The rail industry “enthusiastically” welcomed the Parliamentary Transport Committee’s report on rail investment infrastructure and in particular, the focus on optimising electrification of the lines.
The report, which also identified “real funding gaps” between infrastructure spending in London and other regions of the UK, also found that MPs involved in the Committee were disappointed with the cancellation of a number of electrification schemes throughout England and Wales due to a lack of funding in Control Period 5 (CP5).
However, it felt environmental benefits were ignored to an extent and electrification is the best solution for heavily used parts of the network.
The main industry trade group for the sector is the Railway Industry Association (RIA).
Its Chief Executive was enthusiastic in hearing the support the Parliamentary Transport Committee has in ensuring electrification is used and is cost effective to the sector.
Electrification is another example of greater use of technology on the network and Darren Caplan, RIA Chief Executive, explained his reaction to the Committee’s report, and why the Association feels so strongly about electrifying rail lines.
“We enthusiastically welcome both the Transport Select Committee’s support for the Railway Industry Association’s Electrification Cost Challenge programme in its report, and its recommendation that the DfT and Network Rail work with RIA to produce a report within the year on making electrification more cost effective.
“Electrification still remains the optimal form of traction for intensively-used railway. It costs the rail network less in the medium to long term, reduces wear and tear on the track, lowers the cost of train maintenance, and delivers a more environmentally sustainable network.
“Whilst we join the Committee in supporting the development of bi-mode, battery, hydrogen and other alternative fuel sources for train traction, electrification still needs to remain in the government’s thinking if it wants to deliver on its commitment to decarbonise the rail network by 2040.”
The rail industry will be working to ensure these targets are met.