A FIVE per cent increase in construction traffic took the sector to its highest quarterly volume in the first three months of 2019/20, according to new figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
The movement of construction materials, fuelled by high levels of property development in London and the south-east of England, reached 1.21billion tonne-kilometres, although domestic intermodal traffic remains the biggest sector at 1.71bn tonne/km (up by 1% from 2018/19).
Overall, UK freight traffic was relatively stable for Q1 2019/20 at 4.27bn tonne/km, decreasing by 1% over the previous year as coal traffic continues to decline sharply.
Once the undisputed king of freight traffic, coal dropped by 53% between Q1 2018/19 and the same period in 2019/20 to just 0.12bn tonne/km.
Other traditional freight sectors serving heavy industry, metals and oil/petroleum, saw falls of 7% and 3%, respectively.
International traffic grew by 20% over the previous year because of increased cross-channel freight traffic. Construction and domestic intermodal now accounts for slightly more than two-thirds of UK rail freight.
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