Lower costsElectric trains are cheaper to operate than diesel - the purchase costs are lower, they are more energy-efficient, and they cost less to maintain. Investment in electrification is essential to provide additional capacity to accommodate rail travel growth without increasing the need for government subsidy.
Service improvementsRailfuture believes further electrification of main lines and urban networks throughout the UK will bring major improvements to services and the passenger environment. The 'sparks effect' of the improved service attracts more passengers to rail. Some minor lines should also be electrified to complete local and regional networks. The case for electrification is given in the Railfuture Electrification Paper (109KB) produced in January 2009, currently under revision.
Less pollutionRailfuture supports electrification. In comparison to diesel, electric trains provide a quieter, faster, more pleasant journey. They prevent pollution in towns and cities and are more reliable.
Electric rail for citiesRailfuture advocates a policy to develop electric urban networks with metro-style services to benefit all users and make a major contribution towards traffic reduction strategies.
The wider worldEven the Americans are waking up to the importance of conserving energy supplies by using electric traction for public transport. China is planning to expand its rail system from 43,000 to 62,000 miles. It will also electrify half that network.
When the oil runs shortFor an American-based analysis of the situation see: lightrailnow
It includes a link which allows you to download a 90-page report by Robert Hirsch on the energy crisis commissioned by the US Department of Energy.