Cutting the Carbon and Enjoying the Scenery

As reported in last week’s New York Times:

Eurostar, which runs the high-speed train service linking London to Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, has started running ads in travel trade publications asserting that a journey produces only one-tenth the carbon dioxide emissions of a comparable flight. Some of the ads include a drawing of an airplane in the form of a burning cigarette.

Eurostar Chief Executive Richard Brown says:

The research shows that travelling by Eurostar is less environmentally damaging than flying by a factor of ten. A Eurostar passenger generates enough CO2 to fill a Mini, while an airline passenger generates enough to fill a double-decker bus.

The Eurostar website now includes details about their research.


The campaign may be working. Ridership is up 9.9% in the third quarter of 2006. A Eurostar spokesman tells the BBC:

We have been surprised and pleased at the increasing number of passengers who say that the environment is a growing reason for switching to Eurostar, and who are prepared to make Eurostar part of longer, connecting rail journeys than in the past.

The media is on the bandwagon as well. This weekend the London Sunday Mirror urged holiday travelers to ride the train, cut the carbon and enjoy the scenery.

Meanwhile, back here in the good ol’ USA substantive discussion about climate change, apparently, was not cleared for take-off this election season. As we wait in line removing our shoes for airport security, our nation’s leaders gut America’s rail system.

Photo: John D. McHugh/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images

  • AD

    Jason, thanks for a great report.

    Here’s an open question: Other than riding the train whenever possible, what can we as individuals do to support rail transit? I, for one, joined the National Association of Railroad Passengers in hopes that their lobbying efforts have an impact.

  • And the more people that take the train, the cheaper everyone else’s ticket gets and the more money stays in local hands. It’s a classic win, win, win.

  • Thanks for the NARP tip. I have to go all the way down to Birmingham Alabama for an exhibition I am in next year. I am planning of taking Amtrak and with a NARP membership I can save money thanks to that 10 percent dicsount… And when the local paper’s review my artwork, I will insist that they mention I took the train all the way from NY to install the show because of concerns related to global warming.

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  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    Look, no one loves rail travel more than me. However, you will regret trying to go to Birmingham, Alabama from New York City on it. The ride to DC will be no problem, but then the Crescent will be a very long schlep. It is a beautiful ride through the heart of Appalachia but half of it will be at night since it is a full day on rail. That is if it is not interrupted, as it is regularly, by the incessant demands of the freights, in this case probably Norfolk Southern and/or CSX.

    The European systems run on exclusive right of way, usually with concrete ties.

    Side question for the power savvy, is the Eurostar powered by nukes? Much (most) of the French service is.


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