A fantastic concept that will hopefully come to reality very soon. It makes perfect sense to use the energy from PV directly to power the UK railway system. With integrated energy storage systems, PV energy could power trains day and night. As this article points out this idea would enable many rural PV projects to be undertaken that wouldn't previously have been able to connect to saturated grids. Bypassing the grid altogether gives the freedom to connect PV to the railway line exactly where it is needed.
With the entire Dutch railway system now powered by wind energy, they have set the tone for others to follow.
Electrical grids are inefficient and outdated. A partnership between Imperial College London and 10:10, a climate change organization, is exploring the possibility of installing solar panels along side railway lines and using them to power electric trains directly. Rather than feeding electricity from the panels back into the grid to be redistributed to the railway system, the idea of connecting trains directly to the solar panels would be far more efficient. In many rural areas of the UK, the electrical grid has reached its limit for both integrating distributed energy generation and supplying power to train firms. “What is particularly galling is that peak generation from solar and peak demand from the trains more or less match but we can’t connect the two,” explained 10:10's Leo Murray, “I actually believe this represents a real opportunity for some innovative thinking.”