Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our office is currently closed. We are still operating but at a reduced capacity. Please do not phone us, instead you can contact us here. Thank you for your understanding; we wish you all the best at this difficult time.

Latest quarterly rail freight figures shows importance of rail in construction & housing markets, say campaigners

28 September 2017

The latest quarterly Office of Rail and Road (ORR) rail freight statistics [1] issued today, 28 September, show expansion in the construction (2 per cent) and metals (3 per cent) markets which demonstrates the industry’s importance in the infrastructure, industrial and housing markets. 

Consumer traffic has decreased marginally (1 per cent) but is effectively holding its own while international traffic (14 per cent) is recovering, after external pressures. Overall, the industry continues to adjust to the deep decline in coal traffic.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“Rail freight has a key role in servicing industry in a safer [2] cleaner way which reduces road congestion and improves productivity; each aggregates train can carry enough materials to build 30 houses.

“Rail freight can help alleviate the Government’s air quality problem as it produces 90 per cent less PM10 particulates and up to 15 times less nitrogen dioxide emissions than HGVs for the equivalent journey [3].  The latest Highways England Air Quality Strategy figures show that HGVs contribute 38 per cent of transport’s nitrogen dioxide emissions close to the motorway network, even though lorries only account for 5 per cent of vehicle miles over all and around 11 per cent on motorways.” [4]

Philippa added:

“Given these socio-economic benefits, the Government must set affordable charges in its current ORR review otherwise trainloads of freight will return to our congested roads.”


For further information please contact Richard Watkins on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors 

[1] Read the latest Rail freight Statistics issued by ORR here

[2] DfT statistics show that HGVs are almost six times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on local road. Source: Traffic statistics table TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT Issued September 2016

[3] Source Network Rail Value of Freight July 2010.

[4] Read Highways England air quality strategy 2nd August 2017 here

[5] Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).