|Railway statistics and Melksham comparisons - how do we stand?
|Year||Route km||Electrified km||Passenger km||National Rail|
The average passenger journey was 33km in 1955 but that rose to 39km by 2004/05. In the same period, the number of passengers passing along a typical point on the railway system in a year rose from 1.37 million to 2.96 million. The passenger network shrunk by 40% in that period, and the freight-only network by a huge 75% to just 25% of what it was 50 years earlier.
The longer average journey reflects the movement of trains away from the branch line of the pre-beeching era, and perhaps the movement of populations from inner suburbs to longer distance commutes. The figure that shows over twice the number of passengers along the average piece of track is a bit of a statistical quirk; that sort of rise will be very rare on any particular track section. It's just that it was the less used lines that were close in the 1960s so that the average is pushed up artificially.
Looking at the quietest section of the TransWilts line from Thingley Junction via Melksham to Bradford South junction, we're "passing" some 100000 passengers a year at present on the local train and that will DROP even further below the national average if the service is slashed. I have no figures for how many passengers travel via Melksham at the weekend on trains on diversion in a typical year. But then if I look (and not too hard) I can find much higher figures - 25 million on the line out of London Paddington - and much lower figures such as 20000 on the line from Wick to Georgemas. In both cases I'm simply quoting ticket sales as they're line ends to a terminus.
Written 2006-01-16 01:27:20
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