Freight train leaving Drax Power Station

Rail Partners responds to ORR freight usage and performance statistics

In response to the Office of Rail and Road’s freight usage and performance statistics, John Thomas, Rail Partners’ Director of Policy said:

‘The latest Office of Rail and Road’s rail freight usage data demonstrates the impact of industrial action on freight services, in the run-up to Christmas. Autumn is normally the busiest period for the rail freight sector, but in 2022 usage was nine percent lower compared to the previous year – with volumes at their lowest since the data set was introduced in 1998.

‘The good news is now industrial action has come to an end on the Network Rail side, the freight sector can now return its focus to growth. Rail Partners is calling on government to set an ambitious target to treble freight by 2050 which will help to keep the UK on track to achieve its net zero commitments.

‘We also welcome the news this week that Britain is developing its first ‘Rail to Zero’ carbon capture rail corridor – which is just one of the new markets that rail freight is well-placed to serve.’

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Notes to editors

About Rail Partners

Rail Partners exists to make the railway better by harnessing the expertise and creativity of private sector operators for the benefit of those who use the railway, passengers and freight customers, and those who pay for it, including taxpayers. 

Rail Partners provides advocacy and policy solutions for its private sector passenger owning Group and freight company members. Rail Partners additionally provides technical services to train operating companies in both the public and private sectors.

A full list of our owning group and freight operating members can be found here: https:/

Download Freight Expectations: How rail freight can support Britain's economy and environment, here.