A rail freight terminal in Northamptonshire is the first to demonstrate an overhead electrification system in the UK, helping lower the industry’s carbon emissions.
The Decarbonisation & Electrification of Freight Terminals (DEFT) project aims to demonstrate new ways to decarbonise rail and lessen the freight industry’s impact on passenger services.
A Moveable Overhead Conductor has been designed by engineers from Furrer+Frey GB where overhead equipment supplying power to the train can safely be moved away.
Once the train is in place these can safely move back into place once the train needs to move again.
The innovative system is being trialled at an aggregate facility in Wellingborough which is run by Tarmac in partnership with GB Railfreight.
The facility is located adjacent to the Midland Mainline which is currently being electrified and upgraded as part of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan.
If successful the moveable overhead system could be installed at freight terminals across the country.
Wendy Morton, Rail Minister, commented: “Making rail freight even more environmentally friendly helps us leap forward in our plans to build back greener and make the whole UK net zero by 2050.”
Noel Dolphin, head of UK projects at Furrer+Frey GB, said: “The electrification of freight terminals is the biggest technological hurdle to net zero rail freight and we have just overcome it.
“The demonstrator shows how we can plug freight yards into electrified rail lines and operate them safely and efficiently with the locomotives we already have – meaning greener, cleaner and better journeys.
“This moveable conductor system means trains pull in on electricity, disconnect from it to safely load and unload, then reconnect to travel on.
“I’m proud of our team and partners for getting us to this milestone moment today showing a greener future for the industry.”
Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, added: “Decarbonising transport has been highlighted as one of the key areas in which we can help achieve net zero across the construction industry.
“Supporting this exciting project is just the latest step in the ongoing development of our rail freight capabilities, which forms part of Tarmac’s wider commitment to reducing CO2 across the whole business.”
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