Research for the Rail Delivery Group, carried out by WPI economics, says people who travelled by rail for leisure spent a total of £46 billion a year on businesses like shops, restaurants, and hotels before the pandemic.
Passenger spend, it says, averages at about £107 per trip.
According to the report, the biggest spend is £15 billion on food and drink (about £33 per trip). This is followed by £12 billion on shopping (£31 per trip), £10 billion on accommodation (£21 per trip) and £5 billion (£12 per trip) on entertainment and culture.
Almost four in ten (39 per cent) surveyed said they spent half or more of their money with local independent businesses.
To help, train companies are offering 12 people the chance to win free travel for a year as part of a ‘golden ticket giveaway’, with bespoke tickets designed by artist Claire Rollet.
CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association, Andrew Goodacre, said: “Independent retailers have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and right now they are working hard to rebuild their businesses and consumer confidence. Making the high street safe, sustainable, and accessible is our top priority.
“With a return to rail, independent shops far and wide will be more accessible – and trips more sustainable – than ever.”
Chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, Jacqueline Starr, said: “We’re looking forward to connecting more customers with the people and places they love this summer, whether that’s a seaside trip with family, a night out with friends or a solo shopping spree.
“By taking those trips by train, it’s more than just a journey, it’s a boost for businesses that have struggled throughout the pandemic and a step towards a cleaner environment.”