Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the UK's largest train operator, has underscored its commitment to mitigating climate change as it unveiled its comprehensive roadmap to achieving carbon neutrality across all its energy needs by 2050.
GTR’s current carbon footprint is already smaller than most with electric trains making up 97% of its current operational fleet. Alongside its electric fleet, GTR are using clean sources during regeneration of energy after braking, further limiting its carbon output.
The ambitious roadmap outlines several areas where GTR are hoping to improve, including working with Network Rail and the government, on plans to electrify the last remaining diesel-powered sections of Southern Rail track. Alternatively, battery-powered units could be deployed, ensuring a seamless transition to zero-emission operations.
Jason Brooker, head of environment at GTR, said: “We’re in the middle of a climate crisis and everyone has a job to do to minimise their carbon footprint.
“Our electric trains are already the most sustainable way to get around on public transport but as the UK’s largest operator, we want our customers to know that we’re committed to doing even more.
“This raft of initiatives will cut our carbon footprint still further in the short to medium term and in the long-term help eradicate it altogether.”
GTR are also harnessing solar power with 6,000 solar panels to be installed on the rooftops of GTR's train depots in Bedford, London, and Sussex. GTR have also partnered with the not-for-profit Community Benefit Society Energy Garden on the project.
The scheme which is the first co-operative solar energy project on the UK rail network has already seen success with 576 solar panels installed on the roof of Streatham Hill depot. The scheme has seen around 40% of the electricity generated sold directly back to GTR to power the depot.
Alongside this, GTR has outlined plans to prioritise zero-carbon replacements over fossil-fuel powered options when equipment reaches its lifespan and sourcing certified renewable electricity for offices, depots and stations.
Air conditioning systems are also to be upgraded as GTR hopes to minimise refrigerant leaks which are often a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Photo Credit: Govia Thameslink Railway