© Earthly Gains Ltd 2017-2018

Trains of the Future

By Martin Gibson

(first published May 26, 2013) I travel a lot by train. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that you can travel while doing something else, like reading or using a computer (this was written while travelling on a train). There is also the positive issue that it is more fuel efficient than going by car, so the carbon emissions are much lower. However, train travel does have its drawbacks. On the system in the UK, there seem to be a lot of delays due to signal failure. There is no doubt that signalling is critical to the safe running of trains but the infrastructure involved seems to get ever more complex and no more reliable. This may, of course, simply be an impression, rather than reality but I doubt if many train users would disagree. At a recent event in London about a resilient energy system, I learnt that the normally staid train and track operators are thinking radically about what the future could hold. The event covered the resilience of energy supply generally but included a very informative talk on rail by Mark Gaynor of the Department for Transport. First, it explained the plans for electrification of more of the system. This will require considerable amounts of electricity but will, of course, dramatically reduce the use of diesel oil. The result should lead to an improvement in air quality, as long as electricity generation is done wisely. There is also considerable potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from rail travel, as long as the electricity comes from low carbon sources. Although the talk was mainly about energy on the railways, it was the view of the future that I found really encouraging. Despite the conservative nature of the rail industry, they have got together to think about the future. The future vision is for trains that communicate with each other and a central operational system. This will mean that the position of every train is known, so you should never see signs saying that your train is on time when it has been cancelled! Better knowledge of when trains are running can certainly reduce stress for those of us who might be waiting. The system will also allow more trains to run because they can safely be closer to each other. This means more trains on the same track and, hopefully, fewer overcrowded trains. There is a strategy document and even a video about the future. Let’s hope they start to deliver the future visions soon. Get in touch to discuss how incorporating rail into your business travel plans can have measurable benefits.
© Martin Gibson, trading as Earthly Gains, 2017
This page contains recent blog articles written by members of the Earthly Gains team or its associates.

Trains of the Future

By Martin Gibson

(first published May 26, 2013) I travel a lot by train. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that you can travel while doing something else, like reading or using a computer (this was written while travelling on a train). There is also the positive issue that it is more fuel efficient than going by car, so the carbon emissions are much lower. However, train travel does have its drawbacks. On the system in the UK, there seem to be a lot of delays due to signal failure. There is no doubt that signalling is critical to the safe running of trains but the infrastructure involved seems to get ever more complex and no more reliable. This may, of course, simply be an impression, rather than reality but I doubt if many train users would disagree. At a recent event in London about a resilient energy system, I learnt that the normally staid train and track operators are thinking radically about what the future could hold. The event covered the resilience of energy supply generally but included a very informative talk on rail by Mark Gaynor of the Department for Transport. First, it explained the plans for electrification of more of the system. This will require considerable amounts of electricity but will, of course, dramatically reduce the use of diesel oil. The result should lead to an improvement in air quality, as long as electricity generation is done wisely. There is also considerable potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from rail travel, as long as the electricity comes from low carbon sources. Although the talk was mainly about energy on the railways, it was the view of the future that I found really encouraging. Despite the conservative nature of the rail industry, they have got together to think about the future. The future vision is for trains that communicate with each other and a central operational system. This will mean that the position of every train is known, so you should never see signs saying that your train is on time when it has been cancelled! Better knowledge of when trains are running can certainly reduce stress for those of us who might be waiting. The system will also allow more trains to run because they can safely be closer to each other. This means more trains on the same track and, hopefully, fewer overcrowded trains. There is a strategy document and even a video about the future. Let’s hope they start to deliver the future visions soon. Get in touch to discuss how incorporating rail into your business travel plans can have measurable benefits.