22 April 2021: An open letter to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP, signed by more than 15 rail businesses, and industry and campaign groups, has called for a programme of rail electrification to begin as soon as possible to meet the Government’s legally binding Net Zero commitments.

The letter comes on the back of a new report from the Rail Industry Association, “Why Rail Electrification?” which sets out why – even with the development of clean new technologies like battery and hydrogen trains – the industry will be unable to decarbonise the rail network to the extent required without significant further electrification.

Rail is already a low carbon method of transport, contributing just 1.4% of all transport emissions. However, the industry will need to decarbonise further if it is to achieve the Government’s aim of removing all diesel-only trains off the network by 2040 and the legally binding commitment to Net Zero by 2050.

According to Network Rail, to decarbonise the network, 13,000 single track kilometres – or around 450km a year – of track will need to be electrified by 2050 in order to achieve Net Zero, yet from 2019-2020 only 251km was electrified.

Railfuture was requested by the Rail Industry Association to sign the letter and was pleased to do so, because Britain needs a bigger better railway to improve living standards and social cohesion. To be efficient, provide a positive passenger experience, be good for air quality and climate health – it has to be an electrified railway.

The open letter to the Transport Secretary and the Why Rail Electrification? report can be found at the Rail Industry Association website.

Railfuture electrification campaign