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Sun, 27 September 2020

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RIA: Network Rail Decarbonisation Plan welcome, but action needed now

Railway Industry Association

2 min read Partner content

Network Rail has published its interim Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy, setting out its preliminary recommendations for decarbonising the rail network, including plans for 12,000 kilometres of electrification by 2050 and a key role for zero carbon traction including hydrogen and battery technology.

David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The publication of Network Rail’s interim Decarbonisation Plan is very positive, setting out a clear case for the electrification of intensively used passenger and most freight lines, with the decarbonisation of other routes through zero carbon technologies, like hydrogen and battery. Hydrogen and battery technologies are likely to play an even greater role in the medium term to reduce carbon emissions whilst electrification is being rolled out.

“This report, developed with the rail industry, comes at a pivotal time, as current work to electrify the Midlands Mainline comes to an end, leaving the UK with no electrification projects being delivered on the ground. Without further work soon, the industry will begin to lose valuable skills and the capacity to deliver these schemes, making it harder to deliver these projects when work resumes.

“This is a big opportunity for the rail industry to provide a clean, green and more connected railway, encouraging more people onto low carbon transport, whilst generating jobs and investment following the Coronavirus pandemic. But to do this we need Government to give the ‘green light’ to support electrification, support the deployment of low carbon train fleets and support the sector, so we can deliver an environmental, economic recovery. This green light need not wait for the final Strategy to be published - there are projects which should be progressed immediately.”

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