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Latest annual rail freight figures demonstrates rail's key role in infrastructure  and housing markets, say campaigners.

Campaign for Better Transport responds to the latest annual Office of Rail and Road (ORR) rail freight statistics.

The statistics, issued today, show that sustained expansion in construction traffic (up 1.5 per cent), which increased in each quarter, demonstrates the rail industry's key role in building our infrastructure and housing.

The consumer (intermodal) market has decreased marginally (1.4 per cent) but is effectively holding its own and now makes up 40 per cent of rail freight. As the ORR pointed out, all freight transport was adversely affected by the bad weather in March.   

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

“Each aggregates train can remove up to 136 large HGV from our roads showing rail freight’s crucial role in transporting construction materials in a safer, cleaner way which reduces road congestion and road damage."

She added:

“Almost 50 per cent of London's aggregates are now brought into London by rail with large amounts of industrial waste then being removed by rail. Rail freight is tried and tested with demand for more rail services, as the planning permission in February for a new rail freight terminal at Cricklewood, North London shows. 

“Without this terminal part of the £4.5 billion Brent Cross housing regeneration, might not be viable as all these construction materials would have to be delivered by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with all the associated congestion, pollution and safety impacts.”


Notes to Editors

  • Read the Office of Rail and Road annual rail freight statistics
  • International traffic increased by 12.7 per cent as it recovers after external pressures. Coal traffic decreased by 12.7 per cent as did metals (5.4 per cent) and oil & petroleum (5 per cent).
  • CrossRail used rail to bring in construction materials and remove industrial waste. Similarly, rail was used during the construction of the Olympics.
  • Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show that HGVs are almost seven 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
  • 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).

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