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Capacity – more freight by rail

HS2’s brand new track and fast intercity services free space on the existing railway network for more freight by rail. Taking lorries off the roads and reducing carbon emissions.

How HS2 helps rail freight

By putting direct inter-city services on dedicated high-speed lines, HS2 will create more space on the existing railway for rail freight services. Watch the video below to find out how.

How HS2 upgrades Britain's freight transport.

Fewer lorries means safer roads, less pollution, lower carbon

HS2 will also take hundreds of thousands of lorries off the roads every year as more freight can travel by rail. Each freight train removes up to 76 lorries from our roads, which currently amounts to 1.5 billion fewer kilometres a year by heavy goods vehicles, or more than seven million lorry journeys.

This will:

  • make our motorways safer,
  •  improve air quality and
  •  help reduce carbon emissions.

Benefits of more freight by rail

The rail freight industry wants to expand and offer more services across the country.  Watch the videos below to learn how HS2’s capacity will help them do just that.

Rail freight has a key role to play in the low carbon economy too, as rail produces 76 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey. One freight train can carry enough material to build 30 houses, and in London, over 40 per cent of construction materials are delivered by rail – and there is demand to move more.

How HS2 benefits ports

Watch the video below to see how the additional capacity HS2 will create on Britain’s existing rail network will benefit UK ports that use rail freight for the movement of goods.

The Port of Tilbury is the largest port on the River Thames and incorporates the London Container Terminal and a new port complex, Tilbury. With the development of Tilbury2, including its two rail terminals capable of handling the longest freight trains, the port has scope for significant increases in both unitised and bulk cargo flows. The Port currently welcomes daily rail services to major retail distribution centres and customers in the Midlands, the South West, Wales and Scotland. The trains then return with British products for distribution around London and the South East and exported by ship around the world.

How HS2 will benefit ports that use rail freight for the movement of goods.

How HS2 benefits distribution centres

Watch the video below to see how one rail freight company can better meet demand thanks to HS2.

David Fletcher is Director of Rail at the Cappagh Group of Companies, where its rail division specialises in delivering construction materials. He speaks from the building site of their new multi-million pound rail freight terminal in Wembley, explaining how HS2 will enable them to run more freight services that can serve more customers across the country.

HS2: Greater capacity for rail freight

Accessibility: Full video transcript.

Materials by rail

Rail freight also has a key role in the construction of HS2. For example, the first delivery of aggregate by rail has already arrived at the Washwood Heath site in Birmingham, signalling the start of HS2’s major Materials by Rail programme to take up to 1.5 million lorries off the roads to cut carbon emissions.

Over the next decade, up to 15,000 freight trains will haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to HS2 construction sites. Each freight train replaces around 70 lorries, representing a massive reduction in carbon emissions and marking a significant investment for Britain’s rail freight sector. Watch the video below to learn more.

How HS2 is moving construction materials by rail to reduce road traffic.