Trains no bigger than a single-decker bus could be rolled out across Britain under plans to cut emissions and reopen branch lines. The government is funding trials of an “ultra-light”, environmentally friendly train powered by gas from organic waste in place of a conventional diesel engine. The train, to be tested in the West Midlands, would run on conventional lines but cost half as much to build as a normal carriage and cause less damage to tracks because of the lighter load. It is hoped that the new generation of trains will make it far easier to operate small loss-making branch lines. It could even lead to the reopening of some of the 5,000 miles of railway shut as part of the infamous Beeching cuts in the 1960s and 70s. They could also run on tram lines in city centres. Attempts to clean and expand the railway are thought to be undermined by rocketing costs. Two years ago the government controversially scrapped plans to electrify lines in South Wales, the East Midlands and the Lake District because of funding concerns.
Times 14th June 2019 read more »