Homesick students in travel rush, say rail companies

Liverpool Lime St station
Image captionJourneys from Liverpool were up 52% on the usual weekly average

Homesickness among students peaks in the third week of October, Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) research suggests.

Of some 1.7 million journeys made across the entire rail network during this week last year, more than 337,000 were made on 16-25 Railcards – 13% higher than the usual weekly average.

And for railcard journeys originating in university towns, the figure was 28% higher than the usual weekly average.

The only busier period was Christmas.

The five top cities from which 16- to 25-year-olds were travelling in the third working week of October last year were:

  • Exeter with 64% more journeys than the usual weekly average
  • Durham up 61%
  • Liverpool up 52%
  • Bristol up 45%
  • Birmingham up 42%
Student with washingImage copyrightATOC
Image captionThe promise of getting washing done can lure students home, rail companies say

With freshers’ week already a blurred memory and the workload starting to build, many decide it is time to head home, the data suggests.

“It’s interesting to see such a clear spike in Railcard journeys in October,” said Andrew Robertson, of Atoc.

“Going to university for the first time can be an exciting but daunting experience for young adults. And our research indicates that for many, the reality of living away from parents can really kick in after just a few weeks.”

Mr Robertson suggested that budget constraints, a lack of home-cooked food or maybe even running out of clean clothes could spark a yearning in students for the comfort of their teenage bedroom.

“A trip home seems to be just what students need to recharge the batteries after a few hectic weeks at university,” he said.

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