New figures published by the Office of Rail and Road reveal that more people are now travelling by train than at any time since the early 1920s. The measurement, of individual journeys, shows that passenger figures are now challenging totals not seen since dancing the Charleston was the latest craze. Until this year, the highest total for individual journeys since the 1920s had been achieved in 1945, when ‘demob’ traffic of forces personnel returning home from wartime service briefly swelled the total to 1,372 million. Before that, the last comparable figure occurred as far back as 1923, when 1,319 million journeys were recorded jointly by the ‘Big Four’ companies. But the railway network then was far larger – roughly twice the size – which means that the system is now by far the busiest it has ever been.
The prosecution of charter operator West Coast Railways and one of its drivers in connection with a signal passed at danger near Swindon last March will now be heard by a Crown Court next month. An investigation was launched by the Office of Rail and Road after a WCR steam-hauled charter train overran a stop signal.
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