Improving Environmental Sustainability of Regional Railway Services

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Regional non-electrified railways in Europe are facing significant challenges to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition to GHG emission regulations, companies are also imposing voluntary emission reduction targets, not only because of corporate responsibility, but also in an attempt to improve their market share, company image, and value. Featured with low transport demand compared to the main corridors, complete electrification of regional lines is often not economically viable. The solutions are being sought in alternative energy carriers and catenary-free propulsion systems. The transition from conventional diesel traction is a complex and context-specific dynamic decision-making process that requires involvement of multiple stakeholders and consideration of numerous aspects. It requires in-depth analyses that include identification of available technology, design, modelling, and assessment of potential alternatives, with respect to the particular case-related constraints imposed by infrastructure, technical and operational characteristics (e.g., track geometry, speed, and axle load limitations, maintaining existing timetables, noise-free and emission-free operation in stations, etc.). Hence, the overarching aim of this thesis is to identify and assess potential solutions in reducing overall (Well-to-Wheel) energy use and GHG emissions from the operation of regional trains, focussing primarily on synergetic adoption of alternative propulsion systems and energy carriers. We use the case study of the Dutch Northern lines with rolling stock and train services of Arriva to undertake this research, providing several scientific and practical contributions.