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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 18:30 GMT
UK makes more than 1bn rail trips
Rail travellers
More Britons are travelling by train for 45 years
The train is fast becoming one of our favourite ways of travelling.

Commuters may rant about poor service, but Britons made more rail journeys in 2004 than for 45 years.

A total of 1.05 billion journeys were made by train this year, says the Association of Train Operating Companies.

The increase means that the public are making one million extra journeys a week.

Atoc director general George Muir said: "More people than ever are voting with their feet and travelling by train, which is good news for the environment.

"With nearly 1,400 new trains introduced this year alone and 320 new timetabled services running, we are attracting more passengers than in the late 1950s.

"It also means we have the fastest growing railway in Europe."


Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said: "The railways are now carrying more people than at any time since 1959."

Atoc said there had been increases in the number of journeys in all three categories of rail travel.

He said regional was up by 7.8%, long distance up 4.1 and London and southeast up by 2.6%.

Bob Crow, general secretary of Britain's biggest rail union, the Rail Maritime and Transport Union, said: " This is excellent news for Britain's railways and good for the environment."


A new travel information website has been launched by the government.

The site, www.transportdirect.info, is claimed to be the first in the world offering both private and public transport information.

It enables travellers to plan their journey door to door, by linking sources of travel information. It also offers traditional planning for car, air, coach or train.

Transport Direct also has 'live' travel information, where travellers can also check out the delays on road and rail routes.

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