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Vegetable oil fuelling Chiltern Railways trains in UK first

Passenger trains are being fuelled by vegetable oil for the first time in the UK, a train operator has said.

Chiltern Railways began using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) to power some of its fleet on Thursday.

HVO is made mostly of used cooking oils and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%, compared to diesel.

Richard Allan, managing director, said the operator was determined to operate a railway that was “easier, greener and better” for its customers.

The train operator, which runs services between Birmingham and London, is using the biofuel, which is more expensive than diesel, to power its Class 68 locomotives as part of efforts to decarbonise its operations.

Mr Allan said the conversion in fuel would make a “big difference” and would help to minimise the impact of trains on the environment.

Phasing out diesel

“This is a strong step in the right direction, and we want to do more,” he added.

“In the next few days, we will be inviting train manufacturers for proposals for new trains to replace our oldest diesel trains.”

About 29% of the trains in the UK are run solely off diesel, but the government has set a target of phasing out any diesel-only trains by 2040.

Rail minister Huw Merriman added: “Trains are already one of the greenest ways to travel and we want to build on this further by creating a rail industry that helps us achieve our ambitious net zero targets and delivers even more benefits for passengers.

“A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% is an incredible achievement that gets us one step closer to realising these, and I commend Chiltern on pioneering this fuel.”

Source: BBC