Proud to power Freight Britain
With partners across the sector, we’re working harder than ever to deliver better, faster, stronger services to support Britain’s economy and the decarbonisation of transport and supply chains.
Rail freight contributes £2.45bn to the UK economy each year1
Rail freight powered through the pandemic, keeping supermarkets stocked, builders building and medicine moving. Now, rail freight is growing and evolving, fast. Businesses are making the switch from road (and air) to rail to keep their supply chains moving forward, sustainably and efficiently.
For many, the occasional glimpse of a freight train at a railway crossing is the only time they see rail freight. Yet it impacts on our lives in more ways than we realise. So, we’d like to tell you the full story behind Britain’s rail freight and our role within it.
Animation: Why Britain relies on rail freight
Did you know?
A single freight train can replace up to a mile of lorries on a stretch of motorway.
A greener future with rail freight
To hit national decarbonisation targets and achieve net-zero, we must all invest in rail freight. That’s why the government is backing the shift of freight from road to rail – even offering funding for businesses to make the switch through Mode Shift grants2.
It’s been well publicised that each freight train removes 76 lorries from our roads, which could result in around 1 billion fewer Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) miles every year3.
But it’s not a case of road vs rail
The greenest supply chains use the best transport option for each stage. On land, rail is the most sustainable option for doing more of the long distance, heavy lifting, while lorries and vans – ideally, electric vehicles – are best placed to cover the last mile (or even the last 10 or 20 miles).
Rail freight operates around the clock. Its circular flows pass through large areas of Britain, carrying essential imports and exports and supplying our most important industries.
Contact the Freight team
We have a dedicated team of freight experts who work in partnership with the rail industry to help grow freight safely and reliably on the railway.
- To gain access to the network – arrange temporary paths and longer-term access or to find rail freight sites for development. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you’d like to book rail freight services, you can find details of the Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) and third-party operators on our Move my freight by rail page.
- For media enquiries about rail freight contact our media team.
- Deloitte (2021) “Assessing the Value of Rail Freight”, a report for the Rail Delivery Group.
- Department for transport delivers more grant funding to transport freight by rail
- Rail Freight Group: Why use rail freight?