Trains are a much more efficient way to make journeys: energy use and carbon emissions are lower per passenger than road transport

Trains travel faster than road vehicles, and you can estimate your journey time much better.

You can read or work on the train, or sleep, or enjoy the scenery – more pleasant and productive than driving.

The more people use the train, the more likely it is that the rail companies and Government will invest in improving train travel.

Compare an average train with a car:

TRAIN                                    Total greenhouse gas emissions (Grams per passenger kilometre)

National Rail                       65

Eurostar                                17

Cars and motor-bikes                    Total greenhouse gas emissions (Grams per vehicle kilometre)

Average petrol motorbike           140

Average petrol hybrid car             164

Small diesel car 1.7l or under      173

Small petrol car up to 1.4l             201

Medium diesel car 1.7 – 2.0l         215

Medium petrol car 1.4 – 2.0l         250

Large diesel car above 2.0l            290

Large petrol car above 2.0l            352


The train figures are based on Train Operating Company reported total fuel consumption divided by Office of the Rail Regulator 2007-8 passenger miles. Network Rail calculates that an average train is 30 to 40 per cent full. So this is an estimated, national figure. Most South West Trains are electric and they usually have regenerative breaking, which means they consume less fuel per passenger. The emissions per passenger are also less when trains are fuller, as trains from Winchester often are. Eurostar emissions are only 15g/pkm because they are generally full and use French nuclear electricity.

April 2012

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