How ‘green’ is travelling by train?
Rail is one of the cleanest forms of transport available to people.
Rail is inherently an energy efficient way to travel, carrying large numbers of people on a combined journey requires a lot less energy than using smaller vehicles to make the same journey.
The train itself also requires relatively little energy to maintain its speed once it has accelerated. With trains generally only having to stop at stations it means accelerating is required less often than is the case for a car which needs to change speed for different roads and traffic. New technology on some electric trains also allows energy to be captured when they brake.
Moving more freight onto trains is also benefitting the environment, with every freight train carrying the equivalent of 76 fewer HGVs on the road – one tonne of freight travelling by rail emits 76% less CO2 than if it travelled by road.
Although the industry is continuing work to reduce emissions further, we need to go further and faster. That is why over the coming years the industry wants to see more of the network electrified and new battery and hydrogen technology exploited in order to take diesel-only trains off the network. This will help the UK meet its emissions targets and ensure a cleaner, greener world for generations.
What is the rail industry doing to make travelling by train greener?
Together rail companies are:
The route to achieving a completely carbon-free railway, however, is a real challenge, especially on a network that was designed in the Victorian age. To make it happen, the railway needs certainty and the right frameworks so that it can plan and take the necessary long-term decisions now.
To do this, the industry is calling for the following: