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High fuel prices force motorists on to trains

Train use up by almost 5% in first quarter of 2011

Virgin train

Train journeys are up by 15 million in the first quarter of 2011

Rising fuel prices are pushing more drivers to swap the roads for the tracks it appears, as recent figures claim a 4.8% growth in railway users in the opening three months of the year.

Statistics published by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) this week have revealed a substantial increase in the number of people using train services in the country. 

Use our Car running costs advice to cut your driving finances and use our guide to Find the cheapest fuel.

15 million extra train journeys 

According to ATOC’s report, a total of 316 million train journeys were made in the first quarter of 2011, compared with 301 million in the same three months of 2010.

There has been an equal spread of increases across all journeys: those in London and the South East were up by 4.7%; the number of long distance trips grew by 4.1%; and regional journeys increased by 5.2%.

ATOC attributes this nationwide growth in train use as a result of the rising cost of motoring.

London overground train

Train journeys in London and the South East are up by 4.7%

On average, petrol costs have risen by more than twice the rate of rail fares in the last 12 months. Train prices increased in January by a significant 6.2%. However, the cost of fuel has gone up by 13% in the past year, with a hike of 11% in the last three months due to escalating oil prices and the increases in VAT and fuel duty.

Get the best value deal on your rail journey with our guide to Cheap train tickets or read our Top 10 tips to battle rising fuel prices.

One in six blame the cost of fuel

ATOC carried out further research in March this year, surveying 794 rail users about their travel habits.

A sixth of these said they had switched from a car to the train for at least one journey during February and March this year with around half claiming it was due to rising fuel prices.

According to calculations by the rail industry, a 5% rise in petrol prices can lead to around a 1% rise in journeys on the rail network.

Want to know which cars will cost you the least amount to own? Read our Top 10 new cars with the lowest running costs now.

Woman filling her car up with petrol

Fuel prices are coming down for the first time since August 2010

But fuel prices are coming down

However, with price of oil starting to retreat, the cost on the forecourt began to come down as well yesterday, for the first time in nine months.

Morrisons was the first the cut its prices, knocking 1p off a litre of petrol and 3p off diesel.

And Asda followed its lead, taking a penny off unleaded and 4p off the price of a litre of diesel.

Want to know if it would be cheaper for you to run a petrol or a diesel car? Use our Petrol vs diesel tool to find out which will be best for you.


Get more from Which? Car

Get more from Which? Car

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