Britain’s railways saw record peacetime passenger traffic last year – the network’s 13th year of consecutive growth, which took it past the previous high mark set six decades ago. Financial Times

Figures to be published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies show there were 1.21bn passenger rail journeys during 2007 and traffic of 30.1bn miles, journeys multiplied by the length of each.

The previous peacetime record, set in 1946, resulted from soldiers travelling long distances during post-war demobilisation. The railways accounted then for 29.2bn miles of passenger traffic.

Last year’s figures, resulting from 7% growth over the year, are a further sign of the challenge the rail system faces coping with extraordinary growth in demand, not only for passenger traffic but also freight. Passenger traffic has now increased by 67.6% since 1994, when there were 17.9bn passenger miles of traffic.