Schotland GB Railfreight train

Scottish rail freight community sets plan for growth

The Scottish freight community has launched a joint strategy to grow the amount of freight on the rails, as part of plans to meet a target of 7.5 percent growth set by the Scottish Government last year.

Network Rail, Freight Operating Companies, freight users, industry bodies and hauliers came together to build the ambitious plan, which sets out what is required to support rail freight growth. In addition, it aims at improving the average speed of freight trains and the reliability of rail.

Freight industry

Moving goods by rail boosts productivity and brings in around 200 million British pounds (around 234 Euros) in benefits to Scotland’s economy. There are over 600 freight trains running on Great Britain’s network every single day, with around 50 of these trains running in Scotland delivering goods 24 hours a day. Over 4 million tonnes of cargo was transported by rail in the last twelve months.

Rail freight also boasts significant environmental benefits and as part of this plan the rail freight industry commits to work in partnership to transfer at least 1,700 lorry movements a year from Scotland’s road network to rail over the next five years. Each tonne of freight transported by rail reduces carbon emissions by 7 percent compared to road and each freight train removes between 25 and 62 HGVs from Scottish roads.


Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We are working closely with our rail freight operators to grow freight traffic on Scotland’s railway over the next five years. There are individual businesses and whole industry sectors which could benefit hugely from making rail freight part of their logistics mix and we will be working hard to encourage them onto our network.”

Paul McMahon, managing director of Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail, added: “Our freight customers are a vital part of Scotland’s railways and the Scottish economy. Scottish growth also needs to be considered as part of our GB-wide network as this will make sure that the required capacity and capability exists both north and south of the border.”

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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