This series presents statistical information on the national rail system. The railways are a vital part of the country’s transport infrastructure, and a variety of statistics are collected and published in order to formulate policy and monitor performance.

All the statistics discussed on this page refer to national rail only. The Department for Transport also produces separate statistics on light rail and trams, available via a link near the foot of the page.

Notes and guidance

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has overall responsibility for rail statistics in Great Britain and it produces key industry statistics on a range of topics including rail usage, performance, freight and funding.

In addition, Passenger Focus produces the National Passenger Survey, a survey of passengers’ satisfaction with rail travel carried out twice a year. It is available here:

Statistics commissioned or managed directly by the Department for Transport include:

Rail passenger numbers and crowding statistics show information about rail passenger numbers on trains throughout the day in several major cities, as well as levels of peak crowding. These statistics are based on passenger counts carried out by train operators of the numbers of passengers using their services in the autumn period and represent passenger numbers on a ‘typical weekday’.

The National Rail Travel Survey (NRTS), a survey of passenger trips on the national rail system in Great Britain. It was initiated by the former Strategic Rail Authority and carried out by the Department for Transport to provide information about who uses the rail network, where, when and for what purposes. The report is available here:

Surveys of public experiences of and attitudes towards rail travel, which were covered by the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Opinions Survey (formerly known as the ONS Omnibus Survey) in February 2006 and March 2009. The most recent report, accompanying tables, and survey interview questionnaire are available here:

In addition, the Department for Transport also publishes a number of indicators as part of its Business Plan 2011-2015. Two of these relate to rail: rail subsidy per passenger mile and the proportion of trains running on time. The Business Plan is available here:


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