RIA's submission to Transport Select Committee's inquiry on 'trains fit for the future'

28 May 2019

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has published its submission to the Transport Select Committee for its inquiry on 'trains fit for the future'

Executive Summary

  • The rail industry has established that it is technically possible to remove all diesel-only passenger trains from the network by 2040.
  • The industry currently uses two principal traction modes, electricity (through overhead line or third rail) and diesel.
  • New technology is becoming available which, in conjunction with appropriate additional electrification, can replace diesel for some, but not all applications.
  • RIA believes that there is a great opportunity to reduce the long-term costs of the network by combining the best of new and proven technology. 
  • The initial Decarbonisation Taskforce Report (published in January 2019) makes clear that, whilst new technology has a significant role to play, only electric and diesel traction can deliver the full range of requirements including high speed, long distance passenger and freight haulage.
  • Electrification is the optimal solution on intensively used lines. The RIA Electrification Cost Challenge report demonstrates that electrification can be, and is being, delivered for between 33%-50% of the costs of some recent ‘problem projects’. 
  • Decisions are needed soon about the replacement of the oldest of the existing diesel fleet, which creates an opportunity to introduce new technology and stimulate the UK train building industry. 
  • RIA recommends a rolling programme of electrification and smoothing new rolling stock orders to ensure suppliers do not see large peaks in work, followed by sharp falls.
  • Long term strategy and policy certainty is needed to unlock private investment in rail and give the industry the confidence to invest in skills, training, innovation and equipment.
Read RIA's Submission

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