MP’s call for immediate start of 30-year rail electrification plan

MP’s on the Transport Select Committee have argued that the government should commit and start implementing its electrification projects over the next three decades, if it is to succeed in decarbonising the rail network.

With still 62% of the rail network still running on diesel and government aims to fully decarbonize the industry and the rest of UK by 2050.

Committee Chair Huw Merriman called the plans “patchy” and said “It’s time to invest in a rolling programme which will speed up delivery, drive down costs and hold to account those who do not deliver to time or budget”.

Rail is a naturally low-carbon transport mode, comprising less than 2.5% of total transport emissions and only about 0.6% of the UK’s total emissions. However there have been a warning that its failure to solve the problem would drive more freight back onto the country’s roads.

Industry groups like the Railway industry Association (RIA) agreed and think the process of electrification should start immediately, RIA technical director David Clarke said: “We need to get on with decarbonizing our rail network today if we are to meet the Government’s target of Net Zero by 2050”

“That means starting a rolling programme of affordable electrification that avoids the ‘boom and bust’ profiles of the past, thereby allowing the rail industry to continue to retain and develop expertise and capabilities so that it can deliver efficiently and affordably”

“We also need to see fleet orders of battery and hydrogen trains, which the industry is now developed enough to deliver, so that we can decarbonise branch lines around the country, placing the UK at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution.”

However, with government plans to start the process in 2024, there is an an atmosphere and feeling that the window for these radical changes might be too small, though the UK become the first major economy to pass net zero emissions laws back in June 2019.



Where next for Metrolink?

Our June/July 2021 edition of RTM covers all different aspects of the rail industry, from embedding environmental initiatives across rail projects, to innovative work being done to encourage collaboration between HS2 and academia, and a focus on the future of light rail around the UK, including what is next for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network.


View all videos
Passenger Experience Event Banner

RTM365 Online Festival

The Era of Passenger Experience
18th August 2021

 On 18th August, RTM365 will host their Passenger Experience virtual event which will explore the plans to implement the changes affecting passenger experience laid out in the recent Williams Shapps review, the challenges that we need to overcome, opportunities for the supply chain and what we envisage the future of the passenger to be.


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