Travel by Train

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Between travelling by air, automobile or rail, rail comes out as the clear winner as far as CO2 emissions go. In Rhiannon Batten's book, "Higher Ground: How to Travel Responsibly Without Roughing It", it states that on a 947 km journey, the breakdown of CO2 emissions by each method is as follows:

  • Plane: 0.11 tonnes of CO2

  • Car: 0.18 tonnes of CO2

  • Train: 0.04 tonnes of CO2

The above illustrates the simple message that where possible, trains offer the best low-carbon alternative to driving or taking a short-haul flight. This is because many trains run on electricity, as well as biodiesel as found in some parts of Europe.

Other benefits of travelling by train include avoiding traffic jams and being held up by rigorous security screenings. It can also save you time and money as trains often go from city centre to city centre, allowing you to skip out on expensive and often time-consuming taxi rides. Furthermore, you should not be put off by what can sometimes look like higher train ticket prices when in comparison to budget flights. Being realistic about the costs of flying means you also have to factor in such costs such as taxes, baggage fees, and the costs of getting to and from the airport. As such,  the cost of travelling by rail may in fact be much more reasonable than you expect.

Travel by rail may not always be practical or realistic in some instances. But if you are keen on travelling the world by train, then a great resource at your disposal the website: Seat 61 (www.seat61.com).  It was started by a UK man named Mark Smith, a career railwayman who ran away from Oxford University to hop on British Railway trains (or as he called them, the Circus). Starting as a station manager, he eventually found his way travelling the world via rail. Today, his website is the best resource online on where and how to travel the globe by rail and ferry.

Some tips that Mark Smith provides include: booking your train tickets in advance to take advantage of some amazing deals; buying your tickets online as oppose to over the phone to avoid booking fees; and booking directly through the relevant train company, as agencies have no incentive to sell you the cheapest tickets.