21 Dec 2021
Rail electrification plans blocked by Treasury
The Telegraph has reported that a £30bn plan to electrify Britain’s railways has been blocked by the Treasury.
The policy - drawn up nearly 18 months ago on behalf of Network Rail’s recommendations to accelerate electrification of our nation’s rail system – was set out within the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TNDS).
TNDS had advised the electrification of 12,500km of railway over the next 30 years, with a further 1,400 km of track to be dedicated to hydrogen trains. In the last year, a mere 179km of electrified rail was added to the network, in accordance to ORR statistics. To meet the Network Rail’s target of a net zero railway by the half century, 448km is required to be placed year on year.
Thus far, the UK government has failed to uphold its agreement.
In reaction to the deterrence of the plan, National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt exclaimed that ‘the slower we start, the slower we’ll finish.’
Although, he later justified the Treasury’s decision by suggesting that ‘it’s not unreasonable for some prioritisation of routes to take place, to ensure public money is being targeted at the places where it will make the most difference to passengers and the environment.’
With the nations rail network accounting for less than 2% of total emissions from the transport sector, perhaps, justly, matters of climate change are not to take precedence over the efficacy of our rail system.