More than a journey

The railway’s value to a fair, clean recovery for communities across Britain.

With passenger numbers having fallen by up to 95% during the pandemic, in June of this year the Rail Delivery Group asked WPI Economics to undertake research to examine the impact that a sustained fall in rail travel would have on the economy, communities and the environment in the different regions, cities and nations of Great Britain – and what the opportunities would be for the country in winning those passengers back.

The full report by WPI Economics is visible here



Boosting local businesses

Travel by rail, whether for leisure or work, makes a significant contribution to the national economy. In Great Britain total spending associated with rail travel was around £133bn per year pre-pandemic (not including rail fares) as the average passenger spends as much as £94 per journey on other activities. Rail travel supports, and will be critical to, the future economic recovery of a number of other sectors.

Prior to the pandemic every year rail users boosted the economy by spending a total of £133 billion:

£42 billion spent on food and drink

£34 billion spent on shopping

£27 billion spent on accommodation

£15 billion spent on entertainment and culture

£15 billion spent on other transport

“Being only steps from York train station puts us at a unique advantage, allowing for a seamless journey for our guests who travel to us via rail. We can see first-hand the considerable benefits that rail brings to our city, and we very much look forward to welcoming a return to normal service, and the perks it generates for our local economy and communities.”

Tracy Harrison, General Manager at The Principal York Hotel

“The pandemic has really taken its toll on small businesses, not just in Bath but throughout the country. A return to rail will have an immensely positive impact on the fortunes of our business and many others in the area. I’m excited for the next chapter and to help many more people discover this fabulous city using their tastebuds.”

Mike James, Food Tour Guide at Savouring Bath

“A lot of people dont' come by car anymore, they want to use public transport and rail is the perfect way of getting to Manchester. Once people feel freer to travel on the network, the connections are already very good, I think we'll see a sharp increase in business for Manchester, so a very positive future ahead.”

Adrian Ellis, General Manager at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester

"We must harness the railway’s unique ability to support a better future."

Andy Bagnall Director General, Rail Delivery Group

Benefiting passengers and broader society

The railway brings a range of benefits both to passengers and freight customers who use trains but also to broader society. WPI asked the public and businesses to put a price on how much they value the railway by saying what, if anything, they would be willing to pay in tax to maintain the network.

Estimated value of the indirect benefits to society of the railway

Perceived value

  • Households - £2.9 billion

  • Businesses - £1.2 billion

Key benefits:

  • Access to work, leisure and other opportunities
  • Benefits of business travel and moving goods by freight
  • Ability to work on train

Spreading benefits nationwide

Rail will be key to the economic recovery in every part of Great Britain – rural communities, leisure destinations, and towns, as well as in our cities.

Total pre-pandemic spending by rail passengers in different regions includes:

Map of United Kingdom

Scotland - £8,490m

Including:
£2,810 million on food and drink
£2,090 million on shopping
£1680 million on accommodation
£850 million on entertainment and culture

South-East - £19,690m

Including:
£6,260 million on food and drink
£6,170 million on shopping
£2,920 million on accommodation
£2,160 million on entertainment and culture

East Midlands - £5,740m

Including:
£1,370 million on food and drink
£1,960 million on shopping
£1,250 million on accommodation
£700 million on entertainment and culture

London - £54,190m

Including:
£18,030 million on food and drink
£11,810 million on shopping
£11,890 million on accommodation
£5,590 million on entertainment and culture

North-East - £1,440m

Including:
£560 million on food and drink
£320 million on shopping
£340 million on accommodation
£70 million on entertainment and culture

South-West - £5,530m

Including:
£1,600 million on food and drink
£1,670 million on shopping
£1,050 million on accommodation
£610 million on entertainment and culture

North-West - £8,990m

Including:
£2,460 million on food and drink
£2,930 million on shopping
£1,890 million on accommodation
£1,080 million on entertainment and culture

Wales - £4,840m

Including:
£1,450 million on food and drink
£1,140 million on shopping
£1,280 million on accommodation
£590 million on entertainment and culture

West Midlands - £6,400m

Including:
£1,920 million on food and drink
£2,150 million on shopping
£930 million on accommodation
£800 million on entertainment and culture

East of England - £12,290m

Including:
£4,070 million on food and drink
£2,430 million on shopping
£2,290 million on accommodation
£2,140 million on entertainment and culture

Yorkshire & The Humber - £5,320m

Including:
£1,470 million on food and drink
£1,580 million on shopping
£1,120 million on accommodation
£590 million on entertainment and culture

  • Scotland - £8,490m

    Including:
    £2,810 million on food and drink
    £2,090 million on shopping
    £1680 million on accommodation
    £850 million on entertainment and culture

  • South-East - £19,690m

    Including:
    £6,260 million on food and drink
    £6,170 million on shopping
    £2,920 million on accommodation
    £2,160 million on entertainment and culture

  • East Midlands - £5,740m

    Including:
    £1,370 million on food and drink
    £1,960 million on shopping
    £1,250 million on accommodation
    £700 million on entertainment and culture

  • London - £54,190m

    Including:
    £18,030 million on food and drink
    £11,810 million on shopping
    £11,890 million on accommodation
    £5,590 million on entertainment and culture

  • North-East - £1,440m

    Including:
    £560 million on food and drink
    £320 million on shopping
    £340 million on accommodation
    £70 million on entertainment and culture

  • South-West - £5,530m

    Including:
    £1,600 million on food and drink
    £1,670 million on shopping
    £1,050 million on accommodation
    £610 million on entertainment and culture

  • North-West - £8,990m

    Including:
    £2,460 million on food and drink
    £2,930 million on shopping
    £1,890 million on accommodation
    £1,080 million on entertainment and culture

  • Wales - £4,840m

    Including:
    £1,450 million on food and drink
    £1,140 million on shopping
    £1,280 million on accommodation
    £590 million on entertainment and culture

  • West Midlands - £6,400m

    Including:
    £1,920 million on food and drink
    £2,150 million on shopping
    £930 million on accommodation
    £800 million on entertainment and culture

  • East of England - £12,290m

    Including:
    £4,070 million on food and drink
    £2,430 million on shopping
    £2,290 million on accommodation
    £2,140 million on entertainment and culture

  • Yorkshire & The Humber - £5,320m

    Including:
    £1,470 million on food and drink
    £1,580 million on shopping
    £1,120 million on accommodation
    £590 million on entertainment and culture

  • utensils
  • shopping-bag
  • concierge-bell
  • theater-masks

The full report by WPI Economicsis visible here

Getting Britain back on track

Estimated average spending per journey by rail passengers travelling for leisure was:

  • Seaside towns and leisure destinations - £117

  • Rural areas - £83

  • Towns - £76

  • Cities - leisure journeys £114, commuter journeys £44



    Rail is vital to reaching net zero ambitions

    Given rail’s ability to carry large volumes of people and freight while keeping cars and lorries off the road, and the fact that travelling by rail cuts carbon emissions by two thirds compared to going by car, it is no surpise that more than half of people are concerned about the environmental impacts of a long-term drop in rail usage.

    The annual impact if 20% of rail usage switches to car:

    • An extra 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year

    • 300 million hours of lost time due to increased congestion.


    Making a fair, clean recovery a reality

    With the right approach and reforms, including a retail revolution and services built around changing local needs, we can boost innovation on the rail network, create a railway that is planned alongside the change to our economy and can become the backbone of a truly integrated, low carbon transport system.

    The full report by WPI Economicsis visible here

    enfrdeescy

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