Global warming and the railways

Because of the disregard for energy conservation in the UK rail industry for so long, improvement should be easy to achieve. The CO2 reduction in 1995/96 was achieved by carrying more passengers and by improving the generation mix of the electricity supply. Rolling stock needs to lose weight, but this can only be done on new trains. To achieve this, it is necessary to go back to first principles and look at acceleration; going up hills; overcoming rolling and wind resistance; lighting, heating and ventilation. With an electric train, regenerative braking helps to recover and reuse energy. Coasting using high technology to help the drivers decide when to ease up, without losing time is another energy saving option. Returning energy to the grid would cost money initially, and in the absence of a business case could be done altruistically or with government subsidy. Air conditioning with a wider band of acceptable temperatures for passengers and a re-think on window size and lighting could help too. Overall, electrification is the most effective solution tackling issues such as pollution, fuel availability, economy, performance, capacity, reliability and train maintenance.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 58-63
  • Monograph Title: City Class - 'Going Green'
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 65
    • Issue Number: 716
    • Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing, Limited
    • ISSN: 0026-8356

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01109390
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2008 8:15AM