Ecotip – Let the train take the strain

Let the train take the strain – cut your carbon footprint

At this time of the year, many of us are considering summer holidays. Cheap flights have transformed travel. Short breaks in Europe or holidays in the sun are increasingly popular and affordable. But the carbon dioxide emitted from flying can be a large part of an individual’s carbon footprint. The UK personal annual average is calculated as 5,650 Kg and, for example, a return flight from London to Sardinia contributes 254 kilogrammes per passenger (about 5% of an annual carbon footprint).

So is there any alternative? Yes, there is. Many people are turning to rail travel within Europe, which has a fraction of the impact of flying. Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg undertook a lecture tour of Europe by train in April 2019. Since then, web sites offering rail only holidays have seen a boom in interest.

High speed trains in Europe have transformed continental travel. London to Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Milan or Cologne is now possible in a day. Starting your holiday from London at St Pancras station by Eurostar is far less stressful than any airport. There is no need to check in luggage and the seats are comfortable and spacious compared with an aircraft. By train, the journey becomes part of the adventure, rather than a flight which can be exhausting.

For more information, see the Man at Seat 61 web site, which provides information on the best train travel options in Europe and how to buy tickets.

Phil Chatfield