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Rail to cut energy costs with modal shift

NEW YORK: The International Railway Association (UIC) says its 240 members operating on six continents will reduce energy consumption 50 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2050 based on a 1990 baseline.

The UIC says the group will also reduce CO2 emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050 based on the same timeline.

To achieve this, the association says its members are expanding the use of electrification, improving load factors, procuring more efficient rolling stock, developing energy and traffic management systems and efficient driving.

Etihad Rail 2The UIC cites a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption in Norway following the installations of energy meters on trains that are already compulsory in Germany; a deal by Dutch Railways to only use electricity supplied from new sources of renewable energy by 2018; and a planned reduction in the U.K. of over two million tonnes of of carbon in 10 years by installing driver advisory systems on diesel and electric trains.

With rail networks in Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria "almost carbon free", the UIC says the European rail sector has doubled its use of renewable electricity between 2005 and 2010 and now accounts for 28 percent of all electric traction.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC director general commented: "Climate change is the defining issue of our times. Rail offers an important part of the solution because of its very low carbon intensity. Based on expert analysis of transport energy consumption and carbon emissions by the International Energy Agency, UIC has set three targets; improve efficiency, decarbonise power and achieve a more sustainable balance of transport modes."

In a bid to encourage a modal shift from road to rail, UIC members plan to increase their traffic to equal expected road volumes by 2030 and be 50 percent greater by 2050.

To achieve this the association says national governments and transport authorities will have to invest in high-speed rail to reduce road and air traffic, and introduce new freight corridors to support economic development.

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