Glasgow train and piper

‘Climate Train’ to offer green travel option for COP26 delegates

Image credit: Avanti West Coast

Rail and sustainability groups are joining forces to run a special 'Climate Train' for European delegates to the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, which begins on November 1 this year.

During their journey, the passengers will be invited to take part in a series of debates and seminars to draw attention to the important role that rail and sustainable travel can play in achieving the global 'Climate Change Goals'.

While in Glasgow, they will also be able to see examples of the rail industry’s efforts to build even greener trains, including two running on hydrogen.

The Climate Train initiative is a partnership between ProRail; Eurostar; NS; Avanti West Coast, and Youth for Sustainable Travel. Its aim is to bring together a diverse group from all over Europe, including young people; official delegations; mobility experts; NGOs, and representatives of the railway sector.

A Eurostar service will start from Amsterdam Central on October 30 travelling via Rotterdam and Brussels to London St. Pancras International. From there, passengers will transfer the short distance to London Euston to continue their journey on an Avanti West Coast service to Glasgow Central.

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, intends to be on board and says the train sets a good example of sustainable transport.

Timmermans commented: "What could be nicer than travelling by train to an international climate summit? The train is sustainable and provides a lot of comfort, whether you travel for work or pleasure. More and more passengers in Europe are recognising the advantages of travelling by rail. We want to increase this number in the coming years by, for example, doubling the amount of high-speed train traffic and making international rail travel even easier. I am really looking forward to leaving for Glasgow by train with our delegation."

The Climate Train organisers cite figures showing that travelling to London by Eurostar instead of plane emits up to 93 per cent less CO2 per passenger and that a freight train can replace an average of 56 trucks. Despite the sustainable advantage of trains, only seven per cent of all passengers and 11 per cent of all goods in Europe travel by rail, yet with over 200,000km of track Europe has one of the most intricate networks in the world. 

Last year, Scottish Enterprise announced its backing for a project in partnership with Transport Scotland and the University of St Andrews’ Hydrogen Accelerator to develop a hydrogen train in Scotland and showcase it at COP26. Arcola Energy is developing the hydrogen technology for the converted ScotRail electric train. Angel Trains has since joined the project and will provide funding to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy.

Britain’s first mainline hydrogen train will also be on show in Glasgow. Network Rail and rolling-stock owner Porterbrook will be inviting selected guests to use an ‘onboard boardroom’ on the HydroFLEX, which began mainline trials in England last September.

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