Spiraling petrol prices have boosted train travel, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).
ATOC says a 4.8% increase in passenger numbers is down in part to the rising cost of road fuel. The new increase means that growth over the past 12 months to March was 6.6%.
The statistics reveal that 316 million journeys were made in the first three months of 2011 – compared with 301 million a year earlier.
Journeys in London and the South East grew by 4.7%, long distance journeys by 4.1% and regional journeys by 5.2%.
The increase in rail travel comes as pressure mounts on petrol retailers to cut the cost of fuel at the pumps after oil prices plummeted on the world market.
Brent Crude has fallen from $126 (£77) a barrel at the end of last month to just below $110 when trading closed on Friday.
Average, petrol prices have risen at around twice the rate of rail fares over the last 12 months. Compared with April last year, petrol is up by an average of 13%.
The ATOC research revealed that one in six rail users said that they have switched from car to train for at least one journey during February and March this year, with around half saying the change was down to the price of petrol.