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The Rail Industry: Staying on Track

Railway in a cityWith close to 16000km of track allocating to over 2500 individual train stations, the UK’s rail sector is a national asset. Around 1.7bn journeys are made by passenger trains each year comparing with the 17bn tonne-kilometre of freight which is transported annually via the network. The railway lines in the UK are among the most avidly used within Europe and according to The Railway Industry Association: The UK’s network is operates on a level which is much greater than the EU average- by around 60%.

The UK continues to manage and develop a railway which it essentially pioneered. The rate of which the rail service demand has increased over the past 2 decades on a scale faster than any other form of transport, which is surprising considering the growing number of vehicles on the roads. In fact, the utilisation of the rail service has more than doubled. Rail engineering and innovation puts the UK at the forefront of building and enhancing the system even more.

Although the sector is so intensively operated nationally and internationally, the UK’s most frequently used rail lines are those that run throughout London and the South-East by about 70%. Travel by rail in London is infamously popular, especially during peak times. 45% of the weekday morning commuter journeys into central London are by train. However even though rail transportation is in such high demand, it is still one of the safest available ways to travel.  

Around 24000 individuals are employed directly within the rail sector, which offers a variety of different workforce opportunities and departments. Employment roles within the industry vary from skilled and technical positions to office-based roles in administration and customer service- as well as so much more at either end and in between.

As well as passenger trains, the UK’s railway is host to freight traffic- and the demand for which has been growing. Now, around 6% of rail operation is down to freight transportation, which plays a fundamental role in supporting sustainability and productivity in the nation’s economy. Rail freight has a proven history of generating substantial income and in the past has racked up over £1.7bn in economical finances.

The changes to some of the key UK’s industries in recent years have directly affected other reliant sectors –like freight transport. Due to the gradual elimination of key markets such as the use of coal, the freight market has had to rely on increasing its demand through other growing core industries such as construction.

As well as directly, the rail service generates economic contribution by enabling travel to other sectors in the UK. Nationwide access provides commuter routes to employment as well as freedom and pleasure through tourism and general travel opportunity. The overall impact of the rail industry is undisputable and the financial gain accumulated by other markets and industries is established. Upon estimation, the rail market is worth around €163bn annually on a global scale.

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