The RSSB is to launch two funding competitions later this month in support of a government-led initiative to remove diesel trains from Britain’s railways by 2040. Worth more than £2 million, the two projects will look to support research into energy-efficient and zero-carbon technologies. A £1 million RSSB-funded research competition will fund feasibility studies and demonstrator projects which could help work towards the decarbonisation of the industry, specifically high-speed passenger trains, freight and energy storage and distribution. RSSB is also jointly funding a separate Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) call with InnovateUK worth more than £1 million. The two initiatives will be launched at the University of Warwick on 30 October. In February this year, rail minister Jo Johnson stated his desire to see all ‘diesel-only’ trains removed from the network by 2040. The specific reference to ‘diesel-only’ suggests that diesel bi-mode trains – such as Great Western Railway’s Class 800s or Greater Anglia Class 755s – aren’t included in the 2040 deadline. Giulia Lorenzini, RSSB partnerships manager, said: “RSSB is proud to be working with the wider industry to develop and deploy energy efficient, zero-carbon technologies. “Amongst all transport modes, rail is one of the lowest contributors of CO2 emissions, yet there is still a lot to be improved. RSSB is keen to support the industry’s goal to become the world leaders in delivering low carbon transport solutions. Therefore, we hope that the event and funding opportunities that we are launching on 30 October will encourage lots of intelligent, novel ideas and cross-sector knowledge transfer, in order to meet the critical challenge of decarbonising and making rail more energy efficient.”
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The facility will become TMH's only production site in Africa. It will be used to assemble, maintain and refurbish diesel and electric locomotives as well as coaches for South Africa and the rest of the continent.