Lancaster University

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Transport experts discuss professor’s rail research

10/04/2004 16:29:00

Lancaster University Professor of Engineering Roger Kemp has met with Government transport experts to discuss ways of making train travel more environmentally friendly.

Professor Kemp was invited to London to talk to the Department for Transport following publicity surrounding his research into the environmental efficiency of train travel.

In a presentation to a seminar of UK railway engineers held in April this year, Professor Kemp discussed global warming and the ways in which the UK could meet its long-term obligations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) when energy consumption by transport inexorably continues to rise. He suggested that in the rush to improve performance after privatisation, the rail industry had taken its eye off the ball as far as global warming was concerned.

For busy commuter routes into congested cities a train uses less energy – and thus causes lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – than if the passengers were to drive their own cars. However at the seminar he presented calculations for different transport modes for a London to Edinburgh journey showing that, on a per-seat basis, the energy consumed by a 200km/h train and an efficient diesel car are comparable.

His paper attracted the attention of the DfT who invited Professor Kemp to meet with them and the Department’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Frank Kelly, to discuss the steps that could be taken to make railways more energy efficient.