Our Low-Emission Railway

How is the railway becoming even greener?

The railway is already one of the greenest forms of travel. But did you know we’re working hard to make it even more environmentally friendly?

Watch this video to find out how we’re becoming more sustainable:

Our vision to serve Britain with the cleanest, greenest mass transport

We have a 30-year strategy for delivering a sustainable railway. We want to put you – our passengers – first. We also want to help you and freight users make green choices, support local communities and be a good neighbour. A low-emission railway is one of our four core priorities to achieve that. But what does it mean?

We’ll achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (and 2045 in Scotland) and deliver continual improvements to air quality so you, our neighbours and employees breathe healthier air.

All forms of domestic transport – rail, road, air – contribute more than a quarter
of the UK’s total carbon emissions. Rail is one of the lowest-carbon, greenest ways to travel, only contributing 1.4% to total UK transport emissions. But we can still make a big difference.

We’ll go greener through two programmes – one addressing carbon
emissions and pollutants resulting from powering trains, and one looking at other activities that emit carbon and impact air quality.

Infographic showing how rail travel emits far less carbon than other forms of travel

What changes are we making to help the environment?

Our efforts are wide-ranging and include:

  • keeping to ambitious science-based targets to cut carbon emissions and help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius
  • minimising our use of fossil fuels and transitioning to an industry powered by low-carbon energy
  • choosing what we buy and the suppliers we work with based on social value and sustainability
  • reviewing train timetables to ensure they don’t emit more carbon than necessary
  • continuing to electrify the railway and trial more environmentally-friendly trains, like those powered by batteries and hydrogen
  • moving from petrol and diesel road vehicles to ultra-low emission vehicles to access our sites
  • using more renewable energy and electrical vehicle charging points at our railway stations and everywhere we work
  • taking stock of the total emissions of our structures around the railway over their lifetime
  • improving how we design and build infrastructure to make it more carbon-efficient for the future.

Read more:

Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy

We Mean Green

Summer by rail – boosting economy and environment

World Environment Day 2021

Sustainable development at Network Rail

Network Rail sets world-first targets to combat global warming