The volume of freight carried by rail rose by 3% in the first quarter of 2018-19 (April-June, Q1 2018-19), compared with the corresponding three-month period last year.
Figures released by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on September 27 reveal that the amount of coal carried increased by 7% in the period. This was the joint highest alongside construction.
ORR said that volumes increased for four of the seven freight commodities (coal, construction, domestic intermodal and other), with construction now accounting for more than a quarter of all freight moved. It increased by 80 million net tonne kilometres to 1.16 billion net tonne kilometres compared with Q1 2017-18, and is the highest figure in the construction sector since the time series began in Q11998-99.
Oil and petroleum dropped 2% to 0.26bn net tonne kms, while international traffic dropped 1% to 0.11bn net tonne kms.
The total amount of freight lifted rose 2% to 19.1 million tonnes. Although this was an increase on the same period last year, it was still the second lowest total for Q1 since the start of the series in 1996-97.
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