Children’s authors explore low-carbon train at COP26

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M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, the authors of the award-winning Adventures on Trains series, will lead an event with a group of schoolchildren at COP26, on board Porterbrook’s HydroFLEX train.

The children took part in a recent competition organised by Scotland’s Railway which asked children from Scottish primary schools to find creative ways to live more greenly and encourage people to travel by train.

The authors’ fifth book, Sabotage on the Solar Express, will be released in February next year, featuring a train of the future powered by solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells. Just like the train in the next book, the Porterbrook HydroFLEX is a hybrid train – that can be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and the overhead electric wires.

Whilst on board, the children will have a reading of the pair’s most recently published book, Danger at Dead Man’s Pass, and take part in an imaginative activity that gets them thinking about the joy of train travel and how we can make trains greener in the future. Engineers from Network Rail and Porterbrook will also discuss ideas for the future of green train technology with the children.

“We’re delighted to have been able to play a part in COP26 by bringing our books onto the HydroFLEX train with the children,” said the authors. “Trains are already the greenest form of public transport and the kids really understand that the key to a greener future is getting people out of cars and onto trains – and finding innovative new ways to make trains even greener. We hope that our books and this trip will really unlock their imaginations and perhaps even inspire some green rail engineers of the future!”

Mary Grant, Chief Executive of Porterbrook said: “We’re so pleased to welcome Maya, Sam and the children aboard our HydroFLEX. This train is the first of its kind – just like the Solar Express in Maya and Sam’s book. We’re privileged to play our part in showing pupils that dreaming big and using your imagination is absolutely essential to delivering today’s railway!”

Martin Frobisher OBE, Safety and Engineering Director for Network Rail, said: “Rail is a proven green technology and stands ready to help governments reach their ambitious net zero goals. With further electrification and alternative fuels, we can make rail even greener than it already is. COP26 and these wonderful books are a great opportunity to really engage with the next generation and promote our commitment to running an even cleaner, greener railway that will help tackle climate change.”

Last year, Network Rail became the first railway company in the world to commit to the most stretching science-based targets for reducing carbon. A key part of the strategy for achieving those targets is decarbonising traction energy through further overhead line electrification and using alternative fuels, including hydrogen and battery-powered trains.

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