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Trains Need to Be Decarbonised to be ‘Fit For Future’

2 min

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The Transport Committee have published their ‘Trains Fit For Future’ report today calling for the decarbonisation of rail and urges the government to set out a clear strategy for the network.

As a matter of priority, the Government should publish a long-term strategy that sets out its vision for electrification battery and hydrogen technology, the report states. It also stresses the importance of underpinning this technology with appropriate costings, a credible delivery plan and enabling targets and milestones.

This clear strategy is essential to help the industry decarbonise the rail network.

Three key points from the ‘Trains Fit For Future’ report state:

  • A 30-year rolling programme of electrification should be set out.
  • Important new advances in battery and hydrogen technology should feature prominently.
  • Following previous electrification overspending, Network Rail and the industry should be subject to greater cost scrutiny.

“Decarbonising rail, and making our trains cleaner and greener, will be a considerable challenge for us all,” said Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee

Decarbonising rail, and making our trains cleaner and greener, will be a considerable challenge for us all

In their report, the Transport Committee state the Department for Transport should commit to a 30-year rolling programme of electrification projects. This is to ensure the government meet their 2050 net-zero targets.

Huw continued, “Electrification has a patchy record of delivery. It’s time to invest in a rolling programme which will speed up the delivery, drive down costs and hold to account those who do not deliver to time or budget.”

Battery and hydrogen technology should also be embraced as an important way of decarbonising the rail network, the report says.

“We know that the Government is keen to encourage the development of hydrogen power and ask that the decarbonisation plan is flexible enough to include alternative and new technologies. To help, our research and development capabilities must be properly supported and funded,” Huw said.

Welcoming the report, the Railway Industry Association have released a statement urging the Government to work with the rail industry to begin the decarbonisation of passenger and freight rail.

David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association, has said concerning the report, “We need to get on with decarbonising our rail network today if we are to meet the Government’s target of Net-Zero by 2050.”