Network Rail regulation and performance

13.09.07

Turf's up for rail passengers

Newcastle station goes green - literally!

Passengers boarding trains at Newcastle railway station this week were able to enjoy a piece of countryside on the concourse.

GNER, the East Coast rail operator, turfed a large area of the station in green grass to illustrate that travelling by train is better for the environment compared to plane.

Figures show that a flight between Newcastle and London emits over five times more carbon than the same journey by train. A return rail journey between Newcastle and London generates 50kg of CO2 per passenger, compared with a staggering 280kg of CO2 per passenger by air.

On average, rail is also the cheapest way to travel from Newcastle to London at only 13p per mile, compared to 22p per mile by air and 56p per mile by car on a return journey.

GNER is encouraging frequent flyers to switch from ‘plane to train. It is specifically targeting those who regularly fly from Edinburgh and Newcastle to London to promote the environmental benefits of train travel over air.

Jonathan Metcalfe, chief executive of GNER, says: “Environmental considerations are becoming a much more decisive factor in people's choice of transport. In addition to a clean, comfortable and reliable journey, travellers increasingly want the reassurance that they are using a ‘green’ form of transport, as they become more aware of their own carbon footprints.

“Train travel is the greenest way to travel from Newcastle to London and it is also often the cheapest and quickest, compared to plane or car. We’re inviting frequent flyers to consider ditching airport queues and long waits in departure lounges to do their bit for the environment and save time by travelling straight to the heart of their destination by train.”

GNER’s green grass at Newcastle railway station was available for passengers to enjoy for one day only from 04.00 – 23.00 hrs on Monday 3rd September.

The green venture was welcomed by Newcastle City Council. Councillor Wendy Taylor, the authority’s Executive Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this initiative.

“Newcastle City Council has calculated that its business travel accounts for over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, and recognises the need to reduce this.

“We are currently developing a travel policy which will encourage officers and members to use the train wherever possible when travelling nationally and regionally, in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the council’s operations and services.

“On the East Coast Main Line, benefits are also gained by travellers arriving in the heart of London, meaning they can quickly reach their destination and use up less carbon as they do so”.

According to a study by the Railway Safety & Standards Board, GNER’s electric ‘Mallard’ trains are the greenest in Britain. Also, the company’s refurbished diesel trains are 15% more fuel efficient, thanks to the installation of new engines.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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