South West Trains ‘intelligent’ lights deliver 60% energy saving

South West Trains ‘intelligent’ lights deliver 60% energy saving

Six stations across the South West Trains network are amongst the first on Britain’s railways to benefit from a new, more environmentally-friendly lighting system which uses up to 60% less energy than traditional lights.

The new technology gives the ability to control the station lighting, particularly on the platforms and in outdoor areas. Sensors detect the level of daylight brightness and automatically increase, decrease or switch off the lights to maximise the use of natural light. Sensors can also adjust the lights to changing conditions during the daytime, for example when trains enter a station and shade a platform or when dark rain clouds appear.

Following a successful trial carried out by South West Trains and Network Rail at Woking, the new lighting system is now also in operation at Haslemere, Putney, Twickenham, Chandlers Ford and New Milton stations.

Malcolm Page, Station Development Manager for South West Trains, said: “We are constantly looking at ways to deliver greener smarter travel for our passengers. By delivering innovative and sustainable lighting solutions, we are helping to make a significant contribution towards lowering carbon emissions, making travel by train an even greener option.

“This trial is a significant milestone in the lighting revolution and confirms our reputation as a greener, smarter transport provider.”

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Richard O’Brien, Network Rail’s Route Director for Wessex, said: “Rail is already the most environmentally-friendly form of public transport, and this is another example of how the industry continues to use the latest technology to reduce its energy usage.  Based on the apparent benefits of the new system, we can now look for other opportunities to use this technology at stations across the country.”


The pioneering system, manufactured in the UK by Open Technology, is leading the clean technology revolution. A large station has potential to provide a saving of 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. As the average European car produces over 4 tonnes a year of carbon dioxide, Woking Station’s energy saving is equivalent to over 4.5 cars being taken off the road. 

The system also has the ability to undertake checks of emergency lighting, allowing more efficient pro-active maintenance in compliance with South West Trains safety procedures. Automatic tests are performed and faults reported immediately, without the need for maintenance staff to attend the site.

South West Trains has recently invested £2.2m in fitting the majority of its trains with regenerative braking systems as part of the Stagecoach Group’s five year carbon reduction plan. Energy produced by a standard train braking is currently lost, but the regenerative braking system returns electricity to the third rail system, allowing trains in close proximity to draw on the electrical supply.