Research into battery powered trains: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

  • Can you provide information on studies (if any) Transport Scotland is undertaking regarding the use of battery-powered trains?
  • There is much talk of electrification, but is this financially viable on less busy commuter lines? Can the stated ambition to make Scottish railways carbon-neutral be realised without considering alternatives to electrification?


Transport Scotland (TS) is not conducting any studies into the use of battery-powered trains, therefore we cannot provide the information you are asking for in your request.

Regulation 10(4)(a) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) allows public authorities to refuse to make environmental information available if they don’t hold the information when the request is received.

As such, I hereby provide you with formal notice under Regulation 10(4)(a) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

We know however that Network Rail and ScotRail have already conducted the studies you are interested in, as part of the process of developing different scenarios for planning the decarbonisation of the network.

If you would like more information regarding these studies, you might wish to contact them for more information. You might find links below helpful in doing so:

Network Rail: Freedom of information (FOI) - Network Rail

ScotRail: ScotRail Trains Limited Publication Scheme | ScotRail

In terms of affordability, electric traction is much more efficient than either diesel, battery or hydrogen traction, the current credible alternatives: the lower efficiency of non-electric trains means that their operating costs are much higher than electric.

Electric trains are much more reliable and require less maintenance than other types of train meaning that fewer of them are required to operate the service. Electric trains also cost much less to buy than the other types of train.

Electric freight locomotives are much more capable than diesel locomotives.

Transport Scotland will continue to consider the appropriate decarbonisation technology for trains on different routes as technologies develop.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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