Canada's Minister of Transport has announced 5.4 million CAD in funding to support projects under its Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program.
Sydney Build Expo has confirmed that Climate Resilience and Sustainability will both be key themes for next year's event: 6–7 March 2023.
In 2022, Deutsche Bahn (DB) has been converting the lighting at around 1,000 train stations to energy-efficient sources such as LEDs.
Lumo has attracted one million passengers and seen rail overtake air travel as the preferred mode of transport between Edinburgh and London.
InnoTrans 2022 is officially kicking off on 20 September. As is customary, the press gets a sneak peek the day before.
Network Rail has signed a contract with EDF Renewables UK for the supply of 49.9MW of solar power for non-traction power requirements.
TfL has launched a Power Purchase Agreement tender as the first step for powering the London Underground with 100 percent renewable energy.
Adif President María Domínguez discusses the infrastructure manager’s commitment to remodel its railway stations at Global Mobility Call.
A new project has begun that will help Reading station lower its carbon emissions and optimise its energy performance by approximately 20%.
Global Mobility Call will take place on 14-16 June 2022 and will be key in globally redefining sustainable mobility.
ABB’s Enviline Energy Storage System is being used by Metro Trains Melbourne to capture, store and reuse energy created by braking trains.
Over two thirds of suppliers (67%) have committed to Network Rail’s science-based targets initiative aimed at limiting carbon emissions.
Limited progress is being made regarding the UK Government's rail decarbonisation plans according to a Railway Industry Association report.
A new report highlights the role of HS2 and high speed rail in general in reducing emissions and ultimately achieving net zero.
A competition-winning idea to support the decarbonisation of rail is currently being trialled at a rail freight terminal in Northamptonshire.
Network Rail has announced an additional £2m in emergency funding to help protect the Cambrian Line from future extreme weather events
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into the Stonehaven Derailment, in which three people lost their lives.
SNCF Voyageurs and Alstom have unveiled the first French electric-diesel-battery regional train this week.
CAF and Iberdrola have signed a framework agreement to promote the use of green hydrogen in the railway and passenger transport sectors.
Talgo has agreed a €35m green loan with the European Investment Bank to finance its research, development and innovation (RDI) strategy.
Network Rail has released its new Third Adaption Report, which outlines the risks climate change poses to the UK’s railway.
A new piling technology, known as hollow impressed precast energy reusable pile (HIPER), is being trialled at HS2’s Euston station site.
Deutsche Bahn will begin testing Alstom’s battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) on DB Regio passenger services from next week.
DB Cargo is investing in a new climate-friendly locomotive fleet with alternative drives. This will improve efficiency and sustainability.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
Jonn Elledge gets into the Christmas spirit and does some finger-pointing as to who is really to blame for the state of Britain's railways.
Transport for the North (TfN) has launched a transport decarbonisation strategy for the north of England - the first of its kind.
The Integrated Rail Plan published today, 18 November 2021, announces a huge slash in new railway lines being built in England.
For Transport Day at COP26 (10 Nov 2021), UITP and UIC have released a joint statement urging a focus on rail and public transport.
Following severe flooding in Germany in July, Deutsche Bahn has reopened part of the Ahr Valley Railway to passenger traffic again today.
Hitachi Rail and ScottishPower have signed a three-year deal for 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, hydro-electric).
Germany is lagging behind the rest of Europe when it comes to rail network electrification says Allianz pro Schiene.
A study commissioned by the RDG has found that building the UK’s net zero railway could lead to the creation of approximately 6,000 jobs.
Scotland’s First Minister has said that decarbonising transport, including rail services, can help reduce the threat of climate change.
Network Rail has announced a £25m plan to protect the Newport-Gloucester line from further damage caused by extreme weather.
New research by the Rail Delivery Group has highlighted the negative effect new commuting habits could have on city centre economies.
New open access operator Lumo will offer direct, fully electric rail services between London and Edinburgh starting at £14.90 for a single.
During its first year of operation, it's predicted that 6.6 million people will choose to travel on the MCD D3 line rather than by car.
Network Rail is delivering works to prevent the tracks between Crewe and Chester from flooding as part of the Great North Rail Project.
A new section of the MTA Coney Island Yard Complex is being fortified against extreme weather to make it more resilient to climate change.
Deutsche Bahn continues to ramp up its green power supply by completing its first cross-border, long-term green electricity contract.
Hybrid cars built in the Midlands will soon be carried to continental Europe via an eco-locomotive that runs on hydro-treated vegetable oil.
Deutsche Bahn has taken stock after the 2021 floods, saying the damage is of historic proportions and might take years to fix in full.
HS2 designers are set to more than halve the amount of embedded carbon used in one of the high-speed rail project’s viaducts.
DB has reported significant damage to rail infrastructure in Germany following the extreme storms in Europe last week.
The UK government has published its Decarbonising Transport plan, in which it also lays out how it will decarbonise rail by 2050.
