Enhancing shift towards Sustainable Freight Transport in Asia and the Pacific: opportunities through railway decarbonization

Currently only one third of rail network in the ESCAP region is electrified -indicating substantial use of diesel for traction and non-traction purposes. And the diesel-powered trains emit at least twice as much CO2 in the atmosphere than electric ones. Railway decarbonize solutions entail (a) electrification of rail infrastructure (b) rolling stock that runs on alternative modes of traction such as hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and biodiesel. The findings in the study highlight that some countries in the ESCAP region may not be able to afford or economically justify high investments required in electrification of rail infrastructure. Moreover, impact of rail electrification on carbon emissions is closely linked to energy source to generate electricity. Only use of renewable sources of energy can reduce emissions through rail electrification.