Low carbon Rail construction

Image of solar flood lights
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Our rail teams have been challenging energy use norms to deliver complex railway system projects more sustainably. By working closely with our supply chain, we’re finding alternative, fossil-fuel free tools and plant equipment that reduce emissions and positively contribute to improving our carbon footprint and reaching our net zero targets.

What did we do?

To assist our client’s priority of delivering a low carbon railway and embracing our commitment to net zero, the Midland Mainline account has developed a Social Value Plan to prioritise areas of influence where new and emerging technology can reduce the dependence on petrol and diesel use during construction.

With works planned in, the team at Brent Cross decided to adopt the principles of PAS 2080 (carbon management in infrastructure) to work with our supply chain and identify ‘fossil fuel-free’ alternatives to the following, commonly used items to deliver a rail systems project:

  • Welfare accommodation
  • Powered tools
  • Off-track plant (excavators)
  • Generators and site lighting

During construction, the project team has been continually looking out for new ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Following the success of recent trials of low carbon equipment – the challenge of successfully delivering a railway renewal using a broad range of low carbon solutions was set by the client.


Summary of alternatives used

Alternatives used (%)

Reduction of Fossil Fuels (litres)


2 hybrid cabins, powered by solar and diesel



Powered tools

20 out of 26 powered tools replaced



Off-track plant

20 tonne hybrid excavator and use of biofuel




Battery powered generator – trail of the UKs only Milwaukee MXF002-2XC (available in 2022)



Site lighting

12 ProRXM solar lighting towers



Site transport

Trial of a Garia utility urban model (to be available in 2022)





What impact did it have?

During the works, a number of interventions were implemented shifting from traditional plant and equipment. These changes included switching to battery powered tools, battery-powered generators, solar-powered site lighting and the use of biofuels in site machinery. With hybrid welfare facilities also used, the team working at Brent Cross reduced their carbon footprint over the weekend works, by 7,351kg of CO2e – swapping 77% of their power tools to fossil fuel-free alternatives on their journey to Net Zero.

As we continue to work closely with our supply chain to identify and use low carbon methods, such as hand tools and battery powered generators, it is anticipated that further reductions can be made.

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