The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has officially launched its Electrification Cost Challenge report, which reveals rail electrification can be achieved at a significantly reduced cost than on previous projects.
According to the Electrification Cost Challenge, projects can be delivered at least a third more cost efficiently than some of the previous electrification projects, with cost savings going all the way up to 50%.
This is if the government commits to a rolling programme of work.
The Electrification Cost Challenge report is a response to recommendations last year from the Transport Select Committee regarding rail infrastructure investment, which stated that electrification “should be delivered through a long-term rolling programme, in which the Department, Network Rail and the wider industry learn the lessons of earlier schemes and strive to reduce the costs.”
The report has used examples from the UK and further afield to highlight the costs on recent and past electrification projects can be avoided in the future.
High costs for previous projects including the Great Western electrification Programme were caused by an unrealistic work programme amongst other factors, and should therefore be seen as “a one-off.”
The Electrification Cost Challenge report therefore calls for the government to work alongside the rail sector and renew the commitment to electrification.
David Clarke, RIA Technical Director, said: “Electrification is clearly the optimal solution for intensively used railway lines and should be seen as the priority choice in a hierarchy of options if the government is serious about decarbonising the rail network by 2040.
“A rolling programme of electrification would allow rail businesses to build up and retain expertise, further reducing the cost of future schemes.
“We urge the government to work closely with RIA and rail businesses – as requested by the Transport Select Committee and agreed to by government last September – to revise its policy on electrification where it is the right long term solution.
“Only by doing so will we be able to decarbonise the rail network by 2040, and deliver a cleaner and more cost effective railway network.”