UK Rail Freight Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

The amount of freight moved across Britain’s railway has returned to pre-pandemic levels according to new statistics from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Freightliner moving freight across Britain's railway
Freightliner moving freight across Britain’s railway

Figures show that between April to June 2021 a total of 4.33 billion net tonne-kilometres of rail freight was moved across the network.

This is an increase of 36.5 percent on the same quarter last year, and an increase of 1.3 percent compared with the same quarter two years ago.

The ORR’s stats also show rail freight continued to have a punctuality figure above 90 percent, despite a drop in performance compared to the same quarter in the last two years.

Freight operators also experienced 8.27 minutes of delay per 100 train kilometres in these latest figures. This was 52.8 percent higher than the same quarter a year earlier, and three percent higher than the same quarter two years ago.

Statistics show that construction products were moved the most, due to high levels of demand for aggregates to fulfil the start of HS2 work, while domestic intermodal, which includes the transporting of goods to and from Britain’s ports, had the largest share of freight moved, at 37.9 percent.

Coal continued its downward trend, reducing by 65.2 percent compared to two years previously.

The ORR also found that freight lifted increased by nearly five million tonnes over the last year.

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