The rail industry needs a clear strategy from government on how to decarbonise the network, according to the parliamentary Transport Committee.
Transportandenergy.com reports the committee highlighted the need in a new report, Trains fit for the future?, which stated the government should publish a long-term strategy for rail. It said that a vision for electrification and for the use of battery and hydrogen technology should be laid out, underpinned by appropriate costings, a credible delivery plan and enabling targets and milestones.
As part of its strategy, the DfT should commit to a 30-year rolling programme of electrification projects, it said, if it is to meet the legally binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Additionally, a former pledge to remove all diesel trains from tracks by 2040, should begin, with the start of the electrification programme as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the start of the next control period in 2024.
The committee also called on Network Rail and the industry to be subject to greater transparency and controls over cost to ensure the rolling programme delivers value for money. As electrification is the only immediate decarbonisation option for most of the network at present, the department should publish the list of ‘no regret’ electrification schemes identified by Network Rail and confirm which will come first and when.
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