The Anonymous Widower

Porterbrook: Modified Trains Have A Role To Play

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine

Poterbrook are talking about reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The problem is that building a new electric train produces around 146 tonnes of CO2, whilst maintenance produces around 2-3 tonnes of CO2 annually.

  • CO2 produced in a 20 year lifetime in construction and maintenance is 196 tonnes or 9.8 tonnes per year.
  • CO2 produced in a 40 year lifetime in construction and maintenance is 246 tonnes or 6.15 tonnes per year.

So if you can prolong the useful life of a train by modifying the train at say twenty years, you could save carbon dioxide emissions.

Surely, this calculation must work for cars, earth-moving equipment and food-mixers.

The longer something lasts, the less will be the CO2 emissions per year.



April 6, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. This suggests that the idea of adding extra carriages to trains like Meridians and Voyagers with pantograph for electric operation over electrified routes would be a greener solution than scrapping them .

    Comment by Melvyn | April 6, 2020 | Reply

    • I would agree!

      Comment by AnonW | April 6, 2020 | Reply

      • Most train enthusiasts seem to like modifying these older trains but I strongly disagree. The HST’s for scotrail are way late and ended up being almost as expensive as new Hitachi trains. The vivarail trains have had disastrous reliability. Plus there are massive advantages to be gained by simplifying the fleet. Northern should go to an all CAF fleet and LNER shold go to all Hitachi. Also doesn’t this reinfornce the notion that places outside London get treated as second class citizens?

        Comment by William McIntyre | April 7, 2020

  2. If I remember correctly, ScotRail got the short HSTs as there was a survey and the public liked the idea. The best rural trains we have in the UK are the Stadler 755 trains running in East Anglia, which can be upgraded to battery operation. They can also run longer distance express services as well.

    It was said in one rail magazine, that the v755s were financed by Norwich Union, by the investment of pension pots.

    Comment by AnonW | April 7, 2020 | Reply

    • The public likes the idea because the older trains have better seats. The correct response is to have nice seats in the new trains.

      Comment by William McIntyre | April 7, 2020 | Reply

      • There’s little wrong with Greater Anglia’s seats, but then they were chosen by the operator.

        Comment by AnonW | April 8, 2020

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