Record drop in rail coal traffic

Coal traffic has suffered its lowest drop since quarterly statistics began in the 1990s, says the latest ORR rail freight report.

Coal traffic lifted dropped 48.9% in the second quarter to 4.6 million tonnes (2014-15, Q2: 9.0 million tonnes), and coal traffic moved fell 61.6% to 0.51 billion tonne-kilometres (2014-15, Q2: 1.34 billion tonne-kilometres).

The drastic fall has been attributed to a number of factors:  The shift to bio-mass; a mild winter; power station closures; and the doubling of the UK’s top-up carbon tax from April, which encouraged stock-piling.

The other freight sectors held up in the second quarter, though the coal result depressed the total tonnage lifted from 25.8 to 21.1 million tonnes, and the total tonne-kilometres moved from 5.30 to 4.43 billion tonne-kilometres.

687/Dec 15

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