Ticket to ride: why 2024 could be your year of travelling sustainably | I came by train

There’s something truly joyful about travelling by train. Swapping roads clogged with cars for a cosy seat on board isn’t just more comfortable and enjoyable – think views of rolling countryside as you snake towards your destination – it’s significantly better for the environment, too.

Taking the train instead of driving creates 67% less CO2*, meaning that switching road for rail is one of the simplest ways regular car users can limit their impact on the environment. If you’re someone who is looking to be more sustainable in 2024, why not swap your car keys for a train ticket next time you travel?

With the climate crisis showing no signs of slowing, the sustainability argument for rail travel is powerful. But there are more than just environmental benefits to taking the train, as people from up and down Britain are keen to point out …

Julia Waddell, 42, Totnes, Devon

Loves train travel for: WFT (working from train)
“I travel by train once or twice a week from Totnes to Paddington for work. We moved to Devon as a family as I run my business from there, but I often have meetings in London so we knew we needed great connections to the capital.

“I love being able to sit and work on the train so that when I get to my destination I can get on with my day. On the rare occasion I do drive, I never know how long the journey will take. It’s also exhausting having to concentrate for four or five hours!

“I do like the fact that train travel is better for the environment – it’s just another benefit on top of all the other great reasons – and knowing how much less polluting it is than car travel is all the more compelling. But I already love it, so I’m easily swayed!”

Trains are a great place to make new friends. Photograph: Mark Liddell/Getty Images

Anupa Roper, 45, Countesthorpe, Leicestershire

Loves train travel for: meeting new people
“I have a best friend who lives in Oxfordshire, so we meet halfway for a day together every couple of months, and it’s usually in Birmingham or Leamington Spa.

“Travelling by train from my local station in Narborough means I can be in my own little bubble – reading and listening to music, or talking to strangers who by the end of the journey are often friends. In fact, my best friend frequently meets me at the other end and her first question is always: ‘Who did you make friends with today?’.

“Environmental factors absolutely encourage me to use public transport. I have a small car but always think it’s a waste if I’m travelling alone on longer journeys. We should all be doing our bit to look after the planet.”

A simple swap to make an environmental impact
Cars and planes create 58%* of the UK’s transport CO2 emissions, while the entire rail network adds up to just 1.5%. It’s almost always better to swap a car ride for a train journey, because taking the train instead of driving creates 67% less CO2*.

I came by train is a movement, supported by the digital rail booking platform Trainline, that draws on the combined power of small actions taken by many to create a bigger impact. Whether it’s a commute, a holiday or a family get-together, swap one journey in 2024 and help create a collective impact with the thousands of others who have already pledged to choose train travel for the environment this year.

Jools Stone, 49, Brighton, East Sussex

Loves train travel for: not having to fly!
“I don’t drive or like flying very much, so I enjoy the relaxing nature of a train journey, watching the scenery glide past, plus the convenience of travelling point to point without having to hang around in soulless airports. I love trains so much, in fact, I even got engaged on one!

“I’m an advocate of trains anyway, but knowing that travelling by them is less detrimental to the environment is a benefit that cements the case.”

Reese Shoubridge, 19, Butterleigh, Devon

Loves train travel for: watching the world go by
“I travel by train once or twice a term between Southampton and Devon. I can use a 16-25 Railcard and get travel cheaper, plus it’s convenient and not overpacked.

“I like watching the world go by, with scenic views of the countryside, and I can while away the time doing work on my laptop.

“Living in the countryside, my car gets me to places that public transport doesn’t go anywhere near, but travelling by train can often be quicker as you don’t run into traffic jams! Both definitely have their benefits.”

Seaside towns are easily reached by train. Photograph: Peter Pesta Photography/Getty Images

Carole Railton, 72, Wapping, east London

Loves train travel for: visiting friends
“I regularly use the train to go to seaside towns such as Hastings from London Bridge, or Leigh-on-Sea from Liverpool Street. I meet up with friends, and we walk along the coast and eat at fish restaurants.

“When I was working, some of my jobs came with wonderful cars. But as I now live in the capital, I decided there was no longer a need for one, particularly as the public transport is so good. I gave up my driving licence last year – for health and environmental reasons – so I can’t even hire a car any more.

“As long as it’s easy to get to the station, train travel is infinitely easier than getting about by car. You can walk around, use the bathroom without having to stop, and often meet interesting people along the way.”

Annie Kirk, 52, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Loves train travel for: getting inspired
“I usually travel by train a few times a month for work, mostly to London or occasionally farther afield to France, Belgium and the Netherlands. I would always pick the train over a plane.

“Minimising my carbon footprint is definitely a factor in choosing to travel by train – and it’s less stressful than driving.

“On a train you get to see the landscape from a different perspective than when driving or flying. I recently got the train to Italy via Germany, and the opportunity to travel through the Brenner Pass and see the incredible views more than made up for a slower journey. I’m also a writer, and recently travelled around Italy by train while researching my novel – it was truly magical. I love whizzing past people’s houses and wondering what it would be like to live there. On the train, I can’t help people-watching and imagining where others are travelling to and why.”

*Find out how Trainline did its calculations

Are you on board?
Switch just one car journey to train this year to cut your CO2 impact, and become a climate hero. Find out more by visiting I came by train, a collective movement supported by Trainline to help fight climate change

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