low carbon locomotive

A new low carbon locomotive design launched by Nuclear Transport Solutions’ (NTS) rail division is to be presented at this year’s Low Carbon Logistics event in Mossend, Scotland

The Low Carbon Logistics event was developed as part of this year’s COP26 programme, to observe innovation in the rail freight sector and showcase its environmental benefits.

The 26th annual UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, is an international summit focusing on climate change, stimulating discussion and policy-making amongst governments, scientists and environmental experts.

The rail industry is a mass contributor to carbon emissions. Making up 1.4% of national emissions in 2018, the freight train sector consumed 18-kilotonnes of carbon emissions as of 2020 alone.

“Boosting British business while cutting carbon

The new green design for Direct Rail Services’ (DRS) 68006 highlights the environmental benefits of rail freight and how a diesel locomotive can significantly reduce its carbon emissions when using HVO fuel.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), is a direct replacement for traditional diesel and is one of the cleanest fuels available. Supplied by Crown Oil, this synthetic, advanced renewable diesel alternative eliminates up to 90% of carbon and significantly reduces nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide emissions.

Seth Kybird, NTS CEO, said: “We’re launching this new livery as a real visual reminder that rail is the most environmentally friendly way to transport goods and using this fuel its carbon dioxide figures are amazingly low.

“Rail is already 76% less polluting than road and if successful this trial will show that using this type of fuel rail can play a huge part in the UK in achieving net carbon zero.

“We already have our excellent Class 88 bi-mode electric locomotives, but this fuel could provide an alternative where the overhead electric wires are not available, which opens up 62% of the network to extremely low CO2 freight.”

The process

Nuclear Transport Solutions is running a trial of the fuel using traditional Class 66s and now also in this special Class 68 – which has become the UK’s most advanced diesel locomotive – to demonstrate the process towards achieving net-zero carbon.

Trains will travel across Scotland from Inverness to Mossend delivering vital supermarket goods in a six-week trial, travelling the 340-mile round trip, with its newly reduced carbon dioxide emissions. They are to travel over 12,000 miles and deliver over 1,440 containers.

Steve Hardy, Director of Environment for the NDA, said: “This trial of a diesel replacement has the potential for a very large reduction in carbon footprint and is an important part of our carbon reduction plans. It’s extremely exciting, and the learning from the trial will be shared with all our other business in the NDA group.

“These trials, which may lead to different ways of working, are vital as part of our route to carbon net-zero. In the trial, we estimate a saving of over 284,203 kg CO2e when compared to diesel fuel. This is a significant saving and represents a huge step towards net carbon rail freight using existing locomotives.”

Revolutionising railway operations and pushing DRS to the forefront of environmentally friendly transport, this project helps complete the cycle of low carbon electricity when transporting spent nuclear fuel or ensuring supermarket goods are transported with minimal carbon emissions.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris added: “This is what building back greener is all about, boosting British business while cutting carbon. Rail is one of the most eco-friendly ways to transport goods and this trial helps make it even cleaner, helping us hit our net-zero targets on transport.

The locomotive’s new name, the Pride of the North, is a symbolic tribute to DRS’s work in Scotland and northern England.


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