Stay on Track to Help the Environment While Holidaying in Europe This Summer

Eurail Group G.I.E.
2007-06-22 21:46 993

- Trains Trump Planes and Cars as "Green" Travel Option

UTRECHT, the Netherlands, June 26 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Last year people took more than two billion journeys on scheduled airlines worldwide, up four percent over 2005, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. IATA, the International Air Transport Association, predicts another 500 million passengers will take to the skies by 2010. With jet aircraft emitting 23 kilograms of CO2 per 100 passenger kilometres, that’s a lot of carbon dioxide being dumped into the atmosphere. Cars do somewhat better at a little less than 18 kilograms, but trains outdo them both at under five kilograms of CO2 per 100 passenger kilometres. (1)

Carbon dioxide emissions from cars and planes play a huge role in air pollution and global warming. Indeed, a report from the US General Accounting Office earlier this year affirmed their contribution to climate change and warned that emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases will increase as commercial jet travel continues to grow worldwide. While people can’t be expected to stop flying, they can still make wise decisions to help reduce their carbon footprint during holiday travel. In Europe, taking the train instead of renting a car or jetting around on low cost airlines is a sure-fire way to lessen the environmental impact of travel. Mr. Ian Byrne, Deputy Director of the National Energy Foundation, based in the UK, agrees.

"If you’re concerned about contributing to global climate change," advises Mr. Byrne, "remember that rail is always a better option than flying. The carbon dioxide emissions from a return economy flight from Paris to Berlin, for example, would allow a rail user to go from Paris to Berlin, then on to Vienna, Venice, Rome and back to Paris - with enough left over for two return trips from Paris to Amsterdam - so you could take a friend!"

The Eurail network that covers most of Europe with its wide range of flexible and affordable rail passes makes it easy to travel "green."

The average Eurail Global Pass Passenger, for example, travels more than 6,500 kilometres while using the pass. Trains covering that distance emit 0.3 tons of CO2, while cars and planes put out more than a ton of CO2. Travellers can calculate their personal emissions using the carbon calculators on the CarbonNeutral.Com website.

Aside from the environmental benefits, taking the train can make the journey as enjoyable as the destination. Europe’s fast, sleek trains go efficiently from city centre to city centre with a minimal use of land compared to most motorway systems. Since there is little urban sprawl, passengers enjoy a window seat on passing views of fairy tale castles, forested hillsides, sleepy villages and bustling towns. What’s more, trains rarely encounter mechanical or weather delays, and none of the frequent congestion that can not only stall traffic in the air and on the ground, but also further waste fuel and increase greenhouse gases. It just makes sense to take the train whenever possible.

Eurail offers a range of flexible and affordable rail passes. The classic Eurail Global Pass covers 18 countries and gives travellers the freedom to travel as far as they want, when they want, as long as they want.

For those wanting to visit a handful of countries, the Eurail Select Pass can be tailor-made to allow travel in any combination of 3, 4 or 5 countries, provided they are linked by rail or shipping line. In response to the growing trend for shorter vacations to fewer countries, Eurail has introduced Eurail Regional Passes, valid in two bordering European countries and Eurail National Passes, allowing the in-depth discovery of a single country by rail.

In 2007, Eurail introduced some exciting new destinations to the National Pass range including Italy, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.

The EURAIL Group comprises 27 railways and shipping lines, as well as several bonus partners. For more information about Eurail see . To purchase, go to or one of Eurail’s authorized sales agents worldwide: ACP Rail International (; Flight Centre (; and Rail Europe 4A (

Editor’s Notes:

Eurail Countries: Countries participating in the Eurail Pass offer are:

Austria (including Liechtenstein), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech

Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (including Monaco), Germany, Greece,

Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland,

Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

and Switzerland. Note: participating countries vary per pass type.

Images: High-resolution photographs of European trains may be downloaded from Eurail’s media library at

Technical note: The example given by the National Energy Foundation is based on return CO2 emissions to Berlin estimated at 0.38 tons, before any radiative forcing effect (which some authorities believe means that the equivalent at ground level would be almost 3 times as much). The rail trip is based on typical electric high-speed trains, without taking into account the very low CO2 emissions associated with the nuclear industry in France.

(1)"Railways and the Environment," by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies and the International Union of Railways, 2004, .

Source: Eurail Group G.I.E.
Keywords: Travel
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