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Network Rail Spends $60bn to Cut Carbon, Boost Capacity

Network Rail, the owner and operator of the UK’s rail infrastructure, plans to spend £37.5 billion ($60.4 billion) over five years on improvements aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 37 percent while boosting passenger and freight capacity and protecting critical infrastructure against the impact of changing weather patterns.

The strategic business plan, covering 2014-2019, will reduce carbon dioxide emissions more than a third through a number of improvement, including electrifying hundreds of miles of railway in England and Wales, Network Rail said. Under the plan, Network Rail will electrify more than 850 miles of rail lines in England and build a new electrified route linking three main lines, the Great Western, West Coast and Midland Main.

Through the plan, Network Rail aims to help the UK government achieve its low-carbon economy targets of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. The government also plans to cut carbon in half by 2027 from the same baseline, making the UK the first country in the world to declare a binding carbon emissions target beyond 2020.

Network Rail said its plan comes at a time of increasing demand for passenger and freight capacity. The company proposes to add 700 extra trains a day linking key northern cities and increase London and South East commuter capacity by 43 percent. Its changes will result in quicker trains and cut the cost of running Britain’s railways by 18 percent, the company said.

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