Graeme Paton has reported that Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, has said the electrification of the UK’s railway lines should be scaled back in favour of cheaper alternatives. In an interview with The Times, Mr Carne said technology was developing at such a pace that better reliability could be achieved with the introduction of new trains that are battery-powered. There are currently large numbers of hybrid trains being built, which run on a combination of electric and diesel power, negating the need for electrified lines. An analysis by a steering group led by Rail Delivery Group has “significantly” lowered its forecast for the amount of railway that needs to be electrified over the next 20 years, down from an estimated 67% a year ago to 63% today. In addition, it is predicted that the figure could fall to 58%. Mr Carne’s comments come after a critical assessment of the electrification of the Great Western mainline from London to Cardiff, which will be at least three years late and around £2bn over budget.
Image: Jeremy Segrott