UK commits to decarbonisation of rail, with £1m RSSB competition

- London, UK
The RSSB has launched a £1m award to lower carbon emission in rail

The UK rail industry’s leading research and development organisation, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has awarded £1 million to winners of a sustainability initiative to decarbonise the nation’s networks.

Following a challenge set out last year by the former transport minister, Jo Johnson, to remove diesel-powered trains from the UK by 2040, the RSSB set up the Decarbonisation Task Force. Since the introduction of that, the group has been on the look out for solutions outside of just electrifying the network, including battery- and hydrogen-powered rolling stock. Johnson said in February 2018 at the time that the UK rail industry’s progress in driving down carbon emissions had – compared with other forms of transport – been “palpably slow”.

On 31 January 2019, the Decarbonisation Task Force and RSSB set out in a report what it saw as a credible set of technical options that would take on the call to action from Johnson. The winning entries for the £1 million joint award will publish their findings in around a year’s time.

A major part of the UK’s reduction of emissions lies in the large sections of electrification that have either been installed or are in the process of being upgraded to accept electric-powered trains. Electrically-powered rail transport remains an unviable option for many remote areas, however, where installing the required infrastructure is challenging or not possible.

The six winners of this decarbonisation award will help the RSSB to provide “novel solutions” to help make the UK rail industry the most sustainable form of transport for passenger and freight.

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