More people using East Anglian trains – but the increase is slowing down

The number of passengers using trains in East Anglia continued to rise last year – but there are signs that the growth is starting to slow down.

New figures from the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) showed that the number of rail users across the region went up from 185.5m in 2016/17 to 188.5m in 2017/18. That is a rise of 1.7%.

However in the previous two years the increases had been 4.2% and 3%. The number of people travelling by train in the region has increased by 2.4 times since figures were first recorded in 1995/96 and the number was 78.8m.

The news of the slowing rise in passenger numbers came on the day that Greater Anglia saw the first of its new Intercity-style trains arrive in the region.

The ORR figures do not relate only to Greater Anglia trains – they include all operators in the region including Thameslink Great Northern which operate trains in the west into Kings Cross station in London.

However a large proportion of the trains are Greater Anglia services.

A spokeswoman for the company said the new trains were needed because Greater Anglia had almost reached capacity on many of its services and it needed the extra space that the new trains would provide.

She added: “Our passenger numbers are continuing to grow – over 1.1 million people use our trains every week to get to work, school, university or for leisure. We’re looking forward to getting our brand new longer trains with more seats, which we are confident will make a big improvement to people’s journeys. They will all have plug and USB points, air conditioning and free wifi, all of which helps us play a positive part in our region’s economy and ensuring rail is a popular choice both today and in the future.

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“Currently just over 89% of our trains run on time and we are spending £23 million in improving the reliability of existing trains. With the rising costs of travelling by car and the new London emission charge due to be introduced later this year, more people are travelling by train.”

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