UK: Government Aims to Grow Rail Freight by 75%

The UK Government has announced it aims to grow the use of rail freight in the country by at least 75% by 2050.

The announcement, which was made by Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, commits to a greater use of freight in the transportation of goods across the UK, including food, building materials and more.

A series of freight carriages waiting at a station
The announcement delivers on the Transport Secretary’s commitment to move more goods by rail while growing the economy and improving the environment

With a target of 2050, the Government hopes to boost economic growth delivered by freight, supporting supply chains and providing thousands of new jobs for the sector, as well as cutting emissions and congestion.

Earlier this year, Transport Secretary Harper outlined plans to modernise rail in the UK, with a renewed focus on freight intended to encourage further private sector investment in projects for the industry.

Mark Harper said:

“Rail freight helps keeps this country moving, ensuring our supermarket shelves are stocked and materials are supplied to our construction workers.

“Not only is it the most efficient and environmentally friendly way of transporting many goods, but it helps grow the economy across the country.

“This ambitious plan demonstrates this Government’s confidence in the rail freight sector, and I hope it encourages businesses to capitalise on the extra opportunities, so the industry continues to thrive and deliver for our country.”

The Rail Freight Growth Target forms part of the Government’s continued efforts to improve the long-term capacity of the country’s rail freight infrastructure, with a large amount of funding redirected from HS2 toward the network’s overhaul.

The Government also recently announced the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement scheme, which is backed by roughly 550 million GBP and will see an extra six freight trains travelling to and from the Port of Felixstowe daily.

Network Rail freight director Henry Bates said:

“Rail freight has a key role to play in Britain’s economic and environmental wellbeing, keeping supermarkets stocked, builders building and medicine moving. We want to see more freight on rail and having a Government supported, long-term target will support the sector’s ambition to grow and attract investment.”

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