User guide – Rail

User guide – Rail

Notes and definitions

Ticket sail statistics

All the statistics are based on the sales of tickets, with the rail industry's central ticketing system (formerly called CAPRI - Computer Analysis of Passenger Revenue Information, now replaced and renamed LENNON - Latest Earnings Nationally Networked Over Night) being the source of most of the figures. LENNON holds information on all national rail tickets purchased in Great Britain. LENNON does not include journeys made by people without tickets, by railway staff using special passes, and by blind people under a free concessionary travel scheme. A single ticket is counted as one passenger journey, a return ticket is counted as two passenger journeys (one in each direction), and the number of journeys made by holders of season tickets is estimated from the sales of such tickets, using the standard factors for season tickets of various lengths which are adopted for the production of National Rail passenger statistics. There is multiple counting when a passenger uses more than one ticket to make a journey (e.g. a journey from A to B, and then on to C, using a separate single ticket for each of the journey stages would be counted as two passenger journeys)

LENNON does not record directly sales of certain products, including:

  • some operator-specific tickets;
  • some types of promotional fares (such as two for the price of one) and combined rail plus add-on tickets (e.g. covering a journey by rail and admission to an attraction).

Figures for Scotland are produced on two different bases (due to differences in the available information). In ascending order of size, they are:

  • ScotRail passenger train journey stages - used for Table 7.1
  • ORR passenger journeys - used for Tables 7.2 – 7.8.
ORR Passenger journeys

These figures are produced by adding together:

  • the numbers of passenger journeys made using national rail tickets - produced from LENNON information about national rail ticket sales, as described in the previous paragraph; and
  • estimates of the numbers of certain types of passenger journey that are not recorded directly by LENNON, such as those which are made using some types of promotional fares, combined rail plus add-on tickets, and multi-modal travelcard type tickets, such as the SPT Zonecard.

ORR figures include estimates of zonecard trips using a slightly different basis to ScotRail estimates and therefore figures are not comparable.

ScotRail passenger train journey stages

These figures are produced from:

  • data which have been subject to the ORCATS process (Operational Research Computer Allocation of Tickets to Services). This uses the national rail ticket sales information from LENNON to allocate the revenue from a passenger's ticket to the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) which provide the services on the route or routes which were used for the passenger's journey. In the ORCATS process, a passenger journey that would involve a change of train is counted against each of the trains that would be used in the course of that journey.

    For example, a journey made using a through single ticket from North Berwick to Carlisle would be counted twice, to reflect the fact that the passenger would use one train from North Berwick to Edinburgh, and then change at Edinburgh to another train to Carlisle. This is done in order that the revenue relating to the ticket can be allocated pro rata to the operators of the different trains used in the course of the journey. Therefore, figures in Table 7.1 represent the numbers of different trains used in the course of journeys on ScotRail services, not the actual numbers of journeys made (hence differs from the ORR).

  • Estimates of the numbers of journeys (or parts of journeys) made using tickets (such as Zonecards) whose sales are not recorded directly by LENNON (some of these estimates are added after the allocation process).
  • ScotRail revised its methodology to better estimate Strathclyde Zonecard journeys from 2009/10. To allow meaningful year on year comparisons to be made passenger figures from 2003/04 onwards present the impact on previously published figures. Note that Office of Rail and Road figures are compiled on a different basis and do not adjust for this.
Journeys originating in Scotland, and cross-border journeys

Statistics are compiled on the basis of where each journey starts. For example, someone who used a Zonecard to travel from a suburban station to, say, Glasgow Central, and then bought a single to (say) Manchester, would be counted as making one internal (within Scotland) journey and one cross-border originating in Scotland journey.

Ticket types

The following are identified:

  • Full fare - e.g. first class, standard single and standard open return;
  • Reduced fare - e.g. saver, supersaver, cheap day return, special promotional fares, such as two for the price of one and combined rail plus add-on tickets (see below);
  • Season tickets - includes Zonecards.
Journeys datasets in LENNON

LENNON contains two datasets - pre-allocation (sales) and post-allocation (earnings). Allocations are created for each ticket group, dependant on sales levels, by ORCATS (Operational Research Computer Allocation of Tickets to Services). These allocations are principally used to apportion journeys between TOCs. ORCATS is a mathematical model, which was introduced in the 1980s, which uses a similar logic to journey planning systems and identifies passenger 'opportunities to travel' from an origin station to a destination station using timetable information. An opportunity to travel may include one or more changes of train and one journey will be generated for each train used during an opportunity to travel. This will result in the number of journeys being inflated by around 5%, compared to the pre-allocation dataset which does not assign journeys between TOCs.


