ATOC said other reasons for the rise included the relatively stable employment figures and the availability of cheap train ticket deals. The sale of Advance tickets has hit record levels, having risen by 65% since 2007. Sales of these tickets were 17% higher than during the same quarter last year, ATOC announced. Over the first half of 2011, journeys rose by 5.4% overall, increasing from 605m in 2010 to 638m this year.Michael Roberts, chief executive of ATOC said: “Despite tough times for many people, train companies are successfully attracting more and more passengers to rail. Every part of the rail network has reported growth for well over a year now as the industry has emerged strongly from the recession.”Historically high petrol prices and a relatively resilient job market in many parts of the country have played a big part in growing passenger numbers. However, as family budgets are squeezed, record numbers of people are taking advantage of the cheap deals that operators make available. Sales of cheap Advance tickets have shot up as more and more passengers are booking ahead as a way of saving money.”With well over a billion journeys made every year by train, rail travel hasn’t been this popular since the 1920s. The challenge now for the industry is to keep on providing growing numbers of passengers with services that continue to improve.”Newham approves replacement DLR station plansThe London Borough of Newham has approved plans to replace the Pudding Mill Lane DLR station to accommodate Crossrail infrastructure. The existing station is located where the Crossrail route reaches the surface, so there are plans to construct a replacement DLR station immediately to the south, between the River Lea and City Mill River.The Crossrail Act 2008 granted outline planning permission for the replacement station, while allowing the London Borough of Newham to approve details in relation to external design and materials as well as boundary walls, fences and lighting.Newham’s Strategic Development Committee has now approved the plans.
The existing DLR station at Pudding Mill Lane will remain open to passengers until the new station is complete in 2013. Construction of the new DLR station will get underway later this year.Howard Smith, London Rail’s Chief Operating Officer said: “TfL welcomes the opportunity presented by Crossrail’s construction to provide DLR passengers with a brand new station at Pudding Mill Lane. The new station will be able to accommodate many more passengers than the existing station which will support future development as well as the future use of the Olympic stadium.”The first of Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines will arrive at Pudding Mill Lane in spring 2014, and the second in summer 2014. Once operational, Crossrail trains will emerge from the central section tunnels at Pudding Mill Lane, using the portal structure and ramp to join the Great Eastern Main Line to make their way towards Shenfield. DLR passengers will be able to interchange with Crossrail at Stratford station.Enabling works for Pudding Mill Lane Portal started over a year ago and are on schedule to be completed at the end of 2011. Main construction for Pudding Mill Lane Portal is now underway.Due to the close proximity of the Crossrail worksite to the Olympic Park, work on Pudding Mill Lane Portal will be suspended during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.