Avanti West Coast is set to invest more than £100 million to replace 20 old polluting diesel trains in Wales with greener alternatives, its co-owner has said. On the eve of the Cop 26 summit in Glasgow, Trenitalia managing director Ernesto Sicilia said that he would buy 10 full electric and 13 hybrid trains for £117 million to reduce the carbon emissions from the company’s railways in the UK.
The hybrid trains will use diesel in the countryside where the rail lines have no electricity, but in cities they will be able to switch to electric, reducing urban pollution as well as carbon emissions.
“At Trenitalia, we are focused on both sustainability and maintaining excellence in operations whilst being a pioneer in cutting edge technology and resilient digital transport infrastructure,” he said in a speech while travelling to Glasgow. The pandemic highlighted the fragility of our old transport systems and models which, now more than ever, need to be completely re-orientated with a focus on the environment and sustainability.”
He added: “We have a long-term strategy for greener rail travel with the establishment of the Avanti Environment Council to reduce our carbon impact. We have made an investment to replace 20 Voyager diesel trains with a combination of 10 new electric trains and 13 new diesel-electric bimodal trains. Our goal is for our business to be net zero carbon by 2031.”
Railways offer some of the greenest travel options to those wanting to move within the UK and into Europe. However by 2020 only around 38% of the UK’s rail tracks were electrified, according to the Office of Rail and Road. It was also not until 2020 that Wales got its first electrified track on the route between Cardiff and London