Track and signalling

18.07.19

SWR announce solar-powered rail project

South Western Railway (SWR) have announced a scheme to power trains through connecting solar panels directly into the railway system as traction current.

The innovative project is the first of its kind in the UK rail industry. It aims to tap into renewable energy’s potential to make reductions in carbon emissions and future running costs.

Amelia Woodley, SWR’s Head of Sustainability, said: "The rail industry plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions.

“SWR has reduced its emissions by 33% over the last 12 months and are continuing to install renewables, and other technologies, to cut our carbon emissions by 60% overall within the next five years.

"With the recent passing of net zero emissions legislation in the UK, there’s never been a better time to partner with the Riding Sunbeams to change the way the rail industry responds to this global challenge.

"I look forward to speaking to local people dropping-in this Wednesday at Aldershot station about the solar project and the many other exciting schemes that SWR is undertaking to reduce its carbon footprint."

The 135 solar panels are currently being installed on derelict land near the station, without disrupting services, and are expected be switched on in August.

If the scheme passes real-world application, then much larger solar projects could be rolled out across the network to power the industry in the future.

The Riding Sunbeams’ project is a collaboration between climate change charity 10:10, Community Energy South and national rail infrastructure operator Network Rail.

The project is funded by Innovate UK and the Department for Transport in a bid to transform the energy supply of Britain’s railway.

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