DfT aims to eliminate diesel trains by 2040

DIESEL-powered trains could be a thing of the past by 2040 under a new Department of Transport (DfT) initiative to reduce air pollution.

The announcement comes just a few months after the Government curtailed a rolling programme of main line electrification in favour of bi-mode trains that are heavier and more expensive to buy and maintain than conventional trains.

Hydrogen and battery technology is being promoted as a possible way forward for traction away from electrified routes, but both are largely untested in everyday service, and currently regarded as unsuitable for heavy freight trains and intensively worked main lines.

Transport Minister Jo Johnson announced the aspiration on February 12, saying: “I would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040.

“If that seems like an ambitious goal it should be and I make no apology for that.

“Rail may be less carbon intensive than road transport. That’s why modal shift’s so important; getting freight and passenger vehicles off the roads onto greener forms of transport.

“That does not absolve the rail industry from cleaning up its own act.”

Read more in March’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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