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Renewable Welsh rail electrification project wins decarbonisation funding

Plans to use renewable energy sources to electrify Welsh train lines have won a grant from the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), one of six rail decarbonisation projects to have won the funding.

The ‘Green Valley Lines’ scheme to decarbonise the South Wales railway has won a £1m rail industry research competition, paving the way for a new study exploring the potential to optimise traction energy use on passenger networks using renewable electricity.

The initiative, led by the climate charity 10:10, will develop the plans for the South Wales Metro, integrating storage technologies and direct supply of renewable electricity at the design stage of electrification works.

PV-train WEB

This is one of six feasibility studies funded by the RSSB competition to develop alternative energy-efficient technologies for high-speed trains and freight trains and new solutions for providing, distributing and storing energy.

The schemes are part of the DfT’s commitment to remove diesel-only trains from the UK railway by 2040, and the successful projects are expected to publish their findings in mid-2020.

The RSSB said electrification will have a key role to play, particularly in the heavy used parts of the network, but that other self-powered traction sources such as battery and hydrogen will also have a key role in achieving a decarbonised railway.

The other projects include dual fuel locomotives to decarbonise freight operations, decarbonising high-speed bi-mode railway vehicles through optimal power control and future hydrail-enabled railway depots.

The Green Valley Lines project is being led the Riding Sunbeams team in collaboration with Transport for Wales, Network Rail and Energy Saving Trust Wales, and has been awarded a £110,000 grant.

10:10’s director of innovation, Leo Murray, said: “This exciting study is a golden opportunity to work out how to use new technologies to bring together Welsh leadership on rail electrification and community owned renewables.

“South Wales is rich in renewable energy resources, with a thriving community energy sector that could be the perfect complement to Network Rail’s pioneering plans for smart rail electrification in the region.”


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