Decarbonising transport in Britain to fight climate change for a better tomorrow.

Decarbonising the rail industry

Decarbonising the rail industry - listen to the podcast!

How do we go further and faster to decarbonise transport when looking at rail, an already green mode of transport? Find out more in our decarbonisation podcast where the all-female panel from Siemens Mobility, First Group and Costain discuss the challenges we must overcome together as an industry to achieve the UK’s net zero carbon goals.

We need to go further and faster to decarbonise transport in Britain and fight climate change

Transport is the largest emitting sector in the UK, responsible for over a quarter of emissions. We need to reduce these by rolling out digital technologies so that more people choose to travel by public transport. And under current plans, polluting diesel trains will still be running on our rail network by 2060. So we need to go further and faster by electrifying 300 miles of the rail network every year and introducing hydrogen trains as soon as possible. Doing so will combat climate change and reduce air pollution whilst enabling economic growth. Scotland is currently leading the UK with its efforts towards decarbonisation but to support the 2035 targets, urgent decisions need to be taken on which routes to prioritise for electrification. Analysis by Siemens Mobility has identified a further four routes that would benefit from hydrogen / battery trains, on top of the Scottish government's decarbonisation plans - read more in the press release.

Decarbonising transport

We know we need to encourage more people to choose lower carbon travel, and to decarbonise Britain’s rail network further and faster in order to meet the ambitious targets of the UK and Scottish governments to remove diesel trains from their networks by 2040 and 2035 respectively.


That’s why Siemens Mobility has developed the digital technologies that will help make it easier and more attractive for people to travel by rail, and the electrification and hydrogen train technologies that will cut the carbon emissions created by running the railway. 


The Scottish government’s current decarbonisation plans already include greener new trains for the West Highland lines, the Far North and Kyle of Lochalsh lines and the Stranraer line. A further four railway lines have been highlighted where partial electrification, using green bi-mode trains, could be used as an interim solution to full electrification and help Scotland meet their targets more quickly. These are: the Fife Circle, the Borders Railway, the Highland Mainline and the Aberdeen Mainline. See more on the map.



Making it easier for people to choose low carbon travel

Our digital technologies can make it much easier for passengers to plan their journeys, get up-to-date information and buy tickets for their whole journeys, from the first to the last mile. 


And through digitalisation of rail infrastructure, stations and trains, we can collect and harness the data that makes it possible for operators to run their network more efficiently and effectively. 


All of this helps make it easier and more appealing for people to choose to get out of their cars and on to trains.


Cutting carbon emissions created by running the railway

Polluting diesel trains still run on much of Britain’s rail network and, under current plans, they could still be operating in 2060, ten years after the UK’s legislative Net Zero date.


So we have developed modern, innovative technologies to electrify more of the rail network more quickly and want to see 300 miles (or 450 track kilometres) more electrified every year.


And we are also pioneering hydrogen train technology and the associated infrastructure so we can replace diesel trains sooner on parts of the network that are too difficult or costly to electrify in the coming years.

UK carbon emissions stats

0 %

of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are from transport*

0 %

of UK transport emissions come from road transportation*

1 / 3

emissions produced by a passenger train compared to a mile travelled in an average petrol car**

*Statista – Transport emissions in the UK  **Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail

Speed up electrification and introduce hydrogen trains

Act now or we'll miss our climate change targets says UKI CEO Will Wilson

To meet our climate change targets we need to go further and faster to get dirty diesel trains off the UK rail network.


Using modern, innovative electrification technologies and advanced hydrogen technology will do this more quickly. But it needs more than just a pledge and well-meaning words.


So we’re calling on the UK and devolved governments to commit to an ambitious plan to electrify at least 300 miles of track every year - starting now - and to bring in hydrogen and hydrogen-electric trains and associated infrastructure as soon as 2030.


There’s been much said about the short-range and low-speed of hydrogen trains. That’s simply incorrect. The hydrogen trains we are developing can easily travel at 100mph+, have similar acceleration to an electric train and have up to a 600-mile hydrogen-only range.


There has also been a lot of debate about the need to offer hydrogen OR electric technologies. Again, that’s misleading. They can be used in tandem to offer a well-rounded solution to the transport challenges of today.


What is absolutely clear is the need to act quickly. Our climate challenges are real and current, not something to be delayed or only partially-addressed.

At Siemens Mobility, we define sustainable development as the means to achieve profitable and long-term growth while internally balancing profit, people, and the planet. Therefore, we are contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development in four important ways:

  • through our products and solutions
  • through the responsible management of our own operations
  • through our expertise and thought leadership
  • through our Corporate Citizenship activities and community engagement

Siemens Mobility Limited Carbon Reduction Plan

To effectively combat global warming we all need to act quickly. This is why we have committed ourselves to being part of the solution not the problem. Using science-based planning, we have adopted a carbon reduction plan that will resonate right through Siemens Mobility, our supply chain, right down to the products that we produce. This is our way of firmly supporting the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and helping limit global warming to 1.5°C. You can read the Siemens Mobility Limited Carbon Reduction Plan here.

As well as getting the basics right to help people make informed choices and plan their journeys better – integration is key here. It’s also about choosing the right solutions and investing in the right areas – whether that’s electrifying our railway or looking at alternative traction options such as hydrogen.
Will Wilson, CEO Siemens Mobility Limited

Our latest decarbonisation news

Hear from some of our experts about the solutions we can offer for a more sustainable transport network

How we achieve more with less

Enabling positive impacts through our portfolio

As a company, we support our customers in decarbonising transport with rolling stock, rail infrastructure, intermodal solutions, rail services, and turnkey solutions. We play our part by utilising energy-efficient products and accelerating alternative propulsion systems that use battery or hydrogen technology. Our customers also enjoy the benefits of increased asset value through our lifecycle management strategy; this in turn reduces the ecological footprint of their operations.

Recent events

Have a look at our recent virtual events for deeper dives on our sustainability topics

Clean air for liveable cities (webcast)

In order to achieve a turn in transportation and make a significant contribution to climate protection, a combination of behavioral changes is needed - and we can all contribute. But it also needs attractive alternatives, such as efficient public transport or good cycling routes, and it needs new and smart technologies to support it all.”
Dr. Maike Schaefer, Mayor of Bremen


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