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Network Rail investigates some value-for-money alternatives

Network Rail is to look at three alternative rail solutions as part of efforts to deliver a better-value-for-money railway.

Tram and train, community rail initiatives and more innovative ways of replacing diesel traction with electrically powered trains will all be studied in more detail as part of the company’s alternative solutions route utilisation strategy (RUS).

To further develop the strategy, an invitation is being made to all of Network Rail’s partners, customers and other interested industry parties to submit their ideas.

Network Rail said in a statement that this approach differs from previous RUS processes, adding that submissions will help shape a second draft that will go out to formal consultation in the summer.

Paul Plummer, Network Rail’s group strategy director, said: ‘The railway industry faces a constant challenge to deliver value for money. It is only by rising to that challenge that the industry can continue to play a significant role in transporting people and goods in an efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

‘This draft RUS is an opportunity to further explore three key areas that could help us achieve these objectives. All responses received will be considered and will help influence a second draft, which will be published for consultation later in the year.’

The consultation will last for 60 days starting on Tuesday 28 February and closing on 30 April 2012.

Network Rail says it will write to a range of partners and interested parties informing them of the consultation and asking them to submit their ideas to

Readers' comments (3)

  • How old are the railways now? Isn't it time it was all superseded by a superior system?

    4' 8.5" is too small... need very heavy carriages... needs flat terrain... no redundancy with two rails as it is...

    Basic move to vertical rails which are both captive.... lightweight carriages... up and down no problem... re-use of railway land below... driverless... etc.

    Once a decent points arrangement has been cracked then it starts to have great advantages... I think I know how to do that, but just need the odd billion of investment!

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  • No, it is not time that railways were superseded. On the contrary, rail vehicles offer low friction, low resistance to rolling, which translates directly into a lower energy requirement.

    Rail transportation, when well managed, is reliable and (compared with road transport) safe and economically sound. It is a tried and proven solution. As the population density increases the economics and logistics of a relatively basic but dense and extensive rail transportation system consistently offers more advantages. By relatively basic I mean current technology which is affordable, not "high speed" technology.

    The current situation of roads and motorways clogged by millions of inefficient road vehicles, pumping out emissions even when they are locked in a traffic jam and going nowhere, simply cannot continue. Think about it! The internal combustion engine as we know it, is terribly inefficient and obsolete. Yet we, (all of us) continue consuming fuel and pumping out emissions as if tomorrow will never come! The truth is that tomorrow is here and now and the younger generations of today will have to live within the environment that previous generations have created.

    It is too bad that when the lines cut by Dr. Beeching were ripped up, the government did not at least retain the rights-of-way. Many of the once sleepy villages on lines with almost no passengers (then) are today dormitory communities desperately in need of commuter rail transport. How short-sighted was the Beeching Plan!! How short-sighted are so many of our governments strategies!!

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  • I agree with you about Beeching, but that makes my point.... We need a captive system that can be introduced and removed with relative ease!

    Plus here's a chance to overcome the classical problems with the current system. I was also assuming that the vertical system proposal did not need to use its wheels under normal running!

    By the way... as the IC engine replaced the problem of the horse, it too will be replaced! I used to think it was to be the electric vehicle, but it's more likely to be the internet.... when are they going to get us all glassed up!?

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