JULIAN WORTH argues that a modest wiring programme would see two-thirds of freight electrically hauled by 2033

Electrification of Britain’s railways for freight has been off the agenda for the last 30 years. British Rail’s freight business, especially Trainload Freight, concluded – rightly – that its flows were most efficiently served by through working of diesels, even where it involved running under the wires. However, the freight business is now a very different animal and is no longer largely confined to the traditional heavy industrial areas of the Midlands, Wales and the North. Instead, it is increasingly aligned with the main inter-city routes which are, or soon will be, largely electrified.

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