Monday, 25 June 2018

Cost of petrol drives people on to trains

PASSENGER numbers on the Henley railway branch line have increased.

PASSENGER numbers on the Henley railway branch line have increased.

Estimated ticket sales have grown by 3.7 per cent at Henley station during 2011/12, according to a new report by the Office of Rail Regulation.

It says that the number of entries and exits at the station has gone up from 668,264 in 2010/11 to 693,250 last year.

Shiplake station also saw an increase, from 79,782 to 86,932, while Wargrave’s total went up from 78,180 to 84,300, meaning there was sustained growth along the branch line.

There was also a 5.4 per cent increase at Twyford station, from 1,299,418 to 1,232,710. It is the 380th most used station on the network.

Reading is the 24th busiest station in the UK with 15,276,176 entries and exits, which is an increase of 6.1 per cent from 14,400,405.

Sir David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, who lives in Henley, says there has been passenger growth across the country.

“Usage is up an average of five per cent over the last 10 years,” he said. “It is great to have good patronage on the line and it justifies the infrastructure growth.”

He said the rise in passengers was due to the increased cost of petrol for travelling into London by car and congestion in the capital.

Sir David said that to combat congestion along the line, an extra carriage had been added to the 7.44am service from Henley to London Paddington, which was found by the Department for Transport to be the most overcrowded in Britain, regularly carrying 80 per cent more passengers than its official capacity.

He welcomed the four new platforms and new modern passenger bridge at Reading station and the investment in rail electrification.

This year, the Henley to Twyford branch will be equipped with 25,000-volt overhead power cables, bringing an end to the diesel trains on part of First Great Western’s services.

The move is part of a government scheme to create an “electric spine” from the North to Southampton Docks.

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