Now Mechanical Engineers Call for Shift to Rail

05 March 2008

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) yesterday called for a ‘modal shift’ from road to rail. This, the Institute concluded, is essential if greenhouse gas emissions are to be curbed.


ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman said, ‘The evidence is utterly conclusive, and it’s reinforced on an almost daily basis by prestigious authorities. The government needs to become directly involved in issues like fares, overcrowding and freight. It should give up its role as concerned spectator and stamp its authority on a service that is essential to the public and vital for the planet.’


Confirming that train journeys can produce about 10% of the carbon emissions generated if the same trip is made by air, the Institute insists that there must be ‘substantial investment’ in the railways to provide security, integration and reliability.


Cliff Perry - vice president of IMechE's Railway Division and a former head of Thameslink under British Rail – says, ‘We have ambitious government targets for transport emissions, but transport emissions are static. 85% of transport emissions come from roads, so if we are serious about doing something, we must hit road transport.’


IMechE considers the ‘modal shift’ must also include new high-speed lines.


‘The frustrating thing about all this is that everyone agrees what should be done – but no one does it,’ said Keith Norman. ‘We don’t want sympathy from the government. We want decisive action.’

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