Commenting on today’s Government plans to replace all diesel trains by 2040, Maggie Simpson, RFG Executive Director, said: “Rail freight is acknowledged for its superior environmental performance and the Rail Minister is right to challenge the industry on how that can be further improved. Yet whilst battery and hydrogen may show promise for lightweight passenger trains, their application for heavy duty freight is at best unproven, and setting an arbitrary deadline of 2040 could well therefore be counterproductive, damaging the case for investment in our sector.
“Rail freight operators and customers are developing options to reduce their emissions in the short and longer term, and we would like to see Government support this through its research, investment and support programmes. In particular we would like to see:
- The remit of the Office for Low Emission vehicles extended to cover all freight modes
- Current retrofit grants for buses and other road vehicles extended to the railways
- Continued affordable electrification of the strategic freight network”