Driving Change: Rail – Part two

Greening your supply chain is a fundamental step in achieving your carbon reduction goals.   Gillian Upton explores in this Driving Change series.

Despite months of strikes in the UK, train operating companies are in the limelight for a good reason and that is because rail is the greenest choice of transport; a single train takes 500 cars off the road.

Fly London-Paris and the flight emits 58 kilos of carbon; take Eurostar and it’s only 4 kilos.

But hampering that modal shift is rail’s plethora of ticket options, patchy availability of e-ticketing and the slow electrification of rail.

Rail is set to be decarbonised by 2035 and the long-distance operators are generally ahead of the curve. One such is LNER which runs trains up and down the East Coast mainline from busy London right up the east side of England to Inverness.

Data on rail’s carbon emissions is about to improve immeasurably for buyers later this year as the Rail Delivery Group’s major Green Travel Pledge initiative will launch a single viewpoint of data which enhances the Defra data with new data sets including engine type, fuel type and distance, number of carriages and load factors by class. The data will also measure rail over air and allow buyers to make informed decisions.

European rail is ahead of the game with the likes of Deutsche Bahn buying 13,000 tons of renewable diesel from Neste for its fleet, claiming that it will reduce emissions by approximately 46,000 tonnes. The Neste Renewable Diesel is produced from renewable raw materials such as cooking oil, can be used in diesel powered vehicles without any engine modifications and has no capacity issues according to Peter Zonneveld, VP Europe and APAC at the company.

Another positive move is the current integration of the Thalys network under the Eurostar brand, which will be complete by the year end and unify the network to become the backbone of sustainable high-speed rail across five European countries.

Greening your supply chain - rail 3

First published in Blue Magazine, Summer 2023

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