John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, October 16, 2005
  Energy efficiency and Railways
One issue which is not really studied much is the question of energy usage and railways. One figure quoted to me is that the newer community rolling stock in the South East uses 33% more energy than that which it replaced.

The challenge is that the strength of the carriages has been increased such that much more energy is used to move passengers. I have not been able to source the allegation, but it is alleged that Japanese Rolling Stock uses 50% of the steel that UK Rolling Stock uses.

The issue here, of course, is one of safety. As a very frequent Rail user I want to feel safe when travelling particularly as I am not in any way in control of the situation. As a Driver I can take action to minimise risk, but as a Rail (Bus or Air) passenger there is little I can do.

I wonder, however, if we have actually ignored the question of energy efficiency on the Railways in recent years.

Still my favourite mode of transport is by train. I quite dislike driving as it is dead time that I can do little with.
 
Comments:
I share your preference for rail.

I see high-speed rail as the most likely sustainable alternative to short-to-medium distance flights. This makes the energy/safety trade-off even more pressing.
 
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