The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is pleased with the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into trains fit for the future, but also called on “essential” decarbonisation focus.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA, which is a major voice in the UK rail supply community, described the inquiry as “vital and timely,” and it encompasses many of the same decarbonisation ambitions held by the Association.
Upon launching the inquiry, Lilian Greenwood MP, the Transport Select Committee’s Chair, said that trains and technology behind them continues to evolve and with the new train carriages commissioned likely to be in service for more than 40 years, now is the time for the government and rail sector to ensure they cater for the needs of passengers now and in the future.
Within this, the Committee will take a closer look at the introduction of alternative fuels such as battery and hydrogen, as the sector looks to move away from diesel powered trains.
It is something that the RIA has championed for quite some time and Darren Caplan said: “It is essential to look at decarbonisation. With the publication of RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge report, showing that electrification can be delivered for less than half the cost of some past projects, now is exactly the right time to consider how the rail network can be decarbonised by 2040.
“RIA will continue to call for a rolling programme of cost effective electrification, as the optimal solution for intensively used lines, as well as the continued development of new technologies like hydrogen, battery and trimodes.”
The Association also believes this inquiry is a great opportunity to smooth out “a highly volatile rolling stock market that has negatively impacted the demand for the refurbishment of trains currently on the network.”
Darren Caplan said the RIA “urges the Transport Select Committee to consider what can be done, as the market begins to slow and the need for a smoother profile of rolling stock work – that balances the use of new and existing trains – becomes even more crucial.”