The demand for goods out of season, rapid delivery and specialist produce is helping to fill 80 more freight trains per week compared to this time last year, according to research from Network Rail.
This demand has been steadily increasing over the past decade, with a 75 per cent uplift in the volume of consumer goods travelling by train since 2005.
Freight trains are covering an extra 20,000 miles each month compared to the same time last year and more than 600,000 miles in total.
Network Rail’s director of freight, Paul McMahon, said: “We’re continuing to work on increasing capacity for more freight trains, making the network more efficient to allow longer trains to carry more containers, and importantly separating flows of passenger and freight traffic – and our Railway Upgrade Plan is helping to make this all possible.”
The Rail Delivery Group, which includes the train operating companies, reckons that the rail freight industry is now adding over £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy and this is predicted to rise to £2 billion in 2023 with continued investment.