LNER Azuma train

UK: The Office of Rail & Road reports that 990 million rail journeys were made in Great Britain between April 1 2021 and March 31 2022, more than double the 388 million journeys in 2020-21 when the pandemic caused figures to fall to the lowest levels since the mid-19th century. However, the traffic total is just 57% of the 1·74bn journeys made two years ago and the second lowest total since 2002-03, after 2020-21.

Income from passenger revenue increased in the last year to £5·9bn, compared to £2·0bn in 2020-21 and 54% of the £11bn generated pre-pandemic.

ORR rail passenger journey figures 1946-2022

ORR’s statistics show that 83% of passenger journeys were made using ordinary tickets such as Advance, Off-Peak and Anytime/Peak. Season tickets accounted for just 17% of journeys, half of pre-pandemic levels, and generated revenue of £526m, just 24% of the £2·2bn generated two years ago.

Long-distance journeys recorded the highest relative usage compared to pre-pandemic volumes, with LNER having the highest ridership at 83% of previous figures.

LNER said it has seen leisure travel return to and at times exceed pre-Covid levels over the past 12 months, particularly during school holidays.

Regional journeys were are 58% of pre-pandemic levels, while travel in London & the Southeast was at 56%.

Govia Thameslink Railway had the highest ridership with 179 million journeys made, but this was 51% of the figures for two years ago.

Heathrow Express recorded the lowest relative usage at 31%.