Travel by rail is close to eclipsing air traffic on some UK domestic routes, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), which has reported a “fundamental shift” in journey patterns in the past four years.

Rail’s share of traffic between London and Manchester hit 85% in June compared with 61% four years ago, while that between London and Newcastle was 64% – up from 50% in 2006.

Atoc also reported a sharp increase in travel by rail between Birmingham and Edinburgh – up from 10% to 31% – Glasgow and London (up from 10% to 21%), and Glasgow and Birmingham (a rise from 15% to 27%).

The association attributed the growth to a combination of improved rail services and passengers’ disenchantment with airports, and predicted flying between some cities would cease.

Atoc corporate affairs director Edward Welsh said: “It is clear a fundamental shift in the way people get around the country is talking place.”