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Railway passengers and freight to double by 2035

A new report on long term rail industry planning, published this week, predicts twice as many passengers and a doubling of freight by 2035.

Planning Ahead is a report prepared by an industry steering group led by Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Rail Freight Operators’ Association.

Road congestion and the need to move to a ‘carbon-friendly’ economy will mean the demand for rail – for moving people and goods – will continue to grow, said Network Rail

Regional urban commuting is expected to see growth of over 100%, with growth on some routes predicted to be in excess of 115%.

Planning Ahead report

Network Rail director of planning and development Paul Plummer said: “Despite the tough economic times, we must continue to plan for the future and look to how we affordably expand the railway to meet big increases in passengers and freight.

“The railway is presently too expensive and must reduce its costs to ensure that the money it does invest delivers best value for Britain.”

Over the next 25 years the London commuter market, already very well served by rail, is likely to see growth of up to 35%. 

In contrast, regional urban commuting, to cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds Glasgow, is expected to see growth of over 100%, with growth on some routes predicted to be in excess of 115%.

Rail freight is similarly predicted to double demand to 45bn.FTK (freight tonne kilometres) of goods moved by 2030.

“Train operators and Network Rail are working increasingly closely together.”

Alec McTavish, Association of Train Operating Companies

Association of Train Operating Companies director of policy and operations Alec McTavish said: “Train operators and Network Rail are working increasingly closely together to help plan the railway and identify ways to improve cost effectiveness, whilst fully recognising the distinctive role that each plays in this. 

“Allowing Network Rail and operators greater freedom to determine the most efficient way of delivering for passengers and making Britain’s railway more financially self-sufficient would be to the benefit of the nation as a whole.”

Rail Freight Operators’ Association chair Lindsay Durham said: “We are pleased to work with our rail industry partners to plan a more efficient network that will enable growth and help to remove more lorries from Great Britain’s roads.”

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