Rail Industry welcomes publication of Hydrogen Strategy; urges hydrogen train fleet order

17 August 2021

Today the Government has published its Hydrogen Strategy, setting out how industries like transport can be supported through the development of hydrogen economies.

David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “It is positive to see the Government publish today a Hydrogen Strategy, setting out how it plans to develop hydrogen economies in the UK.

“Network Rail has identified that up to 1,300 kilometres of railway lines will require hydrogen trains in order to achieve the Government’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ goal. Yet, as we say in RIA’s Rail Decarbonisation Campaign 21, if we are to successfully decarbonise our rail network we need to get started today, in 2021, both electrifying railways lines and beginning the production of hydrogen and battery trains. 

“As the Government considers the roll out of this strategy, and the use of hydrogen in decarbonising the economy, we ask them to heed our ask to commit now to fleet orders of hydrogen rolling stock – in order to support green jobs and investment up and down the country.”

Notes to Editors


  1.  The Government's Hydrogen Strategy can be found here. On rail, the strategy says: "Rail is already one of the greenest ways of moving people and goods, and government is committed to making it even greener, in line with our net zero target by 2050. To decarbonise currently unelectrified parts of the network, electrification will likely be the best solution because electrified trains are faster, quicker to accelerate, more reliable and cheaper. There will also be a role for new traction technologies, like battery and hydrogen trains, on some lines where they make economic and operational sense."
  2. A briefing on hydrogen in rail can be found here.
  3. You can find out more about RIA's Rail Decarbonisation 21 campaign here. The campaign is calling for a specific commitment to decarbonise the rail network from Government, through further electrification work and fleet orders of low carbon, self-powered rolling stock, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021.
  4. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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