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Alternative power: freight’s role in decarbonisation

Half of the freight locomotive fleet in the UK will be 30 years old and due for replacement by 2035, creating an opportunity for the sector to investigate alternative power.

Speaking at the online Rail Freight Group conference on October 14, Jonathan Brown, Technical and Innovation Engagement Lead, Rail, at Ricardo, called it a complex task that needs commitment and investment by government.

He discussed the T1160 project, which is investigating traction options for freight. He said the aim is to look at decarbonisation while taking a pragmatic approach to consider what will work commercially.

In recent months, Freightliner has bought 13 Class 90s (more than 30 years old) to increase the number of electric-powered trains it operates, while DB Cargo UK has discussed its desire to return more electric locomotives to service.

GB Railfreight is rebuilding Class 56s with new emissions-friendly diesel engines, but has previously discussed electric traction requirements and has steadily grown its Class 92 fleet over the years.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 917, published on November 4 - and available digitally now. 

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