26 Sep 2022

National Rail Carbon Footprint Study Released

A study commissioned by RISSB to estimate carbon emissions associated with the Australian national rail network has found that 90% of emissions are related to rail traction; diesel used in freight locomotives and electricity consumed in passenger rolling stock are the most significant emission sources in industry and a modal shift from road to rail is key to decarbonising the transport sector.

The study concluded that a decarbonisation pathway to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 would be driven by five decarbonisation strategies:

1 Regulatory change and modal shift to rail
2 Energy efficiency in traction and facilities
3 Adoption of low and/or zero emissions emerging technologies
4 Electricity from renewable sources with emphasis on power purchases and generation
5 Carbon offsets (minimal).

The findings will be used as starting point to inform RISSB’s own annual workplan development and the national rail network, participants of the emissions estimates, the main emission sources and the key levers to achieve net zero by 2050. The findings will also assist in the review and update of existing RISSB Standards.

The National Rail Carbon Footprint study is available for members to download from Grand Central.

Data from 14 major rail transport operators, representing approximately 85% of the national rail network, were asked to contribute to the report.