THE GREAT British Railways Transition Team is working on a strategy which combines proposals for targeted electrification with rolling stock changes. This arose after the more extensive electrification plans in Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) were deemed undeliverable.
Rich Fisher, Head of Strategic Planning – Network and Integration at GBRTT, outlined to the Golden Spanners conference how modern fleets can address both environmental and financial sustainability and deliver an improved customer environment. This is the context of a predicted rise in rolling stock costs when the railway faces financial challenges. A particular issue requiring imminent decisions is the replacement of more than 800 lifeexpiring Class 15x diesel vehicles.
There are parts of the network for which electrification is the only solution, so the initial focus is on these ‘no regrets’ areas which are clear and obvious candidates – primarily core freight and crosscountry routes. For rolling stock, the assumption is more electric trains will be introduced over time, while a range of 50 miles has been assumed for battery trains. The base case scenario assumes a significant number of diesel trains (which are expensive to maintain) would remain, but as power supplies are upgraded and there is more electrification this number reduces. Overall, the number of trains in the national fleet is forecast to decline over time due to higher utilisation of electric trains and other associated efficiencies.