Great Britain Rail Freight Market Review 2017

By Dr. Allan Woodburn, Rail Freight Researcher and Consultant

The British rail freight market has undergone considerable change over the last two decades. This is the result of many factors including: the establishment of an increasingly competitive operating environment, both within rail and with other transport modes; frequent changes in government intervention in rail strategy and funding; and ongoing structural changes in the British economy and society which affect the underlying nature of freight transport demand. At the same time, developments in information technology and availability of open source data are leading to increasing amounts of data relating to rail freight activity being made publicly available.

This first edition of the ‘Great Britain Rail Freight Market Review’ is now on sale and consolidates information about the British rail freight market from a wide range of published sources. This material is supplemented by the collation of various types of open source data and information from targeted survey work, leading to an in-depth analysis relating to important issues affecting rail freight now and in the future. The Market Review provides an original, evidence-based insight into the state of the British rail freight market. It is invaluable to those seeking to understand both the changes in the market itself and the wider economic, political and societal influences on rail freight activity. Source material is comprehensively referenced, allowing readers to easily access further information on topics of particular interest to them.

The 2017 report contains more than 250 pages of insight into, and analysis of, the British rail freight market, with highlights including:

• an overview of the current state of the market

• the detailed analysis of a wide range of published rail freight statistics

• original data collection and analysis of the structure of and trends in rail freight

• an assessment of the current political issues relating to rail freight (e.g. Network Rail funding, rail freight grants, HS2)

• an investigation of efficiency trends overall and at the freight operating company (FOC) level

• an analysis of trends in FOC market share

• a detailed breakdown of trends in the individual commodity types moved by rail

• in-depth features on the coal, metals and maritime intermodal rail freight markets

• an assessment of Network Rail’s infrastructure development plans

• an investigation into the sustainability of British rail freight

• a comparison of the British and other European rail freight markets

• an overall assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the British rail freight market, together with the wider opportunities and threats influencing the market

About the author

Dr Allan Woodburn has more than 20 years’ experience of rail freight research and consultancy, including his PhD which focused on the role of logistical structure in the development of rail freight services in Great Britain. For 13 years, he was Course Leader for the internationally-focused MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management course at the University of Westminster (London). Allan has published widely in international peer-reviewed academic journals, with 18 papers to date, and has written several book chapters.

The main focus of Allan’s work has been on measuring and understanding operational efficiency and sustainability issues, together with trend analysis of the British rail freight market.

Purchase a copy of the report

The Great Britain Rail Freight Market Review: 2017 is available for £490.00 (electronically in PDF format). Payment by BACS upon receipt of an invoice is preferred, but alternative payment methods are possible.

To order a copy, please email Allan at

, ,