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Network Rail publishes strategy to highlight importance of decarbonising the railway

Posted: 10 September 2020 | | No comments yet

The collaborative cross-industry initiative, chaired by Network Rail, provides technical advice to funders on how changing rail traction can contribute to the UK target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A strategic approach to deliver rail decarbonisation

Network Rail have published their Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy – Interim Programme Business Case. This collaborative cross-industry initiative, chaired by Network Rail, aims to provide technical advice to funders on how changing rail traction can contribute to the UK target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Rail is already one of the greenest forms of transport and Network Rail wants to make it greener. Reducing carbon emissions will not only improve rail’s green credentials, but will make the air cleaner and play a vital part in building a strong, green economy for the future.

Today, traction energy accounts for approximately two thirds of rail’s carbon emissions. As Network Rail’s power supply already comes from nuclear energy, it’s logical the infrastructure manager is focusing on reducing diesel trains on Britain’s network with the ultimate goal of removing them entirely.

This strategy sets out why decarbonising the railway is so important and looks at the existing technology that can be used to electrify the network – overhead electrification, battery and hydrogen fuel cells. It then looks at every section of unelectrified line in the country to see where each solution can be most effectively used. While a lot more work is to follow, particularly with the development of regional delivery plans, this strategy will already support and inform policy and funding decisions about what must be achieved and when.

This work has also informed Network Rail’s forthcoming environmental sustainability strategy and will inform the government’s overarching Transport Decarbonisation Plan, expected later in 2020.

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