High-speed electric train leaving Newcastle train Station. Photo: Ian Britton, FreeFhoto.com
Electric trains are faster because:
- They don't have to carry the weight of the diesel engines and fuel. letting them accelerate quicker from stations.
- They brake quicker than diesel trains. The quicker starting and stopping would cut about two minutes off each station call.
Other advantages of electric trains include:
- A reduction in dependence on fossil fuels if the electricity comes from renewable sources.
- No exhaust fumes at point of use. Given enough traffic density, electric trains produce fewer carbon emissions than diesel trains.
- Less noise.
- Lower maintenance of the traction units.
- If the trains have regenerative brakes, descending gradients needs very little use of air brakes because the motors become generators sending current back into the power supply system.
- The “spark effect” which boosts rail passenger numbers after electrification of a rail line. This meant the electrification of the line to Swansea was not credited with reducing traffic on the M4 and other roads.
Cardiff Friends of the Earth supports the electrification of the Welsh railways.