The issue is particularly pressing in the UK, where Network Rail serves as Britain’s infrastructure owner, operator and developer. With 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels, viaducts and thousands of signals, level crossings and stations to maintain, Network Rail is operating on a difficult landscape. Railways are inherently costly to run, and Network Rail is eager to find innovative ways to deliver more for less, thus reducing its debt from government loans for maintaining, operating and enhancing its infrastructure.

As global leaders in engineering and professional services consultancy, WSP’s research into transportation solutions is unparalleled. In the UK, WSP’s team is researching innovative ways for generating revenue streams that can help stimulate investment and relieve pressure on Britain’s overburdened rail system. In a report titled Creating Value in our Rail Network, WSP research suggests that the installation of solar panels alongside railway track could potentially save Network Rail more than £30 million, while reducing carbon usage by 895,000 tons.