GB rail electrification

Some implementations in Europe

Most European countries have a higher percentage of electrified line than Britain, but still face similar decarbonisation issues. Switzerland is the only country with fully electrified track. Most other countries have track electrification projects, but this is very costly and would take decades to complete. So at the same time they are planning, with varying degrees of urgency, to replace diesel trains with electric ones. Most of the train suppliers in Britain also serve continental countries, and all are likewise overhauling their train models to do this.


Currently, some 3,500 km of the 4,865 route km (some 73%) of Austria's rail network is electrified, and the 2017 decarbonisation plan (in German), aims for 85% by 2030 and 89% by 2035. At the same time, battery and hydrogen alternatives will be introduced on unelectrified lines, so that diesel trains can be withdrawn from the entire network by 2030. The latest investment plan plans 500km of track to be electrified by 2030, with investments in electricity from hydro and solar.

The battery-driven Siemens Cityjet Desiro ML Eco has been on trial in Lower Austria and Styria since 2019; range 80km, top speed 120kph on battery (further details here and here).

As for hydrogen, the Coradia iLint (see Germany below) is being tested on more demanding lines around Wiener Neustadt in autumn 2020.

The narrow-gauge Zillertalbahn has ordered 5 units from Stadler to replace its aging diesel locomotives, due to be operational by end 2022. The hydrogen will be locally produced, using the Zillertal's existing hydro-electric plant (some 30% of Austria's total capacity).

(Stadler is also building FLIRT H2 for San Berdardino in California, max speed 130kph.)


Manufacturers are being invited to test battery-powered trains on 2 lines in Denmark in 2020-1, with a view to them entering service in 2025.


The SNCF have long run electro-diesel bi-modes in their regional trains, but are now committing to replacing all diesel power by 2035 (PlaneTER (in French)).


As of 2020, 20,365 of 33,286km (61%) of Germany's track was electrified, and the plan is for this to rise to 70% by 2025. This will still leave some 10,000km of unelectrified track, but the new government is keen to increase this.


MAV-Start have issued a call for tender for battery-powered trains in Hungary; range up to 80km at a speed of 100 km/h.


Iarnród Éireann has ordered 13 battery-electric Alstom trains for use on its Dublin-Drogheda service from 2025.