Inquiry launched into trains fit for the future

23 April 2019

How might new trains be powered and what can be done now to ensure that they are suitable for the needs of the passengers in the future?

The Transport Committee is today launching an inquiry into the development of alternatively fuelled trains and how carriages should can be designed to meet the changing demands of the travelling public.

Scope of the inquiry

The inquiry will examine the costs and benefits to the rail industry as it takes decisions about moving away from diesel powered trains to electric and bi-mode  and the use of alternative fuels such as batteries and hydrogen.

Chair’s comments

Launching the inquiry, Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said:

“Trains and the technology behind them have been evolving since the invention of the railway. With the carriages commissioned now likely to be in service for the next four decades, it’s vital that the Government and industry looks ahead to cater for the needs of passengers of the future and ensure they are accessible to all.

With the number of journeys on the railway continuing to grow, this is also a chance to examine the role new trains can play in reducing the country’s carbon emissions from transport and improving air quality.”

Call for evidence

The Committee is calling for written evidence on the following:

  • what role rail decarbonisation can make to the Government’s wider commitments on air quality to 2040;
  • whether there is adequate financial and other support from the Government for the development of alternatively fuelled rolling stock;
  • how the industry is responding to the challenge of a carbon-free transport future by 2040 and developing technologies to achieve that;
  • what challenges there are to deploying alternatively fuelled rolling stock on the GB rail network, particularly given issues with standards and loading gauge;
  • what passenger benefits alternatively fuelled rolling stock could provide;
  • whether alternatively fuelled rolling stock would be cost effective compared to EMUs over a 25-40 year life-cycle; and
  •  what the train interior of the future needs to have to ensure continued growth in rail travel, particularly amongst young people and future generations and to be fully accessible to all.

The deadline for written submissions is 23 May 2019.

 Further information

Image: PA

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