Coal traffic declines - but underlying trend is up

The continued decline in coal traffic led to a 3% drop in the volume of freight carried on Britain’s railways between July and September 2019 (Q2, 2019-20), compared with the corresponding three-month period in 2018-19.

However, other traffic is increasing, according to figures published by the Office of Rail and Road on December 17.

Coal volumes fell by 69% compared with Q2 2018-19, to 0.08bn net tonne-kilometres. Coal accounted for just 2% of the overall freight moved in the quarter, whereas as recently as Q2 2013-14, it accounted for 35% of freight moved.

But construction (up 4%) and domestic intermodal (up 2%) increased to their highest levels since 1998-99 and now account for 70% of rail freight moved.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 895, published January 2, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from December 28.

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