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Railhub Archive
2004-08-26 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Light rail passenger journeys: England 2003/04

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Light rail passenger journeys: England 2003/04

26 Aug 2004 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

The number of passenger journeys on modern light rail systems in England increased by 4.9 per cent in the year to 31 March 2004, to 142.9 million.

The table below shows trends in patronage (each passenger boarding is defined as a passenger journey) over the last seven years. The most recent annual percentage changes are also shown:

Passenger journeys (millions)

1996/97 1999/00 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 % change

Docklands 16.7 38.4 41.3 45.7 48.5 6.0
Tyne & Wear 35.4 32.5 33.4 36.6 37.9 3.4
Manchester 13.4 17.2 18.2 18.8 18.9 0.5
Sheffield 7.8 11.1 11.4 11.5 12.3 7.0
Midland - 5.4 4.8 4.9 5.1 5.0
Croydon - 15.0 18.2 18.7 19.8 5.9
Nottingham - - - - 0.4 -

TOTAL 73.3 119.6 127.3 136.2 142.9 4.9

Much of the growth in recent years has been in London, on Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and Croydon Tramlink. In the last year, passenger growth on each of those systems increased by 6 per cent. The City Airport extension to the DLR is under construction, so further growth is expected in the coming years. Nottingham Express Transit is the latest system to open. It opened in March 2004, close to the end of the financial year, but the initial patronage was recorded.

There are currently 7 modern light rail systems in operation in England:
* Tyne and Wear Metro opened in the early 1980s and was extended to Sunderland in March 2002. Route length is 78 kilometres. * Docklands Light Railway opened in 1987 and extended to Lewisham in 1999. Its total route length is 27 km. City Airport extension is under construction.
* Manchester Metrolink opened in 1992 and was extended to Salford Quays and Eccles in 2000. Route length is 39 km..
* Stagecoach Supertram (Sheffield) opened in 1994 and is 29km. long. * Midland Metro opened in May 1999. It runs between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, a route length of 20 km.
* Croydon Tramlink opened in May 2000 and covers 28km on three lines. * Nottingham Express Transit opened in March 2004. Its route length is 14km.

In addition to the services listed above, there is the Blackpool tram service which is a heritage light rail service not included in the table above. Patronage on this service fell by 18 per cent in 2003/04, in part owing to the closure of 5 kilometres of track for refurbishment work in the January-March quarter of 2004.


1. Figures for light rail patronage are supplied by operators of the systems apart from the Passenger Transport Executive Tyne & Wear Metro. This release presents the key figures. Statistics for individual light rail systems, national rail and other public modes of transport will be published in Transport Statistics Great Britain in October.

2. An accompanying light rail fact sheet also published today provides further information on these systems. It is published on the DfT web site and can be found by following the links from\transtat\publictransport. A paper copy of the fact sheet can be obtained by contacting Paul O'Hara in Transport Statistics on 020 7944 3076 or by e-mail request to

3. The Department's PSA for bus and light rail patronage is now defined as "an increase in use of more than 12 per cent by 2010 compared with 2000 levels with growth in all regions".

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website:

Railhub Archive ::: 2004-08-26 DfT-001


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