UK Department for Transport selected five decarbonisation rail projects under the carbon-cutting rail schemes that will receive a total funding of £ 1.75 million (EUR 2 million) to adapt their schemes for the rail network.
Solar panels that directly power trains and a system that uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce steam to power engines are just 2 projects that have been given a share of £1.75 million in government funding for use on the rail network, Rail Minister Andrew Jones announced.
The five projects were selected for development funding in the second round of the Department for Transport’s First of a Kind competition, which focuses on innovative schemes that can cut the carbon footprint of the UK’s railways, a key part of its modern Industrial Strategy.
It comes as rail industry leaders publish the interim Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce report addressing the challenge set by the DfT last year for cutting emissions and removing diesel-only trains from the network by 2040.
The First of a Kind competition, run by Innovate UK and part of the DfT’s wider Accelerating Innovation in Rail scheme, was launched in 2017 and focuses on 2 themes in this second round of funding – decarbonising of the railway and improving the passenger experience in stations.
“We want a cleaner, greener rail network and transforming our trains will help make this a reality. The targets we set for 2040 are ambitious but are within our reach. It is encouraging to see the huge efforts already underway to make this happen. This funding will be vital in helping these fantastic projects adapt to the demands of rail and enable their potential roll-out, delivering a cleaner, healthier network for passengers,” Rail Minister said.
The taskforce report, authored by former Angel Trains CEO Malcolm Brown, concludes that the removal of diesel-only passenger trains can be achieved by 2040, and outlines aims for further investment on a range of alternatives including bi-modes, hydrogen and battery trains.
Among the priority lines for potential battery hybrid trains will be the Lakes Line in Cumbria. Train operator Northern will shortly submit a business plan for it to potentially be one of the first lines to benefit from this innovative technology.
Alstom, engineering company Viva Rail, and rolling stock owners Angel Trains and Porterbrook are also developing a range of alternatively-fuelled trains for the UK network, including battery hybrids and hydrogen powered units.