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More power, less energy for a modern rail network


6 min read

Close up of front carriage of Crossrail train Photo: Crossrail
Crossrail rolling stock – their light weight adds to their efficiency

Photo: Crossrail

London’s new Crossrail train service is a fine example of the environmental gains available from modern and highly efficient rail technologies. These also include hydrogen-fuelled units and updates to the ‘Maglev’ concept, reports Nick Cottam.

The Elizabeth Line adds 10% to London’s public transport capacity but what will it do for the environment and energy efficiency? Years of disruptive, noisy, energy guzzling and over-running construction may suggest not very much for some time into the future, but what the Crossrail Elizabeth Line delivers, right now, is the power of rail to provide a modern, reliable and convenient alternative to other transport modes.


As the public start using the service in large numbers, energy efficiency is the icing on the cake.


In its latest report on rail, published at the end of 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reminds us that rail is one of the most energy efficient and least carbon-intensive forms of transport. While rail is responsible for 9% of passenger movements in the world it only accounts for 3% of transport energy use.


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