Rail Transport in Great Britain - Passenger Services in Great Britain - C

Rail Transport in Great Britain - C
Passenger Services
Passenger services in Great Britain were divided into regional franchises and run by mostly private (that is, non-state owned) train operating companies from 1995 to 2020. These companies bid for seven- to eight-year contracts to run individual franchises. Most contracts in England are awarded by the Department for Transport (DfT), with the exception of Merseyrail, where the franchise is awarded by the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive.
In Scotland, contracts for ScotRail, is awarded by Transport Scotland, and in Wales, contracts for Transport for Wales Rail, is awarded by Transport for Wales, although the latter is currently publicly-owned with no plans for franchising in the near future and ScotRail is planned to be publicly owned in 2022. Initially, there were 25 franchises, some franchises have since been combined, others nationalised.
There are also a number of local or specialised rail services operated on an open access basis outside the franchise arrangements. Examples include Heathrow Express and Hull Trains. Many franchises were effectively abolished due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new state-owned public body, Great British Railways, operating a concession contract system on the network from 2023.
In the 2015–16 operating year, franchised services provided 1,718 million journeys totalling (64.7 billion billion passenger km) of travel, an increase over 1994–5 of 117% in journeys (from 761 million) and just over doubling the passenger miles. The passenger-miles figure, after being flat from 1965 to 1995, surpassed the 1947 figure for the first time in 1998 and continues to rise steeply.
The key index used to assess passenger train performance is the Public Performance Measure, which combines figures for punctuality and reliability. From a base of 90% of trains arriving on time in 1998, the measure dipped to 75% in mid-2001 due to stringent safety restrictions put in place after the Hatfield crash in October 2000. However, in June 2015 the PPM stood at 91.2% after a period of steady increases in the annual moving average since 2003 until around 2012 when the improvements levelled off.
Train fares cost 2.7% more than under British Rail in real terms on average. For some years, Britain has been said to have the highest rail fares in Europe, with peak-time and season tickets considerably higher than other countries, partly because rail subsidies in Europe are higher. However, passengers are also able to obtain some of the cheapest fares in Europe if they book in advance or travel at off-peak times or purchase 'day-return' tickets which cost little more than a single ticket.
UK rail operators point out rail fare increases have been at a substantially lower rate than petrol prices for private motoring. The difference in price has also been blamed on the fact Britain has the most restrictive loading gauge (maximum width and height of trains that can fit through tunnels, bridges etc.) in the world which means any trains must be significantly narrower and less tall than those used elsewhere. This means British trains cannot be bought "off-the-shelf" and must be specially built to fit British standards.
Average rolling-stock age fell slightly from the third quarter of 2001–02 to 2017–18, from 20.7 years old to 19.6 years old, and recent large orders from Bombardier and its acquirer Alstom, CAF, Hitachi and Stadler brought down the average age to around 15 years by March 2021.
Although passengers rarely have cause to refer to either document, all travel is subject to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and all tickets are valid subject to the rules set out in a number of so-called technical manuals, which are centrally produced for the network.
Annual Journey Numbers
Below are the estimated total number of journeys using heavy rail transport in Britain for each financial year. (This table does not include Eurostar, Underground or light rail services)
Annual Journey Numbers
Year          Journeys[nb 1]     Journeys % change
2004–2005 1,044,566,371
2005–2006    1,081,747,031    Increase3.59
2006–2007 1,150,271,272    Increase6.77
2007–2008 1,223,235,485    Increase6.36
2008–2009    1,271,934,558    Increase3.10
2009–2010    1,264,168,068    Decrease7.62
2010–2011    1,350,664,449    Increase6.84
2011–2012    1,456,276,046    Increase7.82
2012–2013 1,497,670,627    Increase2.84
2013–2014    1,583,380,750    Increase5.72
2014–2015    1,650,407,344    Increase4.23
2015–2016    1,713,518,682    Increase3.82
2016–2017 1,727,475,717    Increase0.81
2017–2018    1,703,998,197    Decrease1.36
2018–2019    1,752,982,619    Increase2.87
2019–2020    1,738,739,779    Decrease0.81
2020–2021 387,885,468 Decrease77.69
The following table is according to the Office of Rail and Road and includes open access operators such as Grand Central and Hull Trains.
Annual Passenger Numbers (millions)
Year     Total       Total % change
2002–2003   975.5
2003–2004   1,011.7    Increase3.71
2004–2005   1,039.5 Increase2.75
2005–2006   1,076.5    Increase3.56
2006–2007   1,145.0    Increase6.36
2007–2008   1,218.1    Increase6.38
2008–2009   1,266.5    Increase3.97
2009–2010   1,259.3    Decrease0.68
2010–2011   1,3555.6  Increase7.65
2011–2012   1,461.5    Increase7.82
2012–2013   1,502.6    Increase2.81
2013–2014   1,588.3    Increase5.70
2014–2015   1,655.8    Increase4.25
2015–2016   1,717.6    Increase3.72
2016–2017   1,731.5    Increase0.80
2017–2018   1,707.9    Decrease1.40
2018–2019   1,759.9    Increase3.0
^ Passenger numbers plus interchanges
Rail Transport in Great Britain Overview
Infrastructure Company: Network Rail (until 2024)
Major Operators:
National Rail franchisees
Independent operators
State-owned operators
Ridership: 1.738 billion (2019/20)
Passenger km: 66.8 km (41.5 mi) billion (2019/20)
System Length Total: 15,811 km (9,824 mi)
Electrified: 5,374 km (3,339 mi)
No. Stations: 2,576
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