On 17 September, the Rail Alliance and Birmingham Centre for Rail Research (BCRRE) delivered the UK’s first rail decarbonisation event at Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC), a test and trial centre of excellence and fast becoming recognised for the concentration of green railway technologies being developed there.
The subject of decarbonisation has never been more topical than it is now. However, this is not a new concept with many scientists and action groups campaigning for industry and government to wake up to the pending global catastrophe that now looms. Championing sustainability and decarbonisation is a major focus for Rail Alliance and BCRRE and recognising the urgent need for an industry platform where discussion and the sharing of knowledge and information could take place, Destination Decarbonisation was born.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050 under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change. However, according to leading rail experts in sustainability and rolling stock, Britain’s railways could remove diesel-only passenger trains from the network and make substantial progress towards decarbonising their operations by 2040.
Destination Decarbonisation provided an excellent opportunity for delegates to meet and hear from industry experts and leaders as well as to find out more about the practical solutions in the vibrant and dynamic expo area including real examples of working technology in the form of the HydroFLEX – the UK’s first hydrogen train launched three months ago at Rail Live, in addition to Vivarail’s battery train – a company leading the way with the first modern production battery train in the UK and continuing to make leaps and bounds in its development programme to improve battery technology for trains. An additional highlight for visitors was provided by Porterbrook with the Innovation Hub – a unique solution to showcasing the latest passenger focus products from over 25 suppliers, many of them UK SMEs.
The event also drew the attention of several high profile visitors and speakers including Jeremy Hotchkiss, Deputy Director Rail Group, Department of Transport (DFT)and Mark Gaynor, Head of Railway and Planning, Rail Delivery Group (RDG). It was also notable that MP Lilian Greenwood – Member of Parliament for Nottingham South attended along with several other member of the Transport Select Committee, of which she also Chairs.
Written by Eli Rees-King.