At Network Rail we’re committed to working with our customers and potential customers to get more freight on the railway.

Our Freight and National Passengers team champions freight across the country and works to identify capacity for new traffic on the network.

Through innovative solutions such as multiple occupancy campus sites in key urban areas to Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFI) we’re connecting more UK businesses than ever to the rail network. We’re also investing in our infrastructure to make rail freight faster and more reliable for our customers.

Freight Growth in Scotland

In Scotland we’ve launched an ambitious plan to grow the amount freight on the rail network by 2024. A target of 7.5% growth was set by the Scottish Government in the High Level Output Specification, published in March 2018, which sets out the funding available for the railway between 2019 and 2024.

The plan, which was developed by the wider industry sets out what is required to support rail freight growth as well as looking at improving the average speed a freight train can travel that and increasing reliability meaning that more trains reach their destination on time.

There are over 600 freight trains running on the UK network every single day with around 50 of these trains running in Scotland delivering goods 24 hours of the day. Over 4 million tonnes of product was transported by rail in the last 12 months, travelling over 1,155,000 thousand net tonne miles.

Related downloads

Growth forecasting

Network Rail works with industry partners to establish long-term forecasts of market growth for the rail freight sector. These provide us with an informed picture of potential future demand, so that we can continue working to improve our network to ensure it will be capable of meeting that demand.

Rail freight forecasts: Scenarios for 2023/24, 2033/34 and 2043/44

We have consulted with the wider industry on our freight growth forecasts to 2023/2024, 2033/34 & 2043/44. We know that since we published the Freight Market Study in 2013 there have been a number of market shifts that have meant that growth has not followed the forecast trajectories.

Network Rail therefore commissioned this refreshed set of forecasts to take account of the changes in the wider economic and policy context that have taken place since 2013 and to assess how these have affected rail freight market growth.

These forecasts were produced by MDS Transmodal in two stages and are presented in the form of a report detailing the 2023/24 forecasts and a report detailing the 2033/34 & 2043/44 forecasts, both of which can be viewed below.

These were developed in conjunction with the Freight Operating Companies, the Rail Freight Group, the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport. This refreshed set of forecasts for 2023/24, 2033/34 & 2043/44 supersedes the forecasts that were made in the 2013 Freight Market Study and is established as the main projection of freight market demand that we will use to inform our strategic planning work.

2023/24, 2033/34 and 2043/44 forecasts

Rail freight forecasts: scenarios for 2033/34 and 2043/44
3 MB
Final report, July 2019
Rail freight forecasts: scenarios for 2023/24
6 MB
Final report, May 2018