Passenger numbers on the railways grew by 5.3 per cent% over the summer months according to figures published by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).
They confirm that the railways are set for their busiest peacetime year since the 1920s with well over 1.3bn journeys expected to have been made by train by the end of 2011.
According to ATOC, one of the reasons behind the rise in rail travel is the continuing high price of petrol, leading more leisure travellers to switch from road to rail when taking summer breaks or day trips out with the family.
Increasing numbers of people are taking advantage of operators offering cheap Advance tickets for those who book early. Sales of these tickets have almost doubled in the last four years, with almost a million now bought every week.
Separate figures from ATOC show a surge in the number of people choosing to visit seaside resorts and beauty spots by rail, with passenger numbers on some small rural branch lines almost doubling over the last few years.
Overall, petrol prices rose slightly during the quarter. In September prices remained 18% higher than in the same month last year. This compares with an average rise in rail fares of 6.2% in January. The AA has calculated that drivers have cut their petrol consumption by more than 15% since the start of the recession.