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Rail travel rises to peacetime peak

The number of people travelling by train rose to record new levels in 2010, with more passengers choosing rail in a peacetime year than at any time since the 1920s, according to figures published today.

The figures, published by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), show that 1.32bn passenger journeys were made by train last year – a rise of 6.9% when compared to 2009 and a rise of 37% when compared to 2000.

Passengers travelled a record 53.1bn kilometres by train.

Growth was highest in the summer months, which saw a year on year rise of 8%.

Year on year demand also grew strongly during the final quarter of the year despite two heavy bouts of snow in December that caused disruption across all forms of transport and across the country.

This is the highest number of passenger journeys made in a peacetime year since the mid 1920s when the railway was roughly twice the size that it is now and the vast majority of the network ran on steam trains.

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