A report published by Railway Industry Association (RIA) has found that electrification works in the UK can be delivered at a cost 33%-50% lower compared to previous upgrade projects.
The report utilised domestic and international instances to demonstrate that the cost of railway electrification has fallen. It also noted that with a rolling programme of work, the costs can be reduced even further.
Railway Industry Association technical director David Clarke said: “The Railway Industry Association’s Electrification Cost Challenge shows how rail electrification can be delivered at 33%-50% of the cost of some past projects if the Government commits to a rolling programme of work.
“Electrification is clearly the optimal solution for intensively used railway lines, and should be seen as the priority choice in a hierarchy of options if the government is serious about decarbonising the rail network by 2040.”
Welcoming the report, Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “The most recently completed schemes demonstrate that we’ve made good progress in reducing the cost of electrification.
“This report takes the debate forward, brings insight to the challenges and solutions for successful delivery and illustrates that we can sustain a hard-earned level of industry capability through efficient investment in electrification.”
In July 2017, the government cancelled a number of electrification projects citing high costs.
Accordingly, RIA urged the UK Government to collaborate with the rail industry and re-commence electrification works.
The report also highlighted the benefits of railway electrification, which includes mitigating carbon emissions and noise pollution.
Additionally, electrification will lead to lower operating costs long term, as well as reduce disruptions and delays in services as electric trains are more reliable than diesel trains.