HomeRail NewsRSSB’s decarbonisation competitions launched

RSSB’s decarbonisation competitions launched

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On 30th October, over 150 delegates from the industry and research institutions attended RSSB’s “Intelligent Power Networks to Decarbonise Rail” conference held at the University of Warwick. This event considered how more energy efficient, zero-carbon technologies could be developed in response to the Transport Minister’s challenge to see all diesel only trains off the tracks by 2040.

The conference was a platform to launch to launch RRSB’s competition which makes up to £1 million available for feasibility studies and demonstrator projects that develop intelligent zero-carbon solutions focusing on high-speed train power, freight traction or the infrastructure to support such developments.

There was also further call for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (joint industry / research collaborations) to develop such solutions to be jointly funded by InnovateUK and RSSB.

The conference heard presentations on various promising developments including Alstom’s UK deployment of hydrogen trains, the joint initiative between Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham to convert a class 319 into a hydrogen train and the hybrid class 165 being developed by Angel Trains.

As electrification is outside the scope of the competitions, the event did not consider any innovations to improve its delivery or reduce CO2 from traction supplies. With electric trains comprising 72% of the UK passenger fleet this would seem to be one of the most effective ways of reducing the industry’s CO2 footprint

It was explained that electrification was a matter for both Network Rail and the Railway Industry Association who have initiatives to reduce its cost. A speaker from Network Rail also advised that the company is to specify the requirement to minimise CO2 in is contracts for electricity supply.

The industry will shortly respond to the Transport Minister’s challenge to remove diesel only trains. As well as mentioning the initiatives mentioned at this conference, sources indicate that this will also highlight the benefits of electrification.

Further information about the competitions launched at the conference are available at: rssb.wavecast.io/carbfreerail.

Read more: First UK tram-train service launched


David Shirres BSc CEng MIMechE DEM
David Shirres BSc CEng MIMechE DEMhttp://therailengineer.com

Rolling stock, depots, Scottish and Russian railways

David Shirres joined British Rail in 1968 as a scholarship student and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Sussex University. He has also been awarded a Diploma in Engineering Management by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His roles in British Rail included Maintenance Assistant at Slade Green, Depot Engineer at Haymarket, Scottish DM&EE Training Engineer and ScotRail Safety Systems Manager.

In 1975, he took a three-year break as a volunteer to manage an irrigation project in Bangladesh.

He retired from Network Rail in 2009 after a 37-year railway career. At that time, he was working on the Airdrie to Bathgate project in a role that included the management of utilities and consents. Prior to that, his roles in the privatised railway included various quality, safety and environmental management posts.

David was appointed Editor of Rail Engineer in January 2017 and, since 2010, has written many articles for the magazine on a wide variety of topics including events in Scotland, rail innovation and Russian Railways. In 2013, the latter gave him an award for being its international journalist of the year.

He is also an active member of the IMechE’s Railway Division, having been Chair and Secretary of its Scottish Centre.


  1. So how much money did this conference organiser give to multinational western logging companies to plant offset trees in the third world and pay off local villagers and tribes people in worthless Carbon Credits to allow them to rip up their homesteads.and wildlife habitat for construction timber.


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