Freight Growth

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.

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.

Network Rail’s proposed CP6 rail freight growth forecast

We have consulted with the wider industry on our freight growth predictions to 2023/2024. 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.

Network Rail’s proposed 2033 and 2043 rail freight growth forecasts

We are consulting with the wider industry on our freight market growth forecasts to 2033/2034 and 2043/2044. The draft report that has been produced by MDS Transmodal for Network Rail can be found here along with a summary letter. This has been developed in conjunction with the Freight Operating Companies, the Rail Freight Group, the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport.