Long distance rail journey statistics may include local traffic
At the moment, 35-odd million annual rail trips are made on ‘long distance’ operator Virgin Trains West Coast. But according to the Department for Transport, the biggest (Manchester — London and Birmingham — London) flows are each only around 3 million.
Statistics about individual lower-volume or shorter flows (such as Stoke on Trent to Manchester, or Rhyl to Chester) do not seem to be available, although collectively, their importance must be quite large. During its HS2 enquiry, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee raised the question of what journeys are classed as long distance.
Rail consultant William Barter’s tweet raises a different question: ‘If most current peak trains are ‘not-long-distance’, what would be the released capacity gain from transferring (a handful of) long distance services on the Stockport — Manchester corridor to HS2?’
For Network Rail’s market studies, the long distance passenger sector was defined as ‘the market for rail travel over distances of greater than 50 miles [~80 km], excluding journeys which are predominately for commuting purposes and are made entirely within one of the other Market Study areas’, and ‘the market for rail travel between large towns and cities of at least 30 miles [~48 km] apart, again excluding journeys made entirely within one of the City Regions considered in the other Market Study areas’.
|Service group||Current trips / annum (million, approx) ?|
|All GB national rail journeys||1600|
|All Virgin Trains West Coast journeys (A)||34.5|
|London – Birmingham* (B)||3|
|London – Manchester* (C)||3|
|London – Liverpool* (D)||1.5|
|Unidentified Virgin Trains West Coast
(A) minus (B) minus (C) minus (D)
(*assuming London Midland, Chiltern market share is zero)