Rail freight operators have given up 4,702 of their reserved slots on the rail network – about half their total allocation – to free up more capacity for other passenger and freight services.
Network Rail, which has been working with operators on the scheme, said there would not be any reduction in the number of freight trains running. The spare capacity was down to a number of factors: the unprecedented decline in coal traffic; a dip in iron and steel, longer and fuller freight trains; and better productivity in freight operations.
Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s managing director for freight and national passenger operators said: “It is important the whole rail industry works together to make best use of existing capacity, to minimise the need for additional expensive capacity enhancement schemes.”
4,702 unused freight paths have now been relinquished by Freight Operating Companies, of which 3,684 have been completely removed from the timetable
There are currently 4,967 freight paths in the Working Time Table. Around 20 per cent of these were unused in the last quarter, the lowest value ever recorded.