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Latest annual rail freight figures show potential for further growth

8 June 2017

The latest annual Office of Rail and Road (ORR) rail freight statistics, issued today, show consistent expansion in the key consumer and construction rail freight markets with record levels of traffic, demonstrating the potential and demand for rail freight services. 

Construction traffic increased by seven per cent and consumer traffic by six per cent in 20016/7, increasing each quarter, compared to the previous year. The final quarter figures show nine per cent consumer and 11 per cent construction traffic increases compared to the same quarter in the previous year. 

This year has been a period of transition for the industry as it adjusts to the deep decline in coal traffic. 

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Rail freight is the safer cleaner way to transport freight which reduces road congestion and improves productivity; furthermore, it can help the Government meet its challenging targets to reduce air pollution as it produces 90 per cent less PM10 particulates and up to 15 times less nitrogen dioxide emissions than HGVs for the equivalent journey.

“Given these socio-economic benefits, the Government must set affordable charges and continue to upgrade the rail freight network to cater for the suppressed demand for consumer and bulk services.”


For further information please contact Philippa Edmunds on 020 8241 9982 / 07593 976 548 or Philippa@freightonrail.org.uk or philippaedmunds@blueyonder.co.uk

Notes to Editors 

  1. Both construction and consumer traffic recorded the highest freight moved since the start of their time series in 1998-99 with 4.25 and 6.81 billion net kilometres respectively. Both commodities have increased. http://www.orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/24892/freight-rail-usage-2016-17-quarter-4.pdf
  2. Latest DfT statistics show that HGVs are almost 6 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. HGVs account for around 21 per cent of road transport NOx emissions while making up just 5% of vehicle miles. Source DfT Freight Carbon Review February 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/freight-carbon-review-2017
  4. Freight on Rail is a partnership between Campaign for Better Transport, the rail freight industry and transport trade unions.
  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).