Train passengers rush to the coast


icket sales for trains to seaside destinations over the bank holiday weekend have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to new figures.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said demand is more than double compared with last year August bank holiday, and up 17% on the same weekend in 2019.

The organisation commissioned research by consultancy WPI Economics which estimated that passengers travelling to seaside destinations for leisure spend on average £116 per trip.

Leisure passengers can feel good that they’re supporting a fair, clean recovery

This includes £40 on food and drink, £31 on accommodation, £23 on shopping, £13 on other travel and £10 on entertainment and culture.

The RDG said young people are particularly keen to get back on board trains for leisure trips.

Some 1.03 million journeys per week are being made using the 16-25 railcard, an increase of 49,000 since the beginning of June.

But while demand for leisure travel is recovering, commuting and business trips by rail are still well below pre-coronavirus levels.

Overall, rail industry revenue is just 59% of what it was at this point in 2019.

A campaign urging people to return to trains was launched last week, with the slogan “Let’s get back on track”.

RDG chief executive Jacqueline Starr said: “At the end of every train line are livelihoods and businesses that will depend on rail to be the difference they need to recover, so as we look forward to a bumper bank holiday weekend.

“Leisure passengers can feel good that they’re supporting a fair, clean recovery while they’re beating the bank holiday traffic jams.

“We’re asking customers to sign up for personal alerts about their journey through National Rail on Messenger so that they can make the most of their day off.”

Patricia Yates, deputy chief executive of VisitBritain, said: “We are delighted to see people travelling to and enjoying our coastal regions, and it’s fantastic to see so many headed out and about to enjoy the best of the Great British summer for this bank holiday weekend.

“With the convenience, ease and sustainability of domestic rail travel, this boost will have a positive impact on our coastal regions, boosting economic growth and spreading the benefits of tourism across Britain.”

The RDG said more than 95% of the rail network will be fully operational over the weekend.

Due to Network Rail engineering works, no trains will operate between London St Pancras International and Luton while an amended timetable will be in place on routes to and from London Euston.

Evening Standard – Luton