High-speed parcel deliveries to city centres will soon be made by converted passenger trains showcases Network Rail and Orion.
The Rail Delivery Group is calling on the UK government to introduce policies that will help shift freight from road to rail.
Network Rail lays its first composite railway sleepers across the weight-restricted Sherrington Viaduct between Salisbury and Warminster.
Deutsche Bahn has brought forward its deadline for achieving climate-neutrality by ten years, with 2040 as the new target date.
The RDG has warned that a cut in domestic air passenger duty would see thousands of passengers shift from rail to air.
A year on from its investigation into poor train performance in the NW&C region, the ORR has announced that progress has been made.
Why Rail Electrification: the UK rail industry has written an open letter to government to urge for a rolling programme of electrification.
France: members of parliament in the National Assembly have voted on the climate and resilience bill which bans short-haul domestic flights.
The Transport Committee has published a report, Trains Fit for the Future?, which calls for a 30-year rolling programme of electrification.
Network Rail has published an updated report on the resilience of the railways following the Stonehaven derailment.
Czech rolling stock manufacturer CZ LOKO has sold an EffiShunter 1000 shunting locomotive to Trainpoint Norway. It will be delivered in 2021.
Austrian Federal Railways and Siemens Mobility have unveiled the exterior design of the new generation of Nightjet trains in Vienna.
Finland's state railway company VR Group has started producing energy. It has installed solar panels on Pendolino Hall at its Helsinki depot.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution aims at incentivising driving and doesn't mention rail.
The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on making 2021 the European Year of Rail.
Although hydrogen and fuel cell technology can play its part in the rail sector, it will not decarbonise transport. It is a fringe component.
Midlands Voices report by the High Speed Rail Group says the eastern leg of HS2 up to Leeds is crucial for levelling up the country.
The second section of the Dawlish sea wall is being built using the 'Wavewalker', a floating barge that can withstand high tidal ranges.
Deutsche Bahn updated its vegetation management programme in 2018, investing more money and personnel and cutting storm damage by 25 percent.
The United States has a new president-elect, Joe Biden. But why is he called 'Amtrak Joe'? And what has he said about the importance of rail?
Network Rail will reopen the railway line between Aberdeen and Dundee which has been closed since August following the Stonehaven derailment.
HS1 Ltd has lauched its sustainability strategy, unveiling the goal of becoming the first UK railway run entirely on renewable energy.
The track repair works are getting underway at the site of the Stonehaven derailment, following the clearance of the wreckage.
A private rail freight protest train made its way through Berlin to draw attention to the German government's one-sided support of DB.
The Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line was serious damaged by flooding on 12 August. Following repairs, it will reopen on 21 September.
Network Rail has published the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy, outlining how to remove diesel-only trains from the network.
Network Rail has published its interim report on the Stonehaven derailment as commissioned by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Following preparatory works, including building a 900m road and bridge over farmland, the work of recovering the derailed train can begin.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) is trialling different alternative fuels and traction systems in order to eliminate diesel fully from its vehicles by 2050.
Network Rail has launched a weather action task force and an earthworks management task force following the recent Stonehaven derailment.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has published an update on the Stonehaven Derailment that occurred in Scotland on 12 August.
The main line connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow has sustained serious damage following flooding from the nearby Union canal.
Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines arrived at the Stonehaven derailment site and promised that immediate action would be taken.
3 people died when a Scotrail Inter7City service derailed at Stonehaven on 12 August. The BTP, ORR and RAIB are investigating the cause.
The Rail Delivery Group has submitted proposals to influence the government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan and make taxation fairer.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail are investing a further 1 million GBP into the hydrogen train Breeze in order to accelerate the UK hydrogen sector.
The CER has published a position paper advocating for applying the user-pays and polluter-pays principles across the transport sector.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) is expanding its programme to paint rails white as a way of keeping them cool and protecting the steel from the heat.
After the German government moved ahead with an ongoing exemption to the lorry toll, rail groups have asked the Bundesrat for help.
Rail freight operator Lineas is putting on extra services to anticipate low water levels which previously have prevented barge transports.
Deutsche Bahn has reached a coronavirus agreement with the German government, union, works council and employers' association.
Network Rail has unveiled plans for the remaining section of new sea wall at Dawlish, with works on the first section ongoing.
Anu Tuominen on the mobility culture of the future in the context of the European Green Deal, which is to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050.
The European Commission has proposed that 2021 be the European Year of Rail to highlight rail's contribution to achieving the Green Deal.
Passengers travelling by rail between London and mainland Europe create 60,000 flights worth of carbon emissions less than if they flew.
The UK PM gave the go-ahead for HS2 in parliament today. This decision has been welcomed by industry in general, including the rail sector.
The UK government will today give HS2 the go-ahead following a review into the high-speed rail project due to concerns about its cost.
