75% of trains to be electric by 2020 in £3bn EDF and Network Rail deal

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EDF and Network Rail have put pen to paper on a £3bn deal that will see nuclear power generated by the energy firm supply electricity to railways across the country.

The UK rail network operator hopes that the deal will help to further reduce its fossil fuel use over the next ten years.

Currently in the UK over half (55%) of the rail traffic is powered by electricity rather than diesel, but with this deal in place, it is expected that this figure will rise up to 75% by 2020, with another 2,000 miles of track converted for electric use.

The biggest proposed changes to the rail lines includes lines in south Wales, the north-west and the Midlands.

Network Rail chief executive, David Higgins, said: "Rail is already the greenest form of public transport and this partnership with EDF Energy will help us make it greener still."

Speaking of the deal, EDF Energy chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, said: "Network Rail is the biggest single electricity customer in the UK so this long-term deal is a massive vote of confidence in our nuclear backed energy.

"The deal places nuclear energy at the heart of the UK's infrastructure for the next ten years and serves to underline that nuclear power is part of everyday life in Britain."

EDF, part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme, will provide the railways with a supply of 3.2TWh of electricity each year, predominantly generated from its eight nuclear power stations.

The firm recently put confirmation of its new £14bn construction of two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point on hold citing cuts in France, the firm's home nation, and a disagreement with the British Government over issues regarding future payments.

Latest rumours suggest the firm could now be looking at pushing forward a deal with Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., if its current deal with British Gas parent company, Centrica, breaks down.

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