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Open Letter to Grant Schapps: Electrification Now 

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c. Jeremy Segrott. Flickr.com

A total of 15 industry, business and campaign groups have come together to write an Open Letter to Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, amongst concerns that the rail sector cannot complete electrification in time for the Government’s 2050 goals. 

This Open Letter stems from the release of the “Why Rail Electrification” Report, which found that it will be impossible to decarbonise rail without huge increases in electrification.

Why Electrification report highlights underperformance

Data from the report indicated that from 2019-2020 just 251km of track was electrified in the UK. Network Rail stated that to meet 2040 targets to take all diesel trains off the network, 450km of track a year needs to be electrified.

Despite the report’s findings, there are currently no further significant electrification schemes authorised in England.

Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), Darren Caplan, said: It’s great to launch the report today, as part of RIA’s RailDecarb21 campaign- calling on the Government to support efforts to decarbonise the rail network ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year.”

One of the campaign groups, Railfuture, explained the importance of electrification in the open letter. Chris Page, national chair, wrote “Britain needs a bigger and better railway to improve living standards and social cohesion. To be efficient, provide a positive passenger experience, be good for air quality and climate health- it has to be an electrified railway.”

The “Why Electrification” report can be found here.

Grant Schapps is expected to respond to the open letter in the coming days.