Deutsche Bahn will feed solar power directly into its traction power network with a new solar park measuring 70 football pitches in size.
Six rail associations have signed a charter on digital automatic coupling for freight wagons across Europe to push forward the shift to rail.
HS2 has been heavily criticised by environmental organisations. Railway-News believes this is short-sighted and needs addressing.
Deutsche Bahn and the United Kingdom are both to be official partners to the Greentech Festival, which will be held in Berlin 19–21 June.
Following von der Leyen's speech on the EU Green Deal in the European Parliament, the rail industry has voiced its support.
Transfesa Logistics has wrapped one of its locomotives with the #TimetoAct message and will deliver this message across Spain.
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by Jonn Elledge
11 Nov 2021
The Great British Bake Off has “caramel week”; COP26 has “transport day”.
On Wednesday 10 November, with just three days left in the UN climate change conference, delegates gathered to talk about ways of taking the carbon out of our need to move about. As the evening approached, a press release popped into my inbox, in which the Railway Industry Association gleefully announced that Boris Johnson had been to look at a pair of net zero trains: a battery-powered one, from Vivarail, and a hydrogen one from HydroFLEX.
This, alas, has the distinct whiff of a PR stunt about it: the Prime Minister had also travelled to Glasgow by train, after being mocked for flying the previous week. And for fans of rail transport the conference has been a distinctly depressing affair. Net zero trains, whatever their power source of choice, were not on the agenda.
Transport day actually focused on topics including net-zero shipping and sustainable aviation fuel (neither of which, you’ll notice, involve trains). The biggest transport topic, though – indeed, one of the biggest of the entire summit – was the coming switch to electric cars. The big transport pledge: 24 countries, and assorted car manufacturers, will end the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in “leading markets” by 2035, and globally by 2040. (The UK, ahead of the curve for once, has already pledged to do so by 2030.)
Road transport is responsible for around 15% of all global emissions, but still, it’s hard to get too excited about this announcement. For one thing, it says nothing about where we’re getting the power to recharge all those electric vehicles: that could still, plausibly, come via fossil fuels. For another, twenty years is a long time (just think about how old you’ll be in 2040), and even after that there’ll presumably still be plenty of existing vehicles spewing emissions into the atmosphere for some years to come. Then there’s the truly damning fact that three of the largest car markets (the US, China and Germany) and major car companies including Toyota and Volkswagen declined to sign up to even this milksop pledge.
The biggest issue, though, is that this focus on simply making our existing transport system slightly cleaner left little room for more fundamental change. Cars, after all, don’t just generate carbon emissions. They create congestion, kick up particulates, and worst of all, take up vast amounts of space, warping our built environment around themselves. A world dominated by electric vehicles would be better than one dominated by petrol ones, but a damn sight worse than one which encouraged walking, cycling and public transport.
So while there were plenty of sustainable transport advocates present in Glasgow this last fortnight, they struggled to get their voice heard. “Persuading more people to swap at least some journeys from cars to public transport will have immediate benefits for the climate,” noted Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport. Yet the conference was focused on working towards less radical change. In twenty years’ time.
Rail was hardly the only casualty of this lack of radicalism at COP26: Chris Boardman, the Greater Manchester transport commissioner, described it as “crazy” that cycling, arguably the greenest form of urban transport of all, wasn’t even on the agenda. But it is striking how little discussion there was of a form of transport that has spent the last 200 years showing it can do the business both within cities and between them, and cut humanity’s carbon footprint in the process.
Such lack of interest in the role better rail could play in decarbonising our economy feels particularly urgent in the UK just now. Two major investment projects, the High Speed 2 north-south route, and the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) east-west one, would between them offer both vast increases in capacity and cuts in journey times between most of England’s major population centres. The Northern Agenda, a newsletter focusing on the north of England, recently published a pair of maps showing that, with the two schemes complete, vast areas of the country currently best reached from Leeds by car would suddenly be quicker by rail. If you’re really looking to create a lower carbon transport system, this is where you’d start.
As things stand, though, a certain type of green activist is enthusiastically opposed to HS2, on the grounds it’ll affect some ancient woodland, while strangely having no such issue with the dozens of smaller, less visible road schemes that not adding rail capacity will require. Worse, question marks hang over both projects in the Treasury, with Rishi Sunak said to be itching to kick the Birmingham-East Midlands-Yorkshire arm of HS2 into the long grass, and to do the absolute bare minimum on NPR. At the same time, the chancellor cut passenger duty on short-haul domestic flights, even as the world gathered in Glasgow to talk climate change and electric cars.
Boris Johnson may pose cheerily with the occasional low-carbon train. But until he’s ready to force his chancellor to open his wallet to pay for a few, his commitment to clean transport will look about as convincing as all his other promises.
About Jonn Elledge
Jonn Elledge is a journalist and editor who specialises in transport and local government. Former assistant editor of the New Statesman.