There were encouraging signs of rising rail use over the summer months, with the number of rail journeys at over 60% of pre-Covid levels by the end of August. Several operators ramped up services in early September as schools returned and in anticipation of an increase in commuting.
The Rail Delivery Group highlighted on 1 September that rail journeys had reached a high of 66% of pre-pandemic levels, according to provisional Department for Transport statistics. However, it noted commuting and business journeys were still well down on pre-Covid figures and rail industry revenue was only 59% of that seen in 2019. The national marketing campaign to encourage a return to rail travel was launched on 16 August.
LNER has reported particularly strong summer demand, with the number of leisure travellers exceeding levels seen before Covid. It said on 7 September that business travel had grown to nearly 50% of pre-pandemic levels and was still rising. The bank holiday weekend at the end of August was particularly busy, with Anglo-Scottish services proving most popular.