by Keri Allan
14 Jun 2021
Network Rail says that more freight is now being transported across one of its busiest business regions than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent figures for the Eastern Region, which includes the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the North East, as well as the East Coast Main Line from London to Scotland, shows 4,839 freight train movements in the latest reporting period, compared to 4,760 in the corresponding period for last year.
With each freight train taking on average 76 HGVs off the roads, this increase equates to around 6,000 fewer road journeys during that particular four-week period.
The rising demand for rail freight across various industries has led to a number of positive developments in recent months.
This includes waste management specialists Biffa sending 350,000 tonnes of waste a year from a new facility to landfill by rail, while Ward Recycling are close to signing a deal to replace the 4,000 tonnes of domestic scrap metal previously taken from Stanton Gate in Derbyshire to Immingham by 200 lorries a week with a rail freight service.
In addition, the Sunderland Docks branch scrap metal service has re-opened due to rising demand, and disused rail marshalling yard at Tinsley, Yorkshire, is being redeveloped by Newell and Wright Transport into a fully functional intermodal cargo terminal.
“The figures, and these important recent developments, highlight the vital role that freight has played in the country's response to the Covid pandemic and how important it is to the recovery of the economy.
“We've seen an increase in demand across the iron and steel sectors and are working closely with the freight operators and the wider rail industry to make sure materials can be transported to where they're needed. Reopening routes, expanding services and gaining new freight end customers, as well as running longer, heavier trains, is helping to get more HGV's off the road and more freight onto the railway.”
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