Rail transport is the most environment-friendly way to travel.
“Going flight-free means dumping airport stress altogether in favour of slower, more peaceful train travel.”
“As we look ahead to the industry’s 200-year anniversary in 2025, this is our chance to resurrect some national pride in our railways.”
“Slow travel focuses less on ticking off all the classic tourist sites to post on social media and, instead, embracing the present moment and magic of being in that destination.”
There’s been a bit of discussion on the VGS’s social media about getting on a train to Bruges for the weekend:
Why not here in England? The Stour at Canterbury is beautiful.
You are absolutely right. Like my parents before me I see no need to holiday outside the UK but most especially England. However, when I was young I thought ‘foreign’ was more interesting.
The post which took us to Bruges instead and to which this discussion is alluding is from the website Climate Perks, set up by the Possible group – and is all about trying to get us out of planes and onto trains, but in a very romantic sort of way:
Happy Valentine’s day from everyone at Possible. Plenty of the most romantic getaways are accessible by train which means you can treat yourself and the one you love to a romantic trip away without undermining your commitment to climate action. Yes, Love Actually may have made airports seem like pretty romantic spaces but there’s nothing less romantic than the noise and stress of the departure lounge. Going flight-free means dumping airport stress altogether in favour of slower, more peaceful train travel.
The page also takes us to the website of ‘The Man in Seat 61’. So, if you don’t fancy Bruges, why not Florence:
You can travel to Italy by train in a single day, London to Paris by Eurostar in 2h20 from £78 return then Paris to Turin (5h40) or Milan (7h) by TGV or Frecciarossa from €29 each way, with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats, free WiFi, a glass of wine to hand and not an airport security queue in sight… Next morning, another high-speed train whisks you from Turin to Florence in 2h54 from €19.90, Venice in 3h24 from €19.90 or Rome in 4h10 from €29.90. Great scenery, room to breath, loads of legroom, no baggage fees, no airport taxes, no seatbelt signs, no 2-hour check-ins at remote airports, under 4s go free and around 80% less CO2 than a flight. Watch the video & see for yourself…
There seems to be a resurgence of trains on the Continent: Germany, Italy, Spain: Crossing the EU by train will be faster and cheaper on these new routes | Euronews
And one of the main reasons is it’s good for the planet:
Green concerns about short-haul flights are bringing sleeper trains back in vogue: The night train to Europe – The New European
And here’s a page which tells you a bit more:
Rail transport is the most environment-friendly way to travel. The greenhouse effect of gas emissions per kilometer on railway transport is 80% less than cars. In some countries, less than 3% of all transport gas emissions come from trains. The only methods more environmentally friendly than trains are walking and cycling. There are many reasons why choosing to travel by train is environmentally friendly and we would like to share these with you!
But why, you might ask, all this focus on the Continent? Well, things are moving in the UK:
The world’s first-ever solar-powered railway was launched in 2019 in the UK, which is powered by a 30kW solar farm – next to the station. However – the Sustainability Times explains – given the trains in the UK use 4,050 million kWh of electricity each year, it looks unlikely that solar farms will 100% supply the power needed to run the full system in near future.
And, despite the various ‘issues’ re the rail industry in the UK at the moment, there seems to be real commitment from the UK government – with a speech from the Transport Secretary only last week:
As we look ahead to the industry’s 200-year anniversary in 2025, this is our chance to resurrect some national pride in our railways. A chance to harness the political will that is there, the economic imperative and I believe the industry buy-in to build the modern railway Britain deserves.
But why, you might ask, all this focus on the UK? What about Sidmouth?
Over a year ago, there was some discussion about ‘restoring’ the line: Reversing Beeching: Should Sidmouth have the railway line restored? – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Otherwise, the journey by rail to Canterbury, say, will take you four and a half hours: Trains Honiton to Canterbury | Cheap Tickets & Times | Trainline
The point though is that the journey itself could be considered part of the holiday:
Holidays can often feel rushed – with a dash to cram as much in as possible, while also wanting to feel adequately rested and refreshed during that time away. But one travel trend that’s resurfacing again this year is the antidote to this hurried mentality.
‘Slow travel’ is back for 2023 and is all about a more purposeful pace and considered attitude. ‘It’s an approach to travel that encourages people to seek a deeper connection with the people and places they visit, as well as more meaningful experiences for themselves,’ explains Joanne Kent at Travel Counsellors. ‘Slow travel focuses less on ticking off all the classic tourist sites to post on social media and, instead, embracing the present moment and magic of being in that destination.’
Finally, to return to the first links above – to Climate Perks:
We found that 50% of people are ready to reduce the amount they fly in response to climate change – but only 3% of us do. There’s a key barrier: time.
Climate Perks works with climate-conscious employers to offer paid ‘journey days’ to staff who travel on holiday by train, coach or boat instead of flying – empowering them to act on their values. In exchange, employers receive Climate Perks accreditation in recognition of their climate leadership.
Don’t just get ahead of the curve, help bend it in the right direction. The Climate Perks scheme is underway, get on board and help shape the low-carbon travel revolution.
As featured in the national media: The companies offering staff extra days off for holidays that don’t involve flying and Some firms give more time off to those who shun plane travel – BBC Worklife and The New Work Perk? Remote-Working Holiday Packages Or More Time Off If You Don’t Fly
And it’s very much part of what the Sidmouth Town Council is pushing: Promoting green tourism in East Devon: ‘regenerative tourism’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth