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04 Sep 2008 05:09:48

Train firm coasting to emissions and cost cuts

Train firm coasting to emissions and cost cuts
Train companies, which have also been hit by fuel price rises, have found ways of cutting their costs and their emissions at the same time.

First TransPennine Express has ordered its drivers to let their trains freewheel down inclines by putting the engine into so-called Eco-Mode in order to save on fuel.

The initiative, which has also seen GPS controls installed in the 53-locomotive fleet to shut down engines on certain portions of track, has led to the operating company saving two million litres of fuel a year.

As well as cutting fuel use by seven per cent, the plan reduces daily emissions by 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the firm claims.

Motorists can cut their fuel and emissions by slowing down, but trains "have a timetable to stick to so slowing down trains is not a practical option", a spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies told the Daily Telegraph.

"However train drivers are being encouraged to 'coast' whenever possible, for example when going down hill. This entails easing off and letting the train use its own momentum where appropriate and safe to do so," he added.

Meanwhile, rail operator South West Trains is experimenting with a biofuel mix that is part diesel, soya beans and rape seed oil.

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