Posted January 05, 2020 12:04:10A rail line is already under construction in the U.K. to connect the Midlands with the North Sea, and one of the biggest obstacles to the plan has been the cost of the electrification.
But now that the British government has finally approved the project, it’s likely that we’ll see electric-powered trains in the future.
The British government’s announcement of the project this week means that electrification is finally on the table.
“It’s a project that’s been around for a long time, that has got support from governments and publics,” U.N. climate expert Nick Lonsdale told the BBC.
“We can see the UK as a place that’s very keen to move forward and we think it’s important to have that momentum.”
The United Kingdom will soon begin construction on a line linking Birmingham to Southampton in the West Midlands, and it’s a route that has already been built by rail in Germany and France.
The line is part of a network that will connect the country with Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany’s southern border with Austria.
The British government says that the project will be able to power 1,000 electric vehicles, including 400 buses, by 2025.
But the company behind the project—Oxford City Council—has said that only 50 percent of the buses will be powered by electric propulsion.
In the meantime, the line is slated to be completed in 2021.
That’s only a year late.
The project has been in the works since the early 2020s, but it was delayed due to cost overruns and delays in funding.
“There is a great deal of work to be done, a great amount of cost to be paid, and a great opportunity to build a new rail line,” Oxford City Council spokesman Ben Tuckett told Ars.
“In some respects, the project has now gone ahead as a result of those problems.”
Tuckett said that it’s not too late to start the project now.
“The rail line has been around since the mid-1990s, and we’ve had many, many applications for it,” he said.
“As the line gets further along and the project gets funded, it will be possible to start construction as soon as 2021.
The main thing is that the local community has supported the project and it can now move forward.”
In addition to its electric-rail line, the United Kingdom also plans to build an electrified bridge across the English Channel to the Netherlands.
The bridge, which is currently in construction, is expected to carry at least 200,000 vehicles a year.
The cost of construction is estimated to be around $8 billion, but Oxford City council says it’s more likely to cost $18 billion.
Tucketts said that if the project goes ahead, the new bridge will help to ease congestion along the English coast.
“By having a new bridge over the English channel, we’ll be able more easily move around the country in a less congested way,” he told Ars in an email.
“This will also give us more time to look at how we can reduce our impact on the environment.”