Includes all ticket revenue and miscellaneous charges associated with passenger travel, such as car park charges earned by the Train Operators. In the case of combined rail plus add-on tickets (e.g. a ticket which covers both a journey by rail and admission to an attraction, or a ticket which covers both a journey by rail and a bus, taxi or ferry journey from the destination station) the figures held in the database for revenue from the sales of such tickets do not indicate how much relates to the rail travel. Therefore, all the revenue from the sales of such tickets is counted in these statistics.

Concessionary fares

The figures for revenue include payments made by passengers for concessionary fares, but not the additional payments made by local authorities and the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to reimburse the train operator for the difference between the concessionary fare and the normal fare for the journey (because these are not recorded in the database).

Passenger journeys by local authority

Table 7.6a and Table 7.6b are taken from the ORR National Rail Statistics Regional Usage Chapter. Table 7.6c is calculated on a similar basis and replaces versions of the table included in earlier versions of STS as the new methodology corrects the allocation of multi-trip tickets between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Passenger journeys, using national rail tickets, to and from particular stations

The figures in Tables 7.7 and 7.8 are produced from information about through tickets sold for journeys between different destinations, and are subject to the same points as were made in the earlier paragraph on passenger journeys made using national rail tickets. However, there are differences, because the figures in these tables aim to represent the numbers of people using each individual station (but not counting those who change trains there, unless they buy another ticket: these figures are of entries and exits to/from the national rail system, not counting interchanges). Normally, a single journey between two stations within Scotland will be counted twice (once against the origin station and once against the destination station) and a single journey between Scotland and England will be counted only once (against only the station in Scotland). However, when the contractor working for the Office of Rail Regulation (Now called the Office of Rail and Road - ORR) produced the figures, there were two complications, the second of which caused some journeys to be counted less than this:

  • in the case of some places with more than one station, it is possible to buy a ticket which allows travel to and from any of the stations at that place. Such tickets are recorded in the database as being to/from a group station (e.g. Glasgow stations) rather than being to/from any particular station (e.g. Central or Queen Street). When the ORR's contractor produced statistics of the numbers of passengers using each station (like those in Table 7.7), it split the numbers of journeys made using tickets which specified origins/destinations as places (e.g. Glasgow) between the relevant stations. This could be based on information about services and passenger numbers for the places concerned, or could simply count them all against the major stations within the group
  • it is possible to purchase national rail tickets for travel between a particular station (or place) and an SPT zone in Glasgow - the ticket allows the traveller to use any of the stations in that SPT zone. Such tickets are recorded in the database as being between the specified place and the SPT zone. Prior to 2008 - 09 , when producing the station usage statistics, the ORR's contractor counted journeys against origins/destinations outwith Glasgow as described above. They were unable to count any origins/destinations recorded as SPT zones to specific Glasgow stations as it had no basis on which to split the journeys made using such tickets between the stations in the zones. This resulted in an underestimation of the number of passengers using Glasgow stations (in addition to the exclusions, mentioned earlier, such as journeys made using SPT zonecards.

However, from 2008–09, ORR's contractor has assigned the previously unknown origin/destinations. Information provided by the PTEs has been used to estimate the number of journeys made on national rail services on PTE sold tickets that are not captured in the rail industry's LENNON system.

Station usage figures were produced on this basis for every station in Great Britain, and made available on the ORR Web site, as described in section 5. The ORR station usage data consist of separate estimates of the total numbers of people entering, exiting and interchanging at stations. The station usage information from which Table 7.7 was produced is based on ticket sales covering all National Rail stations throughout England, Scotland and Wales. (It does not include those stations that are owned by London Underground. The ticketing system does not record certain journeys made using TfL bought travelcards, TfL Freedom Passes, staff travel passes and certain other PTE specific products. However, from 2008 – 09 the data now includes estimates of journeys and revenue made on zonal products sold outside of the main ticketing database.

