Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said about the Government’s plans to phase out diesel-only trains by 2040:

“Phasing out diesel-only trains is an important step. But achieving the transition to a low carbon transport network will require the introduction of a mix of different technologies and policies.

“The Government has outlined plans to phase out diesel trains by 2040 and over the course of the next 20 years we may see the introduction of hybrid trains using diesel and battery technologies as well as hydrogen trains on lines where electrification is cost prohibitive. In the interim it may be appropriate to retrofit technology, such as stop-start functionality on existing diesel locomotives, reducing emissions while trains are standing at platforms.

“There is also the option of bi-mode trains that can run on both electrified and diesel lines, however these have higher capital and maintenance costs than pure electric trains and as they are heavier they also emit even more emissions than diesel trains, when operating in diesel mode.”

Read the Institution’s report A Breath of Fresh Air: New Solutions to Reduce Transport Emissions