The latest news, trends and data from the rail industry
ith the global rail industry facing increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, operators and governments are emphasising the importance of finding greener fuels and alternative propulsion methods to cut down on emissions. Electrification and battery power remain at the forefront of discussion around replacing diesel-powered locomotives, but many countries in Europe have highlighted the potential of hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology, which produces electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction, and leaves water as the only emission.
The introduction of hydrogen-powered trains on major rail networks is no longer a pipedream. French manufacturer Alstom’s revolutionary Coradia iLint has been a fixture in the headlines since its first appearance at InnoTrans 2016, with the train already running on several lines in Germany, and the company is now in discussions to bring it to other countries, including the US. Both France and the UK have outlined plans to introduce hydrogen-powered trains on their networks by 2022, with the latter testing a hydrogen train demonstrator, named HydroFLEX, on a mainline railway this year.
Recently, a study commissioned by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) analysed the extent to which fuel cells and hydrogen technologies could be introduced within the European rail market. The study showed that some of the current hydrogen-powered rail cases in Europe highlight a positive total cost of ownership for fuel cells, while in others it could be the ‘most adequate zero-emission alternative’.
Dubai recently inaugurated Route 2020 – a $2.9bn, 15km-long extension of the Dubai Metro – prior to its public opening in September
The Indian Ministry of Railways has announced plans to shift to ‘green railways’ by 2030 through a variety of measures, such as switching to renewable energy sources
According to Office of Rail and Road statistics, rail passenger journeys in Great Britain in Q4 2019-20 fell by 11.4%, compared with the same period in 2018-19
In July, the East Japan Railway Company announced it would offer 50% off selected Shinkansen bullet train tickets between 20 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.
More than 4,000 construction jobs have been created by California’s 119-mile high-speed railway project, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The number of platforms at New York’s Grand Central Terminal station, the world’s largest station by number of platforms according to Guinness World Records.
Maximum temperature along the Rail Baltica route, according to a new report into the effect of climate change on the multi-national project.
Railway Industry Association (RIA) technical director David Clarke, after the RIA urged the UK Government to boost investment in rail transport as part of the Department for Transport’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan:
“Crucially, decarbonisation of the rail network requires support from government, in the form of a rolling programme of electrification, investment in the network to encourage modal shift and fleet orders of low carbon rolling stock, or the conversion of current train fleets to use clean energy sources. The government’s vision of a decarbonised rail network is very much achievable, but it requires action now to make it happen.”
KiwiRail Group CEO Greg Miller after the New Zealand Government gave the state-owned rail operator an investment of NZD13m ($8.5m) to boost the rail connection between the West Coast and Christchurch:
“A long-term, comprehensive solution is required for this slope and we’re delighted that we now have the funding to achieve that. Every tonne of heavy freight delivered by rail results in 66% fewer emissions than the equivalent freight being carried by road, so KiwiRail is working hard to encourage companies to make that shift. Everything we can do to make rail freight more reliable helps New Zealand lower its emissions, helps make KiwiRail more sustainable, and reduces truck numbers on the country’s roads.”
The EU is supporting the Government of Uganda to revitalize railway transportation in Northern Uganda and is providing a grant of 21.5million Euros for the rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu railway line. The project will reduce transport costs within northern Uganda and beyond. pic.twitter.com/zXk6pCbztK— EU in Uganda (@EUinUG) July 2, 2020
EU commits $966m to modernise Polish rail network
Nigeria awards $3.9bn Abuja-Lokoja rail line contract to CRC
Etihad Rail awards $435.5m contract to Hitachi Rail
AAR senior vice-president John T. Gray, following the announcement of major rail traffic decreases in April compared to last year.
“We don’t know exactly when it will happen, but our economy – and rail traffic – will rebound. No matter what, the men and women on our nation’s railroads will do their part to keep supply chains moving safely and efficiently as they link our businesses and communities to each other and to the world.”
DB Cargo UK head of sales Roger Neary, after the company and Transfesa Logistics launched a new express 72-hour rail service to transport supermarket supplies from Spain to London.
“We are delighted to be working with our DB Cargo group partners at Transfesa Logistics to deliver this essential rail freight service across the continent in these challenging times. Rail freight has a vital role to play in the sustainable transportation of international goods and it’s currently more important than ever that we ensure these supplies reach the UK.”