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Greener Trains

The vast majority of Govia’s carbon emissions result from traction electricity used to power electric train fleets

Improving efficiency in this part of our business is key to us achieving our carbon reduction targets. We have made good progress through a number of initiatives.

Regenerative braking

We were the first rail operator to introduce regenerative braking on the third rail system. Usually when a train brakes, energy is lost generating heat in the brake pads.

Through regenerative braking, the waste heat is turned back into electricity. It is estimated that 16% of electricity is recycled back in to the electric grid through regenerative braking – saving around 16,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Energy meters

London Midland was the first UK train operating company to equip its electric train fleet with energy meters. The equipment, which resembles household electricity meters, has been installed on 100 trains.

It records energy usage every minute and is supported by back-office software which produces data showing which trains are using the most and least electricity.

The meters will enable London Midland to only pay for the electricity it uses and provide data to monitor and manage usage and levels of eco-driving. Currently electricity charges are based on estimated by infrastructure provider Network Rail.

The introduction of eco-driving techniques at all our companies has also helped to improve rail energy efficiency and we are reviewing some new initiatives such as:

  • Standardising auto shutdown timers – this will reduce the time engines are left running when trains are stabled, and during station turnarounds.
  • Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) – this is a kind of sat nav for trains, potentially making journeys more energy efficiency and helping drivers maintain the timetable.
  • Class 350 ‘Sleep Mode’ – switching off the air conditioning when trains are empty.
  • Fuel additives – to clean engines and make them run better.

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