Rail freight contributes £1.7bn to the economy and plays a huge part in reducing congestion and carbon emissions. Freight trains transport £30bn of goods each year, a quarter of which is made up of construction materials.
The importance of a more sustainable environment paired with the potential rising cost of exporting post-Brexit means that rail freight usage is likely to increase significantly over the coming years.
We’ve spoken to Maggie Simpson, Executive Director of the Rail Freight Group, about what a career in the sector is like and why you should consider rail freight when looking for your next role. Maggie’s 5 reasons why rail freight should be your next career choice are:
1. You’ll support businesses right across the economy
Rail freight works for businesses in many different parts of our economy. We move retail products from warehouses to supermarket shelves and imported and exported goods to and from the ports. We carry a quarter of all the shipping containers that come into the country which can contain anything from the latest designer clothes and electronics, to car parts to scrap metal. We move stone and cement for the construction industry to help build the homes, schools and offices we all need. We move cars, petrochemicals, steel, waste, letters and parcels, aviation fuel and even shellfish. When you work in rail freight you really get to understand what makes our economy tick!
2. You help improve the environment
Moving goods by rail makes a significant contribution to the environment. Each of our trains can remove up to 76 lorries from road transport, even more for some of our longest and heaviest services. In doing so, we help reduce road congestion and thus improve road safety, and we produce 76% less carbon dioxide than the equivalent journey by road. However, the industry isn’t complacent, and we are working to see how we can further improve our emissions, with ‘auto start-stop’ technology now fitted to many locomotives to reduce fuel use.
3. You get to travel everywhere
Our trains really do go everywhere! Rail freight services run over pretty much the whole network, for commercial customers or when we support Network Rail with engineering trains and seasonal services. From china clay services from Cornwall to supermarket products to Inverness, from containers from East Anglia to steel to South Wales we span the whole rail network, so you can travel across the country meeting customers and delivering services.
4. Investment in new services, facilities and technology
Freight train operators and our customers are investing and there are plans for even more. This includes new state of the art wagons and locomotives, rail linked terminals and technology and systems to revolutionise the business. We are always looking for new ideas too so if you bring skills from other areas there may well be a role for you too.
5. It’s fun!
The rail freight sector can sometimes feel like a family, and people will always look out for each other. At Rail Freight Group we host a number of events to bring people together, including our famous Christmas Lunch for over 800 people. We’re making strides on gender equality, and opening up opportunities for apprentices and trainees. Why not take a look at what the sector can offer you?