Electrification back on the agenda as costs could be slashed by up to half

The cost of electrifying UK railways could be slashed by between a third and one-half of recent schemes, according to a new report by the Railway Industry Association (RIA).

Better project planning, adoption of more efficient practices and a long-term commitment to a rolling programme of wiring could significantly reduce costs and make electrification a viable option again. Recent route upgrades such as the Great Western Main Line scheme have seen costs spiral out of control and led to Government and the Department for Transport cancelling further projects in 2017 in favour of bi-mode trains or other alternative sources of power. 

However, with the Government also challenging the rail industry to eliminate diesel-only trains by 2040, there is strong support for efforts to get electrification back on the agenda, particularly for intensively used routes such as the Midland Main Line. 

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt