A ‘dummy’ question?

Readers may have noticed that I do not post on ‘matters environmental’ because it is a subject about which I have not investigated and consequently know not much about – at least, not to write about.

However this link, courtesy of an email correspondent, caught my eye about HS2 and the carbon savings that would be made were road freight traffic to be transferred to rail.

When considering HS2, coupled with all the other planned rail electrification that is being undertaken – of which the London/Cardiff would appear to be the latest – the question I pose is: what is the source of all this electricity that will be required? Renewable energy?

From what I read it would seem that renewable energy does not produce sufficient electricity to – paraphrasing – keep a candle burning for five minutes.

Just asking……………….


6 Responses

  1. microdave says:

    Business Green is an offshoot of the Grauniad, and so is completely biased in favour of Renewable Energy. I suspect they seized on this because of the alleged carbon savings and the need to meet EU reductions. Hence the promotion of another daft EU idea…

    The trouble is that it’s all predicated on industry actually transferring their distribution to rail. In reality the modern “just in time” production methods need direct factory to factory supplies, and having to transfer from truck to rail and back again just won’t happen. Rail is really only suitable for moving large quantities between sites near (or beside) rail track. Traditionally this was coal, and mined products, but that is hardly what the “Eco” brigade want.

    As for wind and solar supplying the power needed, they can’t do that now, so perhaps we can look forward to trains including huge battery cars to cover the dark & windless days. But more weight needs more power to pull it, and so on…

  2. Dave_G says:

    The figures quoted for CO2 savings amount to approximately 1/1000th of one percent of UK annual CO2 output. I suppose for an expenditure of £32bn+ this could be considered a ‘bargain’?

  3. Dave_G says:

    My bad – that should be ONE TENTH of 1/1000th of 1 percent…….

  4. cosmic says:

    On any rational basis, HS2 is a vanity project (in line with EU aims) and if anything the justification has been reducing passenger journey times, nothing to do with freight. CO2 savings have not been mentioned hitherto to my knowledge.

    It seems like an ill-judged attempt to tack the climate bandwagon to the establishment bandwagon of HS2 and about as much use as claiming that gay marriage can be justified on ‘climate’ grounds.

  5. peter geany says:

    This makes my blood boil I have written to my MP over the Paddington to Cardiff electrification, which is the biggest abortion of a project they have ever thought up. The trains will have to be diesel electric hybrids because each journey will not be completed under electric power.

    Not only this when the morons calculate the power used they forget to include the efficiency of the generation plant, and overlook the grid loses. Add those in and the diesel trains actually run more efficiently. What’s more they are more reliable than the fancy electric trains that don’t like our weather. I use the great west route everyday to work, so there is no bull sh!tting me about improved journey times and all that when the bottleneck at Reading is our biggest issue(to be fair this is being addressed with a new station) along with signalling. Solve those and you could carve 30 minuets off the journey to Cardiff.

    I could go on and on about the waste on this line, with a 10 unit train with only 5 for normal passengers, 3 first-class that run empty and the remaining 2 for the power cars. We could have 6 or 8 unit diesel railcar type trains that can accelerate faster, travel at 125 mph be equipped with the same comfortable seats, that would give us extra capacity and be even lighter and more efficient. But oh no it has to be the over blown over expensive electrification. And as the diesels would comply to the latest emission regulations they would be supper clean (I don’t count CO2 as a pollutant) What’s more the clever people at Cummins engine company who manufacture in this country have worked out how to make a diesel engine seamlessly switch from diesel to gas and back again, so we could use some of our shale gas to power the trains making them even cheaper to run. The only way electrification makes sense is if we had 80% nuclear power. Rant over

  6. John says:


    Note that diesel fuel used in rail transport is a rebated fuel (Duty Rebated A2 Gas Oil), a situation which is due to change in the future.
    Buses also use a rebated fuel.

    Things are changing all the time….

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