Each year, rail freight plays a huge role in Christmas celebrations up and down the country.

Between October and December, Britain's freight logistics companies move an extra 5,000 containers according to David Turner, director of Malcolm Logistics.

This equates to 100,000 tonnes of product moved by rail between England and Scotland and requires an extra nine round-trip trains a week. On a typical day outside this period, 600 freight trains run on the network.

The growing freight industry contributes to a better environment for Britain all year round – each freight train removes up to 76 heavy goods vehicles from our roads, according to a report by Rail Delivery Group, Rail Freight: Working for Britain. That's 1.66 billion fewer HGV kilometres a year. Freight trains also shorten many road journeys by delivering goods to a central logistics terminal.

So what’s inside?

Third party logistics provider Russell Logistics breaks down its festive cargo. Between October and December, it expects to move:

  • 13.5m bottles of spirits from Scotland to England
  • 850,000 selection boxes from England to Scotland
  • 30 trailer loads of toys from Germany to the UK
  • 2.6m bottles of cognac from France to Scotland
  • 350,000 bottles of wine from France to Scotland
  • 5.3m bottles of spirits from Scotland to France

It's not just good news for consumers – RDG's report said the rail freight network created more than £1.7bn of economic benefits to the country in 2016.

The figure comprises almost £1.2bn of productivity gains for businesses using rail freight instead of the roads, and more than £500m of benefits by cutting road congestion, road accidents, carbon emissions and improving the quality of air.

Merry Christmas!

Find out more about rail freight