From the Christmas travel delays to the Government’s recent decision to delay a small number rail upgrades, these certainly have been frustrating times for railway passengers. However, it is essential this doesn’t detract from what has been a positive story for the millions of passengers who rely on using the railways to get from A to B every day and the fact that investment into the network are beginning to pay off. For example, did you know that:
1. Punctuality is on the up
9 out of 10 passenger trains are arriving on time. However, there is still more work to do make sure that even more people see theirs trains arrive on time, more often. For example, the big investments currently underway – from HS2 to Crossrail – will help by increasing space on some of the busiest parts of the network.
2. Passenger satisfaction is at near record highs
Investment into the rail network has led to better journeys – as shown by passenger satisfaction at near record highs of around 82%. But as the travel delays over Christmas show, there are times where the process of upgrading the network directly impacts on the quality of service. For a better network tomorrow, these upgrades must happen today. The rail industry recognise they have responsibility to work together more effectively to prevent future problems.
3. The tide is turning on commuter rail
With people expected to make another 400 million more journeys a year by 2019–2020, the rail industry is already investing heavily in additional capacity, with 3,000 new carriages and 170,000 extra seats a day for big cities by 2019. CBI data shows that this is beginning to translate into passenger confidence that commuter rail will improve in the next five years – for the first time ever in our survey history.
Passenger rail has been growing far faster in Britain than other European countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands. This optimistic picture comes out clearly from the majority of business passengers surveyed by the CBI, who expect continual improvements in passenger rail over the next five years.
5. There is overwhelming support for rail upgrade plans to deliver in the future
99% of CBI members back Network Rail’s £38bn investment programme over the next 5 five years. Why? Because this will provide a more effective passenger service that contributes to the economies of cities across the UK. You only need to look at the £650m Birmingham New Street redevelopment project to get a an idea of the potential — a single hub station will create better transport connections for the West Midlands, and could support thousands of jobs and boost regeneration in the region.