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Latest quarterly rail freight figures show record growth in key consumer and construction markets.

The latest quarterly ORR rail freight statistics 1, issued today, show continued record expansion in the two main rail freight markets of construction (up 1.3 per cent) and consumer (intermodal) traffic (up 1.72 per cent).

Furthermore, so-called other traffic, which includes biomass and mail, was up 23 per cent and international was up 10 per cent which shows that the latter 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, “Rail freight has a key role in servicing industry in a safer 2 cleaner 3 way which reduces road congestion and improves productivity.

New research 4 shows that transferring a further 2,000 lorry loads a day to rail, where there is a parallel rail route, such as the A34, M6 and A14, could reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by 10 per cent and particulates by 7 per cent on each corridor if the Government upgraded the rail network.”

She continued, “HGVs account for around 21% of road transport nitrogen dioxide emissions while making up just 5% of vehicle miles 5 so instead of building yet more roads, priority should be given to upgrading the rail freight network to reduce air pollution, congestion and collisions 6.”

Notes to Editors

  1. 1 Latest Rail freight Statistics issued by ORR for quarter 2 2017/2018

  2. DfT statistics show that HGVs are almost 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

  3. Rail produces 90 per cent less PM10 particulates and up to 15 times less nitrogen dioxide emissions than HGVs for the equivalent journey.


  5. DfT Freight Carbon Review February 2017

  6. Highways England’s air quality strategy of August 2017 stated that HGVs contribute 38% of Transport’s nitrogen dioxide emissions close to motorway network and yet it is building an additional over 1,300 additional lane miles between 2015 and 2020

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