The Historic Railway Association's latest data
Furthermore, during the current Periodic Review 2018 process, which establishes the charges train operators must pay to Network Rail to access the national network, the government has made it clear to the independent Office of Rail and Road how important it is to support charter passenger services, which includes heritage railways. In March 2018, we wrote to the arguing for a cap on variable usage charges for passenger charter services that use the national network to protect the important benefits they provide. We applaud the's subsequent decision to set a limit on increases in these fees.
It highlights the importance of heritage railways, with over 150 heritage railways, tramways, and museums ranging in length from a few hundred yards to over 20 miles. A total of 13 million tourists, including eight million passengers, visit this attraction each year. These railways employ approximately 3,000 paid employees and little over 22,000 volunteers, and their annual economic value to the UK was estimated to be around £250 million in 2013.
Only five heritage railways offer through services to the national network, and they primarily provide an experience, such as a steam train journey, rather than providing public transportation. In addition, there are 18 railways with physical connections to the national network in the UK, as well as 17 interchange stations, with more planned.
Community rail has the potential to link to heritage lines through cooperative promotion as part of the tourism offering, particularly where the heritage line is next to or close to the national rail network. The historic line, on the other hand, has a role to play in promoting rail travel as a method of getting to their line.
The railway system in the United Kingdom is the world's oldest railway system. In 1825, the first locomotive-hauled public railway opened, ushering in a period of rapid expansion. The majority of the track is handled by Network Rail, which in 2017 had a standard-gauge network of 15,811 kilometers (9,824 miles), with 5,374 kilometers (3,339 miles) electrified. These lines might be as simple as a single quadruple track or as complex as a multiple quadruple track. There are also separate metro, light rail, and tram systems in various cities (including the extensive and historic London Underground ). There are also numerous private railways (some of which are narrow-gauge) that are mostly used by visitors. The primary rail network is linked to the Channel Tunnel High Speed 1 (formerly the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) in continental Europe, which opened in 1994 and 2007 respectively.