Diesel trains should be taken out of service by 2040, rail minister says
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Diesel-only trains could be removed from service on Britain’s railways by 2040 if Rail Minister Jo Johnson gets his way.
The newly appointed minister will use his first major speech in the role to say Britain needs to be more environmentally ambitious because increased travel has resulted in greater carbon emissions.
He is expected to say: “I would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040.
“If that seems like an ambitious goal, it should be and I make no apology for that.
“After all, we’re committed to ending the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. If we can achieve that, then why can’t the railway aspire to a similar objective?”
Johnson is giving the industry a six-month time frame to come forward with initiatives.
“I am calling on the railway to provide a vision for how it will decarbonise. And I expect the industry to report back by the autumn.”
The minister will suggest that rail can shift to lower emissions by utilising new bimode technology and alternative fuels.
“New bimodes are a good bridging technology to other low-emission futures,” he will say.
“They are fitted with modern diesels – which we started introducing last autumn on the Great Western line – and are less polluting than the trains they replaced.”
In 2016 Network Rail has admitted that its rail electrification plans in the south of England were running up to four years behind schedule and were massively over budget.
The plans were due to be completed by 2018 but some routes that were expected to be finished even earlier may not be ready until 2020.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling later announced that rail electrification plans for Wales and northern England were also being cut.
The announcement was heavily criticised considering it came soon after backing the multibillion-pound Crossrail 2 scheme.