RIA North’s plan, entitled 'Greener, Faster, Better', sets out a long-term vision for which passenger and freight routes should be prioritized for electrification, and other low-carbon technologies such as battery and hydrogen, to remove polluting diesel trains from the network. Electric railways are one of the greenest modes of transport and enable trains to run faster and more services to operate.
Looking ahead to 2050, the report identifies strategic freight lines, intercity corridors, and suburban networks across the North which should be top of the list to be electrified. According to RIA North, the Midland Main Line (MML) and TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) offer the greatest decarbonization benefits – both of which the Government announced it will electrify as part of the Integrated Rail Plan.
Justin Moss, Chair of RIA North, commented: “Rail will be essential for the UK to reach its Net Zero transport targets, as a clean form of mass transit. However, many of the North’s major freight and passenger routes continue to rely on diesel trains and critical connections between some of our largest cities need major upgrades.
The Electrification Route Prioritisation Plan was written by RIA North’s Decarbonisation working group, made up of cross-industry experts, and forms part of their ongoing engagement with partners in the supply chain, Government, Transport for the North, and Network Rail.
Julie Carrier, Decarbonisation Lead at RIA North and co-author of the report, added: “We know the North has ambitious targets for Net Zero emissions from transport by 2040, and the railway industry is eager to play its part in this. Not only do we need to decarbonize our industry, but we need to increase the capacity of our railways to take even more passengers and freight through a pipeline of electrification projects.
RIA North’s plan also highlights a range of connections between major towns and cities in the North as a ‘priority’.
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