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Freight worth £1.6bn to economy


RDG report says rail freight volumes have grown by over 80% since 1995

Rail freight brings economic benefits worth an estimated £1.6 billion annually to the UK economy, according to a report released by the Rail Delivery Group.

Of this amount, £1.1 billion is attributed to direct productivity benefits and the remainder to road externalities, including reduced congestion and the wider environmental and safety benefits. RDG’s report says that each freight train removes up to 76 lorries from the roads, resulting in 1.6 billion fewer HGV kilometres every year, and that each tonne of freight transferred by rail rather than by road cuts CO2 emissions by 76%.

The total volume of rail freight transported has grown from 13.5 billion net tonne kilometres in 1995 to 24.4 billion net tonne kilometres in 2013-14, an increase of over 80%.

Since 2003, the number of freight trains has fallen by 30% but the number of freight tonnes lifted has increased by 30%, resulting in an increase in tonnes per train of over 80%.

RDG’s report concludes that ‘the rail freight sector wants to build on its success and forecasts suggest that the benefits of rail freight to the UK economy could rise to nearly £2 billion per year by 2023’.

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