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UK Trains Not 'green'?!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:05 pm
by cxsjr
In another thread, there is mention of BA getting a grilling from the media and Greenpiece over their new Gatwick - Newquay service and how this is irresponsible in the light of current efforts to control CO2 emissions etc.

How about our government, let alone Greenpeace, get onto the case of some of our train operating companies? ....

SRB's Virgin is a prime example: In years gone by, pre-privatisation, trains which ran on electrified lines were, mainly, electric powered trains. Since privatisation, Virgin (one of the companies which opted to run somes of our train services) ordered and took delivery of 34 Pendelino diesel trains which they run on routes such as, for example, Glasgow to Plymouth. This route is approximately 518 miles of which nearly 300 miles is 'under the wires' (electrified). In days gone by, this service would've been operated using an electric engine from Glasgow to Birmingham then changed over to a deisel engine in Birmingham.

OK so these Voyagers are probably a lot greener than the old diesels but surely the decision to buy these 'go anywhere' push/pull type trains as opposed to the more conventional engines and coaches is based purely on cost and with little (if any) consideration for the environment.

The same applies to GNER who run (amongst others) services from Kings Cross (London) to Inverness (approx 573 miles) and Aberdeen (approx 523 miles). In both these instances, 393 miles of the route is electrified but both services are run using old diesel trains when they could be run as far as Edinburgh with an electric engine then swapped for a diesel (a redundant class 67 for those of you who know?) for the rest of the journey. (I travelled from Kings Cross to Leeds (186 miles) two weeks ago - the whole route is electrified yet the service was run by a 25 year old HST desiel train!).

It seems our government is unfairly over-targetting airlines when there are other organisations who need a little closer scrutiny too? Or, are the train operators, who appear to run services based purely on time and money (with little consideration for the environment), an 'inconvenient truth' of privatisation?

Opinions please?

RE: UK Trains Not 'green'?!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:51 pm
by Scorpio
Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
ordered and took delivery of 34 Pendelino diesel trains

Pendolinos are electric.

Furthermore, pollution is not so much determined by whether or not the trains are electrically powered, but by the amount of energy they use per passenger. Remember, the electricity to power the electrical trains has to come from somewhere too! The trains used now are modern diesel trains (the Voyagers) and probably as environmentally friendly as can be for a diesel. But they are also faster, and don't require an engine change in the middle of the trip, further reducing the time needed. Faster and more comfortably service => more passengers => less cars on the road => less pollution.

BTW, any way you look at it, any modern train will still be a lot cleaner than a plane.

RE: UK Trains Not 'green'?!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:56 pm
by cxsjr
Quoting Scorpio (Reply 1):
Pendolinos are electric.

.... ooops, I meant Voyagers!

RE: UK Trains Not 'green'?!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:03 pm
by PlymSpotter
Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
34 Pendelino diesel trains which they run on routes such as, for example, Glasgow to Plymouth.

Although on a rough day, the Voyagers won't be able to make it past Dawlish because they are allergic to seawater! Big grin

The Voyagers are actually quite a green train; they use modern engines and thus produce fewer emissions than the 47's or 125's previously used, which come to think of it isn't exactly hard! But, the actual passenger comfort is dreadful, not only are the seats cramped, the engines being beneath the floor produce significant vibrations, especially when stationary and I know I'm not alone in finding this very annoying on three or four hour trips, let alone 11 or so hours from the SW to Scotland. The previous trains were either loco hauled, or had a power car at each end, so you could expect as smooth a ride as the track could give you, which is normally pretty good.

Dan Smile