The calculation of station usage levels uses sales recorded in the railway ticketing system prior to their allocation to individual operators, and so does not take into account any changes of train during the course of a journey. The figures which appear in Table 7.7 are estimates of the numbers of entries and exits, and do not include the estimated numbers of people who change trains at the specified stations (unless they buy another ticket there).

Rail punctuality - Public Performance Measure

The Public Performance Measure (PPM) combines punctuality and reliability into a single measure of the performance of individual trains against the planned timetable for the day, which may differ from the published timetable (e.g. due to engineering works, speed restrictions, flooding, etc).

For long-distance operators (such as GNER, Virgin CrossCountry and Virgin West Coast) the PPM is the percentage of trains arriving within ten minutes of timetable at the final destination; for regional operators (such as ScotRail) the PPM is the percentage arriving within five minutes of timetable. (The definitions differ because, in general, long-distance operators' trains run further than regional operators' trains.) The figures relate to all the services which are provided by the operator, so (for example) the PPM for GNER is an overall measure for all its trains, not just for those which run to, from or within Scotland.

Trains which complete their journey are measured for punctuality at the final destination. When a train fails to run its entire planned route, calling at all timetabled stations, it is either shown as cancelled (if it runs less than half of its planned mileage) or counted in the 20 or more minutes late band. Therefore, such a train would not be counted as arriving at the final destination within the number of minutes specified in the PPM.

Passengers in excess of capacity

From 2001 to 2003, the former Strategic Rail Authority monitored overcrowding on Edinburgh commuter services across the Forth Bridge . Passengers in excess of capacity (PIXC) was calculated for weekday commuter trains which arrived in Edinburgh between 07:00 and 09:59, or which departed between 16:00 and 18:59.

PIXC was calculated as the number of passengers travelling in excess of capacity on all of the specified services divided by the total number of passengers travelling on those services, and expressed as a percentage. For journeys of more than 20 minutes, capacity was deemed to be the number of standard class seats on the train; for journeys of 20 minutes or fewer, there was also an allowance for standing room (which varies with the type of rolling stock - e.g. for modern sliding door stock, it was typically of the order of 35% of the number of seats).

The SRA set limits on the level of PIXC at 4.5% on one peak, and 3.0% across both peaks. However, there is no requirement to monitor passengers in excess of capacity under the current Scottish passenger rail franchise, which applies from 17 October 2004 (the date when First Group took over the operation of the ScotRail franchise) - and therefore such information is no longer collected.

Rail passenger satisfaction: National Rail Passenger Survey

Passengers' ratings of their train journeys are shown in three groups: those which are regarded as generic; those which relate to the station; and those which relate to the journey.

The table shows the percentages who said that they were satisfied / very satisfied with each factor, or who rated it as good / very good. The difference between the percentage shown for a factor and 100% is made up of both

  • those who said that they were dissatisfied / very dissatisfied, or who rated it poor / very poor; and
  • those who said that they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, or who rated it neither good / very good nor poor / very poor.

A passenger who changes trains later in the course of a journey is asked for his/her views of the first station and the first train that was used of the journey after they were given a questionnaire. In all analyses, such a person's answers are counted against the operator of the first train.

ScotRail is classified as a regional operator by the Office of Rail and Road, therefore results for ScotRail should be compared with those for all GB regional operators that appear in the table. 'Others whose journey started in Scotland' is made up of long distance routes and these results should be compared with all GB long distance operators.

Freight traffic

Freight traffic: the figures for 1996-97 onwards were prepared from information supplied by the rail freight companies. The numbers of tonne-kilometres in those years relate to the whole distance that the freight is carried on the companies' trains, not just to that part of the journey which is within Scotland.

Origins and destinations of freight traffic

Three points should be noted about the figures which have been provided by the rail companies for 1996-97 onwards:

1. lifted within Scotland includes freight from abroad which arrives at a Scottish port (e.g. Hunterston) and is lifted from there by rail;

2. lifted outwith UK includes freight from abroad which was imported via ports in England and Wales (eg Teesside) and was then brought from there into Scotland by rail;

3. lifted within Scotland, delivered outwith UK includes freight which is delivered to a Scottish port (eg Leith) or to an English port (eg Southampton) for export

It follows that the figures in the tables for freight lifted or delivered outwith the UK cover much more than just rail traffic which goes through the Channel Tunnel.

