THOUSANDS more train services will be running each week by 2021, according to a new analysis of the industry.
The ongoing £50 billion investment in the British rail network will result in a rise of 11 per cent in the number of weekday services, according to the new research.
Operators are already running more than 1350 additional trains each week compared with four years ago, the study says.
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The figures were released by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) – representing train companies and Network Rail – and which said that 6400 more services will be running every week across Britain by 2021.
The additional services we are being promised by then include an increase in train frequency for high-speed routes between Scotland and England and a better timetable for passengers using the Edinburgh to Glasgow route.
Meanwhile, the punctuality of Britain’s rail network is at its lowest point in more than a decade.
More than one in 10 trains (12.3 per cent) failed to reach their destinations on time last year, according to figures from the Office of Rail and Road.
This is the worst performance for any 12-month period since the year ending September 2006, which saw the figure rise to 12.5 per cent.
The latest passenger survey from Transport Focus, released in autumn last year, revealed that just 81 per cent of people were satisfied with the railways.
That figure has not been lower since the spring of 2007.
RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: “Rail is an ever more vital public service, enabling jobs, housing and economic growth.
“But there’s a capacity crunch affecting the railways, with journeys having doubled over 20 years and the number of trains increasing too.
“That’s why we’re delivering billions of pounds of improvements and reversing decades of under-investment.”
Lianna Etkind, from the Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the overall increase in trains, but also called for investment in longer trains. She added that she also wanted to see smaller towns and villages better connected the public transport network.
This would ensure that rail offered a “viable and environmentally responsible alternative to car travel”, Etkind said.
However, Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, dismissed the extra trains claim.
He said: “Like most people, we will believe this when we see it.
“There simply aren’t the trains and staff available to make this plan happen.”