10-year deal for Britain’s biggest rail electrification programme

Posted: 14 January 2013 | | No comments yet

Network Rail have awarded EDF Energy a ten-year deal to supply low carbon electricity to power Britain’s growing electrified railway…

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Network Rail have awarded EDF Energy a ten-year deal to supply low carbon electricity to power Britain’s growing electrified railway.

EDF Energy, will supply around 3.2TWh of electricity a year, powering a railway which carries three million passengers and tens of thousands of tonnes of freight a day. The deal will ensure 100% of the electricity supplied to us will be matched by low carbon energy generated from EDF Energy’s eight nuclear power stations.

David Higgins, chief executive, Network Rail

“Rail is already the greenest form of public transport and this partnership with EDF Energy will help us make it greener still. Our work to electrify hundreds of miles of railway represents the biggest programme of rail electrification in a generation and will provide faster, quieter and more reliable journeys for millions of passengers every week while cutting the cost of the railway.

We are transforming the railway and providing Britain with a sustainable, world-class transport system that is fit for the future. This innovative contract for low-carbon energy will provide excellent value to the rail industry and means we are not only providing a greener railway, but also a better value railway for Britain.”

The majority of electricity supplied will be used to power electric trains which now account for 55% of rail traffic. This is set to grow considerably over the coming years as Network Rail carry out work to electrify more than 20,000 track miles across Britain.

Once electrification schemes are complete, three-quarters of all rail traffic in Britain will be electric powered. Schemes include:

  • Great Western Main Line (Maidenhead to Oxford, Newbury, Bristol and Cardiff) and Thames Valley branches
  • North-West (Liverpool to Manchester and Preston)
  • the ‘electric spine’ from Southampton docks to the West Midlands and Yorkshire
  • Transpennine (Manchester to Leeds and York)
  • Midland Main Line (Bedford to Corby, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield)

Fact file

  • With a railway containing more than 20,000 miles of track, tens of thousands of signals and hundreds of signal boxes controlling 25,000 trains a day, we are the single biggest consumer of electricity in Britain
  • We procure electricity centrally for the whole rail industry – traction electricity charges recover the costs of electricity supplied by us to train operators for their use of traction electricity through overhead lines and third rail power systems
  • Currently only 40% of the railway is electrified, including most of the south east of England, and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network
  • By 2020, 54% of the railway will be electrified with electric trains accounting for 75% of all rail traffic
  • Electrification plays a role in reducing carbon emissions as well as improving air quality and reducing noise – electric vehicles, on average, emit 20% – 30% fewer CO2 emissions than diesel
  • Electric trains provide more seats than diesel trains, while electric freight locomotives can haul longer trains

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