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New research shows government action needed to shift Anglo-Scottish travel from air to rail

Published 10 November 2021 by Transform Scotland

Azuma on a trial run to Waverley, March 2018, with LNER MD David Horne.

Transform Scotland, the national sustainable transport alliance, [1] has today (Wednesday 10th) responded to the findings from transport experts Steer that taking the train is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than plane or car for Edinburgh-London journeys. [2]

However, Steer’s research shows there is a clear mismatch between people’s perception of rail travel and the reality. To halt the perpetuation of outdated myths about rail travel, Transform Scotland calls on Scottish leaders to take a lead in promoting rail as the best way to travel in the UK, and to choose rail as an easily-achievable step in tackling climate emissions from transport.

The research has been published to coincide with an event that Transform is hosting jointly with LNER at the National Museum for Scotland.

Commenting on the research findings, Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:

“It’s well known that the train is better than the plane for protecting the climate, but much work is still required to communicate the price, speed and reliability benefits of rail over air for Anglo-Scottish trips.

“Part of that job is for the rail industry itself. But we also need to see action from the Scottish Government in shifting domestic travel from air to rail. Its new aviation strategy proposals actually encourage an increase in domestic flights and fail to capitalise on the shift towards rail travel that is already underway for routes between central Scotland and London.

“Now is also the time for the Scottish Government to show leadership by banning its own civil servants from flying to London from the Central Belt. During COP26, we’ve seen too many leaders flying in and out of Scotland for trips that could easily be made by train.

“Rather than encouraging more and new flight routes we should be following our European neighbours in improving rail connections and banning short distance flights where good rail connections are available.”



[1] Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland is the national alliance for sustainable transport, bringing together organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors. See <> for details.

[2] Steer research, as featured in LNER media release

See LNER news release, 09/11/21: Lack Of Knowledge Of The Benefits Of Rail Travel Are Harming Efforts To Achieve Net Zero


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