RIA warning over slow progress of electrification

Britain is electrifying its network at less than half the rate needed to decarbonise by 2050, claims the Railway Industry Association.

It follows publication by the Office of Rail and Road of Rail Infrastructure and Assets 2020-21, which shows that 179 track km (111 track miles) were electrified in the period.

RIA Technical Director David Clarke, author of the 2019 Electrification Cost Challenge Report, said that most of the electrification had been in completing the Midland Main Line upgrade between Bedford and Corby.

However, he added: “According to Network Rail’s Decarbonisation Strategy, we need to deliver 13,000 kilometres of electrification by 2050, meaning we need to be electrifying around 400 kilometres a year, more than double the rate we’re currently doing. And what’s more, with no major schemes coming down the line, we can reasonably expect that there will be less work, not more, in the coming year.”

The ORR’s statistical release showed that in total, 38% of the 15,935km (9,902-mile)-long network was electrified by March this year - “a similar proportion to previous years”.

While 44% of the system in England is electrified, in Scotland the figure is 33% and in Wales just 4%.

To read the full story, see RAIL 943.

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