The managing director of Scotland’s Railway, the partnership between Abellio ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland, has called on the transport sector to decarbonise in memory of the Stonehaven rail crash victims.
Alex Hynes claimed Scotland was reminded of the “devastating impact of climate change” when three people were “tragically killed on our rail network”.
Hynes said climate change was to blame for the deaths last August, noting that the derailment was a result of extreme rainfall.
He was speaking at a low carbon logistics event, discussing how the industry can work together to decarbonise.
Hynes said: “I think the temptation is to think that climate change is affecting somebody else in the future, but it’s not, it’s affecting us now and here in Scotland.
“We owe it to the memories of Brett, Donald and Christopher to decarbonise our railway and rise to the challenge of the generation and learn how to run a safe and resilient railway in the face of climate change.
“Climate change is impacting our services right now; the time for action is not tomorrow it’s today.”
Hynes argued Scotland was at the forefront of decarbonising the train sector, as it had already been electrifying its lines for the past decade – much of that coming from nuclear, which made it carbon neutral.
However, he revealed that due to the Scottish Government’s plans to end nuclear power use by 2025 once the contract with EDF terminates, it plans to get power via renewable sources.
Hynes also hinted at plans being released in the coming months confirming the entire electrification of the Borders Railway, adding that the line was designed in a manner that it was ready to be electrified.
The event was opened by Transport Minister Graeme Dey, who revealed that COP26 had inspired him to implement some ideas into Scottish Government policy, following conversations he has had.
He said: “COP26 is the best chance, maybe the last chance, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees but for Scotland – COP isn’t about talk, it isn’t about targets, it’s about credible action.
“Transport is our most carbon releasing sector and a stubborn one to decarbonise.
“It would be incredibly arrogant of us not to acknowledge good practices going on everywhere else, that we might adapt or follow – and for me that’s the beauty of COP.”
The event saw the naming of a rail freight train at the Mossend rail freight park, near Coatbridge. The train was named the Billy Stirling after the father of logistics firm Peter D. Stirling.
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