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Resurgence of Welsh rail freight  

Better ‘slate’ than never – we have begun transporting North Welsh slate to Luton, England, via rail for the first time ever.

We have worked with Welsh Government and Breedon Group to make slate rail freight transport possible. Our teams were able to reopen Llandudno Junction freight yard to begin moving freight thanks to this joint initiative.  

The freight yard hadn’t been used for several years, so our Shrewsbury delivery unit colleagues worked tirelessly to get the yard into working order and get freight moving. We carried out vegetation management and relentless testing to ensure the track was fit for freight.  

We also had to carry out track renewals and even replace a defective crossing – which allows trains to move to different sections of track – following our testing.  

The first freight train to leave Llandudno Junction freight yard departed in July. It carried 22 wagons filled with slate aggregate from local quarries for the journey to Luton in south-east England. We expect that 250,000 tonnes of slate aggregate will be moved from this freight yard each year.  

Benefits of freight:  

The benefits of freight surpass simply the transportation of supplies and goods across Britain.  

Each freight train removes approximately 76 lorries from the roads, reducing carbon emissions and congestion. Freight even contributes to making the air that we breathe cleaner.  

Freight hugely benefits the economy with £30bn of goods transported each year on the railway. It also provides employment and opportunities for local businesses and helps sustainable economic growth.  

Freight in Wales:  

Freight has made a recent resurgence in Wales. We reintroduced timber freight back into Wales with services going between North and South Wales, as well as Devon to South Wales, for the first time in more than 10 years.  

One service hauled 700 tonnes through the Snowdonia mountain range. Another service carried 320 tonnes over 92 miles from Newton Abbot to Abergavenny. Nearly a tonne of CO2 was saved by these trips by removing lorries from the road.

We are working to enable more freight traffic in Wales and are currently supporting the proposals for the new log traffic flow at Aberystwyth, mid Wales, and stone traffic from Rhyl sidings, North Wales. We will provide a large section of our maintenance yards to facilitate future freight schemes.  


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