has surged almost 70 percent since 2002-2003, when the collection of comparable data began, the Office of Rail and Road said Thursday in a statement. Some 1.16 billion journeys were in London and the southeast, with 134 million on long-distance trains and 365 million in the regions.

Britain’s railways have seen a jump in passenger numbers since privatization in the 1990s, with the nation ranked second in the European Union by total journeys behind Germany, which has about 2.6 billion a year, the ORR said. Volumes have exceeded records set in the 1940s, before the spread of autos.

Transport for London said separately that a record 1.3 billion passenger journeys were made on the city’s subway system or Tube during the same 12 month period.

London’s Overground rail network, also run by TfL, increased the number of journeys by almost 5 million to 140 million and the Docklands Light Railway recorded 110 million, a 10 million increase, according to a statement.

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