Government looks to bi-mode to fortify rail freight

Bi-mode power is likely to represent the future of the rail freight industry, according to the Government’s policy paper released on March 26.

This is because alternative power such as hydrogen or batteries will not provide sufficient power for locomotives to haul heavy freight trains, a point raised in 2018 by DB Cargo UK Chief Executive Officer Hans-Georg Werner.

Government believes the main way to achieve rail freight decarbonisation is to stop using diesel traction, and this would be through more electrification.

In the UK, CO2e emissions per freight tonne kilometre in 2018-19 were 4.1% lower than the equivalent 2017-18 figure. Government says rail freight is estimated to remove more than seven million lorry journeys annually - the equivalent of 1.5 billion road kilometres.

It also highlighted that since 2003 the number of freight train movements on the network has fallen, yet the amount of freight moved on each train has increased by 74%.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 902, published on April 8, and available digitally from April 4.

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