Freight volumes drop again

OFFICE of Rail and Road (ORR) statistics highlight another drop in the volume of UK railfreight traffic in the first quarter of 2017/18.

A total of 18.7 million tonnes was lifted by the seven freight-operating companies active on the British network in Q1, a drop of 3% over the same period in 2016/17. The total was also the lowest since the current series of records started in 1996/97.

Freight traffic on Britain’s railways has dropped again in the first quarter of 2017/18. One flow that looks unlikely to continue is Scottish oil traffic to Fort William and Lairg. On August 6, No. 56302 waits in the oil sidings at ‘The Fort’ with its train from Grangemouth. JORDAN KEARNEY

Freight train kilometres also fell by 2%, to eight million, the lowest since 2010/11. DB Cargo and Freightliner Heavy Haul recorded their lowest totals since ORR records began (3.6m km and 0.5m km, respectively), with DBC losing 5% and FHH traffic kilometres dropping by 20%.

However, Freightliner Intermodal and GB Railfreight increased their totals by 3% and 7%, respectively.

Freightliner Intermodal and DB Cargo account for just over 70% of British freight kilometres in the period reported.

Domestic intermodal traffic dropped by 1%, with petrochemicals down by 5% and coal by 4%, but metals volumes were up by 3%, and construction increased by 2% over last year.

Delays to freight trains also increased by 3% over last year, rising to 10 minutes per 100 train kilometres.

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