A recent study commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace revealed that more than a third of the busiest short-haul flights in European countries have usable alternatives to trains, reducing pollution.
In addition, the group urged governments in European countries to boost train travel in order to reduce pollution caused by planes, TheSchengen.com reports.
“There is one fairly simple way in which Europeans can reduce their CO2 emissions: to prefer a train rather than a plane when traveling within the continent, and to make it easier and cheaper for people to do so. Europe’s rail network is dense and relatively fast in many countries, It already offers a reasonable alternative to about half of the most common short-haul air routes.”
In this regard, the European Commission had earlier announced the launch of Connecting Europe Express, as part of the European Year of Railways 2021, to indicate the advantages of using rail transport.
The European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valian, emphasized that railways are the most effective solution to the phenomenon of climate change as well as the economic recovery after the pandemic.
The train known as the Europe Express connects to almost every European country, and has reached more than 100 towns and cities in order to boost rail travel. In addition, the train has a stop at 26 EU member states passing through 33 border crossings allowing travelers to reach their European destinations using sustainable travel options such as rail transport.
Based on a study by OBC Transeuropa, a total of 34 percent of the 150 busiest short-haul trips have train travel alternatives of less than 6 hours. In addition, the study showed that problematic air routes, including flights and the authors, stressed that they could emit dozens of times more carbon dioxide than trains.
According to the study, routes, including Madrid – Barcelona, Frankfurt – Berlin, as well as Brussels – Amsterdam, can be covered by train in two to four hours.
In its statement, Greenpeace stressed that “Europe could replace almost all of the 250 short-haul flights and save about 23.4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, such as Croatia’s annual carbon dioxide emissions.”
According to the group, it would be beneficial for EU governments to encourage more train travel, especially night trains.
In addition, the group stressed that if passengers started using trains instead of planes for these trips, a total of 54 million people would travel by plane annually, saving 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.