Rail electrification in the UK has an important role to play in reducing CO2 emissions to tackle climate change. There is great potential: 9,788 km, 62% of the British standard gauge network of 15,800 km, is unelectrified! Switching to electric traction is the only way the aim of carbon-neutral rail by 2050 can be met. The British government has committed to making all electricity generation zero-carbon by this date.

In April 2021, the Railway Industry Association published a 79-page report offering a well-structured overview of the benefits, technologies and costs of electrification. The authors included Noel Dolphin, Head of Furrer+Frey GB Ltd. in London.

Electrification also increases energy efficiency by a factor of three compared to diesel traction and lets passengers travel in greater comfort. And electrification is also beneficial for freight traffic. For example, haulage of freight services by electric Class 92 locomotives on inclined routes in Northern England and Scotland also used by fast Intercity services has enabled much better use of capacity.

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