Case Study: Catalysing a Green Recovery – Creating Jobs by Building Britain’s net-zero railway – Rail Delivery Group  

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) asked Oxera, IPEX and the NSAR to offer their economic and industry insights to establish what a programme of investment to decarbonise the nation’s railway could achieve. 

The analysis presented a decarbonisation programme drawn from the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) developed by Network Rail. IPEX used its non-electrified network model and The Network Rail TDNS team provided IPEX with information and assumptions relating to the electrification roll-out over the coming decades. This enabled them to develop a detailed electrification programme for the UK network that aligned to the TDNS from present-day up to 2050. IPEX applied the latest developments in alternative traction technology to its non-electrified network model. Taking the TDNS programme as a baseline, IPEX assessed the possible interim steps that could be taken in advance of electrification rollout, including the use of battery and hydrogen rolling stock where appropriate. This work programme generated a CAPEX profile that fed into the analysis.  

The estimation of the economic benefit, skills profile and geographical distribution of the roles created by the programme was based on analysis undertaken by NSAR, using their Skills Intelligence Model.  

The report showed that, far from being simply a cost to be borne, decarbonising the rail network is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that would create jobs and prosperity across every nation and region of the UK while building cutting edge skills and innovations to export globally. Substantial benefits would include:  

Around 6,000 jobs – with opportunities to level up, enhance the diversity of the rail workforce, and upskill people.  

Economic benefits of £2.2 billion generated by the roles needed to deliver a decarbonised railway.  

33 million tonnes of carbon not be emitted into the atmosphere between now and 2050.  

Air quality improvements are valued at a further £2.2 billion. 

It recommended that government needs to fund a long-term programme of electrification, alongside investment in hydrogen and battery technologies. This would be an investment in the railway, British jobs, and enterprise. A greener railway would drive sustainable economic recovery and growth, delivering a better future for all. 

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