RDG: Building the UK’s Net Zero Railway Will Create 6,000 Jobs

A study commissioned by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has found that building the UK’s net zero railway could lead to the creation of approximately 6,000 jobs, with 90% of these being created outside of London and the South East.

It would also generate more than four billion GBP (4.73bn euros | 5.51bn USD) in economic benefits, supporting both the UK government’s ‘levelling up’ and ‘build back greener’ agendas.

Electrification equipment near Preston
Electrification equipment near Preston

The study assessed the jobs and economic benefits that could come from electrifying remaining parts of the UK’s rail network and building the hydrogen, battery and electric trains needed where electrification isn’t an option.

The UK rail network is the single largest consumer of electricity in the country. A government commitment to fund its decarbonisation would therefore drive investment and create more jobs in sectors such as renewables and hydrogen says the RDG.

The government aims to have 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and hydrogen trains would require between 2–5GWh of power. This means the development of a net zero railway would enable the emerging hydrogen industry to scale-up.

Similarly, a visible, predictable demand for new energy storage solutions would stimulate the development of this industry, particularly in the automotive manufacturing hub of the Midlands says the RDG report.

Andy Bagnall, Director General at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said:

“Trains are already one of the greenest forms of transport and this report shows the considerable benefits of government working with rail companies to go even further by making all trains net zero to run.

“Building Britain’s cleaner and greener railway is a once-in-a-generation opportunity not only to help protect the environment but also to create high skill, well paid jobs across the country both in rail and in the green industries of the future such as hydrogen and battery power.

“Investing in decarbonising the railway really is a win win.”

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