This article gives extracts from a policy document submitted by British Rail to the Secretary of State for Transport as the basis for a major joint study of the case for railway electrification. Electric traction working costs are markedly lower than diesel costs, the maintenance element being less by a ratio of 1:3. The practical background to this is that electric locomotives are simpler, lighter, cheaper, and longer lasting than equivalent diesel locomotives. Electrics have a higher availability for service, since they require no time out for refuelling and substantially less for maintenance. Electric traction is demonstrably more reliable than diesel. Present operating returns show that delays to trains resulting from technical defects occur only one third as often with electric traction. The present price ratio of oil to electricity is about 1.5 for equivalent amounts of energy for rail traction, and many observers expect this to rise to between 2 and 3 by the year 2000. On an energy basis, it is stated that primary energy input for diesel traction is 25% to 30% higher than for electric traction. It is claimed that in the United Kingdom at present the railway uses some 800,000 tonnes of oil for traction in a year. Through large-scale electrification, this consumption might be reduced to 100,000 tonnes.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Allens (Clerkenwell), Limited

    39 High Street
    Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8DG,   England 
  • Publication Date: 1978-10

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 18-20
  • Serial:
    • Energy Digest
    • Volume: 7
    • Issue Number: 5
    • Publisher: Allens (Clerkenwell), Limited

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00196519
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2003 12:00AM