Royal Mail Ditch Rail For ‘Heavily Subsidised’ Road

Royal Mail has said it will move its rail operation to road.

Royal Mail has announced that it will stop using trains to transport its post and revert to the ‘heavily subsidised’ road haulage sector.

DB Cargo UK is the contract holder with Royal Mail operating its rail service. In a statement, DB Cargo UK CEO Andrea Rossi said the ‘Royal Mail has officially informed us that it is to cease all its rail freight activities with effect from 10th October 2024’.

“As a result, we will now be seeking urgent talks with the new Labour Government, policymakers and other key industry stakeholders, to see what more can be done to level the playing field between rail freight and the heavily subsidised road haulage sector.”

A spokesperson for DB cargo UK said: “This (heavily subsidised road haulage sector) reference alludes to the fact that while track access charges increase every year in line with inflation, road fuel duty has not been increased for more than a decade, creating an unlevel playing field.”

DB Cargo UK operate 13 trains a week, many of which connect North Lanarkshire’s Shieldmuir mail terminal with distribution centres in Daventry, London and Warrington.

As reported by, the move could generate an extra 10,000 trips for trucks per year to do the same amount of work.  

The plan to sell off its freight trains is a major revamp in the wake of the Royal Mail’s owner International Distribution Services agreeing to sell the company to Daniel Kretinsky for £3.5 billion.

It ends a 194-year connection with Britain’s railways.

More than 100 people work on the contract, which has been ongoing since June 2013, and was due to expire in May 2025.

Royal Mail has also announced it will send more mail by road and cut the number of domestic flights it operates to minimise carbon emissions and boost reliability for customers.

It said the move would save 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year and help meet the growing demand for next day deliveries.

Using fleet vehicles instead of planes would also mean it can move more during busy periods as they are less likely to be delayed by bad weather and are not as capacity-constrained.

Royal Mail said it would end 18 domestic flights, which would help it meets its target of being net zero by 2040.



Share this story