Passenger operators’ CO2 emissions fall in 2017-18
Harmful carbon dioxide emissions caused by Britain’s railways fell in 2017-18 for passenger and freight operations.
Statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on October 18 reveal that passenger services generated 6.9% fewer CO emissions per passenger-kilometre in 2017-18 than in previous years.
Passenger services used 3.5% more electricity than in 201617 - 3.64 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) - but 1.1% less diesel, with 496 million litres used. Overall, the passenger railway produced 2,765 kilotonnes in 2017-18, down 6.6% from the previous year. The ORR credits this improved environmental performance to a transition towards renewable energy sources in the electricity sector.
Emissions from the freight sector remained broadly similar to previous years, although the amount of electricity used increased by 13.8% to 66 million kWh, and the amount of diesel consumed fell by 2.5% to 197 million litres. The freight sector created 605 kilotonnes of CO emissions (down 2.9% compared with 2016-17) and 33g CO per tonne-kilometre (an increase of 0.4%). The ORR says the decrease in CO emissions is due to some freight operators running more trains with electric traction.
The rail infrastructure, assets and environmental statistical release also shows that three new stations opened (at Cambridge North, Ilkeston and Low Moor), and that 36% of the rail network is now electrified, with a total of 5,766km (3,583 miles) powered by electricity.
The rail network has 15,878km of routes open for traffic, with a total of 31,046 track-kilometres.
The overall size of the network increased by 67km in 2017-18, although the ORR says this could be due to a move to a new system used by Network Rail (through which a number of data improvement and cleansing actions were undertaken), rather than “an actual physical change on the ground”.