Rail Industry responds to Welsh Affairs Select Committee report on electrification

On 21 May the Welsh Affairs Select Committee published a report on the cancellation of electrification schemes in South Wales. The report can be found here.

David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: “The Welsh Affairs Select Committee report published today highlights concerns about the change in Government policy on electrification, following the cancellation of a number of planned projects in 2017. The Railway Industry Association (RIA), which provided evidence to the Committee, shares these concerns and urges the Government to keep electrification on the table as the optimal form of traction for intensively used routes. It is clear that electrification is environmentally friendlier, cheaper in the long term, quieter and creates less wear to track.

“The Report identifies issues with the Great Western Electrification Programme, but the cost overruns on this scheme should not be seen as indicative of the cost of future electrification projects. RIA’s cross-sector initiative, the Electrification Cost Challenge, is investigating how the cost of electrification can be reduced, by bringing together key rail stakeholders, Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors, consultants and suppliers. We will issue a report this summer, but the evidence gathered so far suggests electrification schemes could be delivered at the kind of unit costs expected in 2009 – a significant reduction on the cost experienced on the Great Western project.

“The Government has set the industry a challenge to decarbonise by 2040. In order to achieve the goal the industry must have all possible solutions on the table, including electrifying intensively used routes where there are clear benefits of passengers, freight companies and the environment of doing so.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Railway Industry Association’s evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee can be found here.
  2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 200 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. 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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