Over 260,000 tonnes of vital supplies carried by freight across the home counties  during the Covid19 pandemic: Freight service - Chichester

Friday 3 Apr 2020

Over 260,000 tonnes of vital supplies carried by freight across the home counties during the Covid19 pandemic

Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex

The railway across Wessex, Kent and Sussex is carrying thousands of tonnes of goods by freight to support the economy and to keep supermarkets stocked up with essential supplies.

Last week, 381 freight trains have carried goods such as fuel to power stations, food for supermarkets, medicines and household waste across the Network Rail Southern region and carried a total 261,191 tonnes of vital supplies.

Freight trains have travelled almost 45,000 miles across the rail network which is the equivalent of more than 1.5 times around the world.

The region covers the major port in Southampton and the Channel Tunnel in Kent as well as the home counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Devon, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

With a reduced passenger service for key workers and the increased demand for goods to be delivered by rail, we have prioritised a number of key freight routes including Southampton to Reading, and Lewisham to Clapham Junction which links to the West London line.

Many housebuilding and engineering projects are routed through Kent and Sussex transporting materials such as aggregate and sand and building materials. The transporting of sand is particularly unique to the Southern region.

As the coronavirus pandemic goes on, Network Rail’s priority is to keep vital supply routes, including the lines which service the major ports, open.

Critical to this are frontline specialists, such as signallers and maintenance teams, without whom the railway cannot operate.

John Halsall, managing director for Network Rail Southern region, said: “Rail freight is playing a vital role in supporting our economy as we continue to battle coronavirus.

“It is essential we keep freight services running so that goods can be delivered to supermarkets, power stations are fuelled and crucial upgrades on the rail network continue so we can keep key workers moving.

“The railway’s own key workers, including signallers and maintenance teams, are working day in day out in this national effort to keep the rail network and support the country through this challenging time.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Martin Spencer

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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