The Transport Select Committee has officially launched an inquiry into trains fit for the future.
Launched by the Committee’s Chair, Lilian Greenwood MP, the inquiry into trains fit for the future will look more closely at the costs and benefits to the rail sector, as decisions are taken about moving away from diesel powered trains to electric and bi-mode.
The introduction of alternative fuels such as battery and hydrogen will also be examined; these are becoming particularly important, given the issues caused by toxic air.
Pollution is the fourth main threat to public health and it is something that the government is trying to change; clean air policies are in place, which suggest the severity of the problem, and many local authorities are following suit to make their roads cleaner.
For the rail industry, a Decarbonisation Task Force has been set up, which is championing the use of more environmentally friendly ways of running trains fit for the future.
The inquiry will look at how new trains could be powered and the steps that are required to ensure they are suitable for passenger needs in the future.
The Transport Select Committee’s inquiry looks at the development of alternatively fuelled trains and how future carriages can be designed to guarantee they meet the changing demands of the travelling public.
In particular, evidence is being sought on the role rail decarbonisation can play in the government’s wider air quality commitments in the next two decades; and whether there is adequate financial and other support from government for the development of alternatively fuelled rolling stock.
The Transport Select Committee want to find out whether or not the industry is responding to the challenges and developing technology for a carbon-free future, and the challenges to deploying alternatively fuelled rolling stock on the rail network.