First UK biodiesel train launched

07 June 2007

ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman has hailed the first biodiesel train, which left Euston today for Llandudno at 1127, as a ‘major step forward for rail’ which will ‘make train travel indisputably the most environmentally friendly method of transport’.

The Virgin Voyager has been modified to uses a blended fuel which is 20% biodiesel - to reduce CO2 emissions without harming the engine.

‘I was pleased to see that the train was seen off by Gordon Brown. Gordon said he wants Britain to be a world leader in the development and use of environmentally-friendly fuels which will play a fundamental part in our efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

‘I hope he realises that in order to achieve this goal, government needs to assert far more influence over the industry than acting as an agent for letting our franchises. He also needs to reverse the situation where at present tax on clean fuels is higher than on dirty fuels ’

Biodiesel is a processed fuel derived from biological sources including rapeseed, soyabean and palm oil. It is biodegradable and produces less CO2 than conventional diesel.

During the six-month trial, the train will run from Birmingham to Scotland, across South Wales, North East England, the North West, the West Country, the South West and the South coast.

The experiment has been organised by Virgin Trains, the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

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