RailDecarb21 is RIA's campaign to highlight the work rail is ready to deliver to decarbonise and support the UK Government in achieving its targets of removing all diesel-only trains off the network by 2040, and reaching Net Zero by 2050.
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.
Rail is a low carbon mode of transport, contributing just 1.4% of transport emissions despite carrying 10% of all journeys. Rail accounts for only 0.5% of all UK emissions.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic, getting passengers and freight back onto the rail network will ensure our railways continue to support low carbon travel, whilst also creating jobs, investment and economic growth. However, to achieve the UK Government's legal commitment to Net Zero by 2050 and its aim to take all diesel-only trains off the rail network by 2040, further action will be needed.
The interim Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) published by Network Rail shows that to achieve Net Zero, the 15,400 kilometres of currently unelectrified railway lines in the UK will require decarbonising by:
- 11,700 kilometres to be electrified;
- 900 kilometres for hydrogen trains;
- 400 kilometres using battery trains; and
- 2,300 kilometres where multiple options are available.