RoadSafe Europe

Dangerous Goods & transport training and consultancy

Rail Transport (RID)

Rail freight has increased by 50% since 1994, with a government target to increase by 80% within ten years, and now accounts for 12% of the total surface freight in the UK. Intermodal traffic has been growing steadily at around 10 per cent per annum since 2002 to 2009.

So, naturally there has also been an increase in the volume of Dangerous Goods by rail, the large bulk of which, as with road, being petroleum and other refinery products and miscellaneous chemicals in tank containers.

Transport by rail is governed in the UK by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations and it's Europe-wide counterpart; Reglement concernant le transport International ferroviare des merchandises Dangereuses par chemin de fer (RID). RID is the part of the Intergovernmental Convention for International Carriage by Rail (COTIF). COTIF concerns the movement of passengers and goods by rail across national borders. It controls the conditions under which that transit is undertaken and establishes a uniform system of law in order to facilitate the continuing development of international rail traffic.

As with road, rail operations are also required to be covered by a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA). At RoadSafe, we are one of the few organisations who offer a rail DGSA training course. Full details can be found by visiting the DGSA training page by clicking the DGSA tab on the links bar above.

Transporting freight through the Channel Tunnel

There are two ways of transporting goods through the tunnel:

  • on through-freight trains - these travel from UK terminals through the tunnel and into mainland Europe
  • using road vehicles that roll on and roll off Channel Tunnel trains (the Shuttle)

Road vehicles carrying freight through the Channel Tunnel must be no more than 18.75 metres in length, 4.2 metres in height and 44 tonnes in weight.

The Channel Tunnel policy on transporting Dangerous Goods is based on the Europe-wide ADR set of rules, but it is somewhat stricter. Following a fire in 1996, certain goods cannot be transported, including certain explosives - those with the UN number UN0330 - and the substance p-Nitrosodimethylaniline (UN1369).

You can request a guide to transporting dangerous goods through the Channel Tunnel on the Eurotunnel website (registration required) - Opens in a new window.