Covid-19 outbreak led to 400m fewer train journeys over just three months

Demand for rail travel sank to mid-19th century levels following the coronavirus outbreak, new figures show.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said more than 400 million fewer journeys were made between April and June compared with the same period in 2019.

Just 35 million journeys were made during the quarter this year.

Passenger revenue between April and June was £184 million, just 6.9% of the £2.7 billion in the same period last year.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures show demand has since returned to around 38% of normal levels.

ORR director of railway planning and performance Graham Richards said: “This unprecedented fall in passenger numbers, the largest on record to levels last seen in the mid-19th century, has clearly had an impact on both rail usage and also ticketing revenue.

“These figures include the period of lockdown and reassuringly we’re now seeing passenger numbers slowly increase.

“ORR has worked closely with the industry, and continues to do so, to ensure the necessary health and safety advice and guidance is in place.

“Rail is one of the safest ways to travel and our inspectors continue to monitor the reality on the ground to ensure people have the confidence that they can travel safely.”