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Today, more people travel by rail than at any point since the 1920s - when the rail network was around twice the size.
Every year 1.3 billion journeys are made on Britain’s railway and 100 million tonnes of freight is transported by rail between ports, factories and shops.
One million more trains run every year than just five years ago but the increasing popularity of rail means that, at peak times, there is no space for more trains on the busiest parts of the network.
Despite this, demand is still increasing. Over the next 30 years passenger demand for rail will more than double and freight demand is expected to go up by 140%.
Improving the rail network provides faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys between Britain’s towns and cities. It brings people and businesses closer together, making Britain more competitive and a better place to do business.
Rail investment helps to stimulate private sector growth and we are committed to growing the rail network to grow to accommodate business’s growing needs.
Investing in rail is one of the most effective ways to help grow Britain’s economy.
Download Britain Relies on Rail (1MB)
Our Delivery Plan for 2009 to 2014 details a £10 billion programme of investment in the railway, including major projects such as Thameslink, as well as the redevelopment of Reading, Birmingham New Street and King's Cross stations, and thousands of other schemes across Britain.
Our Route Utilisation Strategies (RUS) look in depth at different parts of the country and look to grow the rail network where passenger and freight demand requires.
‘Planning Ahead’ is the first document in a series that will set out a vision for the railway in 30 or 40 years, so that planning for the future is consistent with a long term strategic vision that meets the needs of everyone who uses the railway.