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Delivering Net Zero Stations

Railway stations are a hub of activity within the rail network and communities they serve. Decarbonising stations and their infrastructure is critical in helping the rail sector reduce its carbon footprint. But how can stations best enable the transition to net zero?

Simon Woods, Business Development Director at EQUANS was at the TransCity Rail Midlands Conference on 10 February where he joined a panel of industry experts to explore the best solutions to support the decarbonisation of stations.

“The rail industry is perfectly positioned to help accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero” he told the audience. “Already a low-carbon mode of transport, there are further opportunities to deliver sustainable, decarbonised station infrastructure to support passengers back on the network.” 

He went to explain some of the core considerations in reducing the carbon footprint of all stations which infrastructure owners can use to develop decarbonisation strategies:

  • Energy consumption - minimise the energy consumed in station premises by introducing simple ‘quick wins’ such as improvements to insulation, upgrades to LED lighting, boilers or heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, alongside more intelligent controls to ensure energy is not wasted.
  • Energy sourcing – install low or zero carbon energy sources in station to generate power onsite, for example, utilising suitable roof canopy space, disused platforms or adjacent land for installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for local electricity generation. These may be used in conjunction with other onsite electricity generation options like combined heat and power (CHP) and wind turbines for larger sites. Where this isn’t possible then sourcing renewable electricity.
  • Energy storage - Depending on the site and its energy usage patterns, there may be significant benefits to incorporating energy storage, enabling stations to retain the electricity they generate onsite and then use it when required.
  • Sustainable infrastructure – in addition to targeted decarbonisation, stations can also have a role in encouraging wider forms of sustainable transportation through the introduction of bicycle facilities and dedicated electric vehicle charging facilities.

“Overall, achieving successful decarbonisation will require a coordinated approach” Simon concluded. “To enable broader decarbonisation, barriers to funding and procurement will also need to be overcome. By taking a holistic approach, stations can avoid overspending on capital at the outset, ensuring they only invest in the technology and systems required to achieve net zero status.” 


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