Train Travel Hits New Highs
Brit's are taking trains in greater numbers than any other time since World War 2. New figures revealed that the number of miles travelled on the rail network reached a record-breaking high of 30.1 billion during 2007. Passenger numbers have been increasing every year for the past thirteen. The only time it was higher was during the war when troops were being transported around the country. Last year the network handled 1.21 billion rail journeys, that's the equivalent of 20 trips for every citizen and a 7 per cent rise on the year before. Train authorities say it has to do with the growing demand for environmentally friendly travel and because it is easier than driving on congested roads and avoids the misery at airports. Eurostar has also announced that traffic to Paris has grown by 25% since the new train line from the new St. Pancras station was opened just 5 months ago. They attribute this increase to customers' concerns about the environment and the promotion of Eurostar's green credentials.
However passenger groups in the UK expressed concern about the rising cost of train tickets. The trains are privatized in the UK and in January some operators raised fares by 15% on the most popular routes. There is a fear that people will switch back to airplanes if the price of tickets keeps rising. Others are warning about the need to expand the system because already passengers are being left behind on the platforms due to overcrowding. :: Independent