Associate Feature: Hitachi Rail is putting Scotland’s decarbonised trains on the map ahead of COP26
I’m proud that Hitachi Rail helps make rail travel more pleasant, more reliable, and work towards climate change targets – Hitachi Rail’s involvement in Scotland and the success of the Class 385 train is testament to that.
Working in partnership with ScotRail, Transport Scotland and Network Rail, we have delivered a 100 per cent electric fleet, which is not just delivering shorter journeys or improving passenger satisfaction, but also offering zero-emission travel.
The Class 385 clearly demonstrates how the Scottish Government is decarbonising rail and encouraging modal shift. Showcasing momentum towards net zero is going to be an important theme in the run up to, and during COP26.
This is why Hitachi Ltd, as a principal partner of COP26, is looking forward to showcasing the Class 385 to the world.
COP26 delegates will use this zero-emission train to travel sustainably across the Scottish central belt during COP26 in Glasgow.
By doing this, they’ll see first-hand the benefits of public-private partnerships in rail can deliver real change.
However, showcasing prior progress is not enough. Another important theme for COP26 is scaling up ambition and action. The Scottish Government has already done this by setting the pioneering target of decarbonising rail by 2035.
Similarly, Hitachi has set our global targets, so we’re committed to achieving an 80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions through our value chain by 2050, and making sure that by the start of the next decade, we’re carbon neutral at all our business sites.
The ambition is there and the targets have been set. The next challenge and opportunities lie in delivery. To achieve the target of decarbonising rail by 2035, we need to start getting more zero-emission solutions onto Scotland’s railways in the quickest possible time frame.
In order to deliver these effectively and quickly, business nor government can do it alone. The best results, like we’ve achieved in Scotland, come from when both work together.
This is where the Class 385 is really in a class of its own. Analysis from Transport Scotland and ScotRail has shown that the introduction of the fleet has delivered a 10,000 tonne reduction per year in CO2 emissions across Scotland. It’s the equivalent of taking over 2200 cars off the road. Every year.
It’s an incredible achievement, and shows when businesses and government work together to embrace the green agenda, incredible results are possible.
But to really fulfil Hitachi Rail’s potential as a true leader in the sustainable transport space, we need to cast our net wider than simply building the latest generation of environmentally-friendly trains. We’re increasingly focusing on how ‘Mobility-as-a-Service’ can also deliver for the environment, governments and passengers.
Hitachi is determined to work on improving all stages of a person’s journey – from leaving the house to arriving at their destination. It’s about more than just one element of the journey; it’s about making the entire trip as seamless and sustainable as possible. Scotland is an ideal place for these types of services to be introduced.
Collaboration amongst the Hitachi Group gives us the potential to digitally integrate every part of a passenger journey. The constant digital communication between a train and bus allows for passengers to receive real-time journey updates around arrivals and departures.
Meanwhile, Hitachi’s e-ticketing can ensure passengers fare is automatically calculated at the end of every journey, without queuing or buying a ticket.
Hitachi can offer bus and train smart recharging solutions by utilising the excess electricity from solar panels or battery storage. Placing less strain on the electricity grid and optimising renewable energy generation.
Decarbonising Scotland’s railways by 2035 and implementing Mobility-as-a-Service is going to take a monumental effort from both business and government.
But that effort is both non-negotiable and exciting because transport is pivotal in reducing emissions and delivering modal shift.
Scottish passengers are already feeling the benefits of Hitachi Rail’s rail solutions. We want to continue our collaboration and delivering innovation so we can propel Scotland’s transport network onto the global stage as a model to follow.
Jim Brewin is head of Hitachi Rail for the UK and Ireland.
This article was sponsored by Hitachi Rail.