There are no statistics available for freight lifted or delivered outwith UK in the years prior to 1996-97. In the figures that were produced for those years, traffic delivered by rail to ports for export was counted on the basis of the location of the port, and so was counted under either Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. Similarly, freight which was imported, and picked up by rail at a port, was counted on the basis of the location of the port. However, the figures that were produced for those years excluded any international freight traffic through the Channel Tunnel (for which freight services commenced in June 1994).

Railway Accidents

The statistics are of railway incidents statutorily reported under The Reporting of Incidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). These regulations came into force on the 1 April 1996 and brought railway accident reporting in line with other industry accident reporting. The fatalities are classified by the former Region because those are the areas which are shown in the Rail Atlas which HM Railway Inspectorate uses to identify the locations of the fatalities. Due to an EU safety directive which came into force in 2006, railway accident statistics in table 7.19 and 7.20 have been changed from a financial year basis to a calendar year basis with effect from 2003.


Tables 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 (ScotRail figures) and 7.4 to 7.8 were supplied by the Office of Rail and Road, which produced the numbers of passenger journeys, and the associated revenue, from information held in the LENNON database. This records the number of tickets, and the associated revenue, for journeys between every pair of railway stations in Great Britain, and other information, such as estimates (which are sent to it by ScotRail) of the numbers of rail journeys which were made by holders of SPT's multi-modal Zonecard - for further details, please see the notes and definitions in Section 3. As indicated earlier, the ORR provided revised figures for 2003-04 and earlier years for Tables 7.1, 7.2 and H1. Some of the other tables include figures for 2003-04 and earlier years which appeared in previous editions, having been supplied by the former Strategic Rail Authority, which derived them in a similar way. Table 7.6 in the 2012 publication is taken from the ORR National Rail Statistics, regional usage chapter. Note that the table showing travel between Local Authorities included in previous versions of STS has not been included in this publication as the methodology used to allocate journeys is being investigated. An updated version of the table will be included on the website in due course.

The SPT figures in Table 7.17, were compiled from information provided by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

The rail punctuality (Public Performance Measure) figures in Table 7.9 and 7.10 were provided by the ORR. The punctuality of trains is generally recorded using automated monitoring systems, which log performance using the signalling equipment.

The rail passenger satisfaction survey figures in Table 7.11 were provided by Transport Focus. The survey is conducted by distributing self-completion questionnaires, with reply-paid envelopes, to about 700 stations across GB, which are selected to be representative of the entire network, including about 50 stations in Scotland. A few shifts are also conducted on train. The questionnaires are distributed at different times of the day and across different days of the week. There are two survey periods per year: Spring and Autumn. The overall response rate is about 31%. The data are weighted to represent the passengers using each operator's services. Data is weighted by journey purpose, station size and by weekend/weekday. Transport Focus publishes the results of the Spring and Autumn surveys separately, but has combined them for publication here, in order to provide annual figures.

Tables 7.12 and 7.13: the figures for 1996-97 and later years were prepared from information supplied by the rail freight companies.

Tables 7.14, 7.15 and 7.16 were compiled from information supplied by Network Rail.

Tables 7.18 and 7.19: figures for these tables were previously obtained from Office of Rail and Road. We have now changed the source to the RSSB to improve consistency with other official statistics.

Further information

Within Scottish Transport Statistics, further information can be found in:

  • Chapter 11 – Personal Travel chapter (including travel to work)

Other Transport Scotland Publications:

Transport and Travel in Scotland – includes more detailed analysis of SHS data, in particular:

  • Table 28 - Frequency of bus and train use
  • Tables 29 and 30 - Views on local buses and trains

Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary, published as part of Transport and Travel in Scotland – includes detailed tables using the Travel Diary dataset, in particular:

  • Table 2 – journeys by mode of transport
  • Table 2a – journey distance by mode of transport
  • Table 4a – mode of transport by journey distance
  • Table 5a – distance summary statistics by mode of transport

SHS Local Authority Results, published as part of Transport and Travel in Scotland – provide breakdowns of SHS data by Local Authority, Regional Transport Partnership and Urban Rural Classification. In particular:

  • Table 16 – Proportion of journeys by mode of transport

The Department for Transport produces a number of related publications:

The Office of Rail and Road also produce a number of related publications:

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