- lowest cost and zero carbonElectric trains are cheaper to operate than diesel - the purchase costs are lower, they are more energy-efficient, more reliable, and cost less to maintain.
They produce less pollution than all the alternative forms of traction, and offer the possibility of zero emissions if electricity is generated sustainably.
Electrification is the only way to provide the additional capacity needed to accommodate rail travel growth without increasing operating costs and therefore requiring government subsidy.
A rolling programme of incremental electrification projects, at a level which the industry can resource, is essential for Network Rail to build the electrification skills and experience needed to reduce the capital cost to viable levels. This should focus on intensively used or high speed routes where the journey time savings, increased reliability, lower operating costs and reduced emissions will justify the capital spend.
The alternatives to full electrification have a place on lightly used routes where electrification is not financially justified – see our analysis of the electric alternatives.
Current status of electrification progress
Railfuture policy on electrification