Image Source: Mark Fowler
Rebecca Wayman

'Carbon-cutting rail schemes' part of latest £1.75m government funding

Today (January 31), Rail Minister, Andrew Jones has announced solar panels that directly power trains and a system using hydrogen and oxygen to produce steam to power engines are just two projects that have been given a share of £1.75m funding.

Five projects have been chosen for development funding in the second round of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, focusing on schemes aiming to cut the carbon footprint of the UK’s railways.

It comes as rail industry leaders publish the interim Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce report, which addresses the challenge set by the DfT in 2018 for cutting emissions and removing diesel-only trains from the network by 2040.

Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We want a cleaner, greener rail network and transforming our trains will help make this a reality. The targets we set for 2040 are ambitious but are within our reach.

“It is encouraging to see the huge efforts already underway to make this happen. This funding will be vital in helping these fantastic projects adapt to the demands of rail and enable their potential roll-out, delivering a cleaner, healthier network for passengers.

“It also underlines the shared commitment of government and industry to ensuring we have a modern railway that protects our environment.”

The FOAK competition, run by Innovate UK and part of the DfT’s wider Accelerating Innovation in Rail scheme, was launched in 2017 and focuses on two themes in this second round of funding: decarbonising of the railway; and improving the passenger experience in stations.

The five decarbonisation projects will get £350k each to allow them to be adapted for the rail network.

The taskforce report, authored by former Angel Trains CEO, Malcolm Brown, concludes that the removal of diesel-only passenger trains ‘can be achieved by 2040’, and outlines aims for further investment on alternatives including bi-modes, hydrogen and battery trains.

Malcolm, now chairman of the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Task Force, added: “Our report sets out a credible set of options to meet the challenge to decarbonise.

“We believe that there is a real opportunity for the rail industry in Great Britain to become a world leader in developing and delivering low carbon solutions.”

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