Russel freight train within dramatic grey sky

Rail freight

Rail freight is vital to Britain’s economic success. It contributes £1.7bn to the economy and plays a big part in reducing congestion and carbon emissions

Freight train aggregate yard

Britain relies on the railway

Rail freight is a success story. Whether it is taking lorries off the roads and drastically reducing congestion or transporting goods that we consume every day, Britain relies on rail freight to provide a faster, greener, safer and more efficient way of transporting goods than roads.

The rail freight industry secured over £1.7bn of economic benefits for Britain. Benefits that are being felt right across the country.

It is an indispensable part of the British economy, and an essential component in supporting economic recovery and long-term sustainable growth.

Strategic Freight Network

We are enhancing the network to carry more freight traffic and make rail freight more competitive with other modes by increasing its efficiency. These schemes are branded as the Strategic Freight Network (SFN).

See our map of SFN completed schemes (PDF, 810 KB)

Enhanced (W10) loading gauge map of the network (PDF, 3 MB)

Key facts

  • Rail freight carries more than £30bn of goods around Britain each year
  • Each freight train takes about 76 HGVs off the roads.
  • This translates to 1.66 billion fewer HGV kilometres a year

Network Rail’s proposed CP6 rail freight growth forecast

We have consulted with the wider industry on our freight growth predictions to 2013/2024. 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 assumed trajectories. Details of the report that was produced for Network Rail by MDS Transmodal can be found here along with a summary letter.  This has been developed in conjunction with our Freight Operating Companies, Rail Freight Group and Department for Transport.