Wales set to get cleaner, greener trains in multi million investment
On the eve of the Cop 26 summit in Glasgow, Avanti West Coast has pledged to invest more than £100 million to replace 20 old polluting diesel trains in Wales with greener alternatives.
Trenitalia managing director Ernesto Sicilia said the company which co-owns Avanti West Coast, would buy 10 full electric and 13 hybrid trains for £117 million to reduce the carbon emissions from the company’s railways in the UK.
In the countryside, where the rail lines have no electricity, the hybrid trains will use diesel, switching to electric in cities to reduce urban pollution and carbon emissions.
“At Trenitalia, we are focused on both sustainability and maintaining excellence in operations whilst being a pioneer in cutting edge technology and resilient digital transport infrastructure,” he said in a speech while travelling to Glasgow.
“The pandemic highlighted the fragility of our old transport systems and models which, now more than ever, need to be completely re-orientated with a focus on the environment and sustainability.”
He added: “We have a long-term strategy for greener rail travel with the establishment of the Avanti Environment Council to reduce our carbon impact.
“We have made an investment to replace 20 Voyager diesel trains with a combination of 10 new electric trains and 13 new diesel-electric bimodal trains. Our goal is for our business to be net zero carbon by 2031.”
Despite rail travelling offering some of the greenest travel options to those wanting to move within the UK and into Europe, by 2020 only around 38% of the UK’s rail tracks were electrified, according to the Office of Rail and Road.
In 2020 Wales received the first electrified track on the route between Cardiff and London, but the electrification of around 60 miles of track from Cardiff to Swansea was shelved by then UK Government Transport Secretary Chris Grayling back in 2017 on cost grounds, despite potential operational and environmental benefits.
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