Green rail map, via RIA North

Making rail 'Greener, Faster, Better' in the North

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) North has published their new plan for the electrification of the North’s railways, improving journeys and the decarbonisation of freight and passenger lines throughout the region.

Entitled 'Greener, Faster, Better', this ambitious report identifies the passenger and freight routes that should be prioritised for upcoming electrification works, whilst also establishes the low carbon technologies that can remove polluting diesel trains from the network. Electrification accompanied with battery and hydrogen powered trains will provide passengers in the north with the greenest mode of public transportation.

Making the rail routes environmentally sustainable will have a major impact on the ambitions to achieve Net-Zero within the sector, however electrification will also transform passenger journeys in the affected regions. Through electrification of the lines, trains are able to run faster, thus maximising capacity which allows more services to operate daily. Unlocking transport availability will have transformative effects on local people and economic growth.

Looking ahead to 2050, the report identifies strategic freight lines, intercity corridors and suburban networks across the North which should be top of the list to be electrified. According to RIA North, the Midland Main Line (MML) and TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) offer the greatest decarbonisation benefits – both of which the Government announced it will electrify as part of the Integrated Rail Plan.

It also highlights a range of connections between major towns and cities in the North as ‘first priority’, including:

•             Sheffield to Doncaster/Moorthorpe

•             Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Bradford Interchange

•             Northallerton to Saltburn via Middlesborough

•             Manchester to Sheffield (Hope Valley)

•             Leeds to Hull

Justin Moss, Chair of RIA North, commented:

“Rail will be essential for the UK to reach its Net Zero transport targets, as a clean form of mass transit. However, many of the North’s major freight and passenger routes continue to rely on diesel trains and critical connections between some of our largest cities are in need of major upgrades.

“Electrification is the solution to many of these challenges. That is why we have published a roadmap for how our railway network can be not only decarbonised through electrification, but also deliver faster journey times. We also identify where other decarbonisation solutions such as battery and hydrogen trains will be most appropriate.

“Whilst we have seen some progress with commitments from the Government in the Integrated Rail Plan, these do not go far or fast enough to reach our climate targets. To ensure they can be delivered at good value to the taxpayer the industry needs a long-term programme of electrification work starting immediately, which would also help support thousands of green jobs in the sector and drive economic growth around the country.

“We look forward to continue working with Transport for the North and our partners in government to build a world-class, Net Zero railway not just for the North of England but for whole of the UK.”

Julie Carrier, Decarbonisation Lead at RIA North, and co-author of the report, added:

 “We know the North has ambitious targets for Net Zero emissions from transport by 2040, and the railway industry is eager to play its part in this. Not only do we need to decarbonise our industry, but we need to increase the capacity of our railways to take even more passengers and freight through a pipeline of electrification projects.

“We hope that our proposals will help inform the debate about how the industry can deliver these, providing the greatest benefits to passengers and the North’s economy.”

The Electrification Route Prioritisation Plan was written by RIA North’s Decarbonisation working group, made up of cross-industry experts, and forms part of their ongoing engagement with partners in the supply chain, Government, Transport for the North and Network Rail. 

Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here

RTM OCT/NOV 22 Edition


Barmouth viaduct restoration insights from project leaders

Step right up and enjoy the premium content available in the newly released October/November edition of Rail Technology Magazine, packed with key industry insights from project leaders, innovations within the sector and environmental sustainability knowledge. We invite you to indulge in the magazine and hear from the likes of Chris Pearce, Value management Director for Network Rail, Lord Tony Berkeley and Gareth Yates, Project Manager at Network Rail for Capital Delivery. This just a tantalising taste of the great stories that we have to offer, so dig in and enjoy the informative fun. 


View all videos
TransCityRail Banner


Mids \ 09 02 23
South \ 28 09 23
North \ 09 11 23

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all