Railfreight rises by 3% – but still at record low levels

OFFICE of Rail and Road (ORR) statistics show the volume of freight carried by rail in the UK rose by 3% in April-June when compared with the corresponding three-month period last year.

The total amount of freight lifted rose by 2% to 19.1 million tonnes compared to 2017/18, but it was still the second lowest total for Q1 since records began in 1996/97.

In glorious autumnal sunshine, GBRf’s No. 66789 British Rail 1948-96 shunts ex-DB Cargo HTA coal hoppers, now being used for limestone traffic, at Peak Forest, as No. 66787 waits with a train of DBC bogie box wagons. DRS No. 37716 completes a colourful line-up at the busy location on September 25. GBRf now handles much of the limestone traffic from Peak Forest after winning the Cemex contract from DBC earlier this year. TOM MCATEE

Volumes increased for four of the seven freight commodities measured – coal, construction, domestic intermodal and ‘other’ – with construction now accounting for more than 25% of all UK railfreight. It increased by 80 million net tonnes per kilometre to 1.16 billion net t/km – the highest for the construction sector since 1998/99.

Interestingly, coal traffic matched the construction sector, rising by 7% during the period and bucking the trend of long-term decline. Oil and petroleum dropped by 2% to 0.26bn net t/km, while international traffic declined 1% to just 0.11bn net t/km.

Read more in the November issue of The RM – on sale now!

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