Rail freight & the West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the key corridors for rail freight. It is a vital corridor that provides a link between the deep-sea ports in the South and South-East and large conurbations in the West Midlands, North West and Scotland. Trains for major retailers rely on the WCML to move everyday goods from the Midlands to Scotland, London and into Wales, and services from Europe via the Channel Tunnel join the route at Willesden.

It is also an important route for transporting construction materials from quarries into the city regions, conveying finished cars to ports, and moving letters and parcels for Royal Mail.

There are a significant number of rail freight terminals adjacent or linking to the WCML, as well as several other new terminals being developed by the private sector, expected to come online in the next few years.

Rail Freight Growth

90,000 freight trains per year already use the WCML and rail freight growth forecasts show strong demand for additional services on the route particularly in the deep sea and domestic intermodal, automotive, and construction markets. Providing this capacity alongside passenger growth is challenging, but HS2 provides a unique opportunity to do this, if all parties work together towards a shared solution.

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Rail Freight & the West Coast Main Line