Britain sees 18% drop in rail freight

26 Nov 2015

The UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its latest statistics on rail freight usage in Great Britain, indicating a significant drop in the amount of cargo carried.

The figures show that 21.1 million tonnes of rail freight was lifted on the network between July and September, a decrease of 18.4% compared with the same period last year. According to the ORR, the reduction was largely caused by a drop in the amount of coal lifted, down 48.9% to 4.6 million tonnes from 9 million tonnes in the same quarter last year.

Responding to the latest freight statistics, Maggie Simpson, executive director of the Rail Freight Group, said: “This has been a difficult year for rail freight, with coal traffic falling away and other sectors such as steel and international also beset by problems.

“Yet increases in construction traffic and continued good performance in intermodal shows that the sector is delivering well for its customers, and we should be confident of continued growth in these markets in future.”

Freight usage data is judged to provide a useful barometer of economic activity and is closely linked to other industries, such as manufacturing and imports and exports.