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The greenest option for Anglo-Scottish travel — Rail produces a fifth of the climate emissions that comes from air travel

Published 11 November 2019 by Matt McDonald

Source — Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains have today published figures that show a record number of people have opted to travel on Virgin trains’ Anglo-Scottish rail services instead of flying. In the 12 months to July 2019, 29% of people chose to travel with Virgin Trains rather than flying between Glasgow and London. This is nearly 2% more than the previous record set in 2014 when passenger numbers increased due to Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games.

Analysis by Transform Scotland shows that total carbon emissions from air and rail travel between Edinburgh/Glasgow and London fell by 12%, saving 98,000 tCO2e in total. 60,000 tCO2e of the total savings were made on the Glasgow to London route.

Commenting on the figures Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland said:

“The current level of air travel is incompatible with the Climate Emergency so it’s heartening to hear that rail is growing its market share over air for travel between Central Scotland and London.

Comparable distances across Europe use rail rather than air as the dominant mode of transport, so it is overdue for Scotland to take action to cut the excessive volume of flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London. Rail produces a fifth of the climate emissions that comes from air travel. It’s definitely the greenest option for Anglo-Scottish travel.”

In 2017 Transform Scotland and Virgin Trains published ‘A Green Journey to Growth’. This report looks at the carbon savings achieved in recent years by shifting travel from air to rail between Central Scotland and London, and highlights the additional emissions that would be saved should rail continue its progress towards a 50% share of the travel market. You can read the full report here.