COVENTRY Railway Station was one of many across the Midlands to hold a ‘Go Green By Train’ event as part of Community Rail Week which ran from October 18 to today (Sunday, October 24).
It was aimed at encouraging people to use public transport for more of their journeys to help combat climate change.
Community Rail Partnerships and volunteer groups were at Coventry Station last Wednesday to get people to make a ‘Go Green By Train pledge’.
Among those making the vow were Julia Tasker Singleton, of the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership (CRP), Brian Barnsley, Community Rail Network, Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director at WMRE, Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Coventry, Mayor of Leamington Spa and the Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council.
There has also been a focus on young people’s views voices and futures.
A Sustainable Station Session was also held in Coventry on Saturday by the CRP where the idea of sustainability and what families could do in their own homes was discussed.
Statistics show 70 per cent of young people are keen to see more people using more trains in the future with 90 per cent saying the environment and climate emergency is an important issue to them.
Around half – 48 per cent – travel by train at least once a month, but one in six – 17 per cent – have rarely or never been on a train or cannot remember when they last did/
While 94 per cent have a station near enough for them to use, 67 per cent admit there are factors getting in the way of them using trains, including practicalities with walking, cycling, or getting a bus to the station, being worried about cost and driving or getting lifts being more convenient.
Transport has a huge role to play if the UK is to reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent of 1990 levels, or ‘net zero’ by 2050.
Figures show transport is now the largest emitting sector in the UK, making up 27 per cent of domestic emissions.
Rail accounted for just one per cent of domestic transport emissions in 2019, despite representing 10 per cent of the total distance travelled and is the greenest form of transport after walking and cycling.
One train can remove 500 cars from the roads.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “As we approach the international climate talks in Glasgow, the community rail movement across Midlands are coming together to highlight the great importance of green travel at a local and global level.
“Rail, combined with buses, walking, cycling, and shared mobility, provides a huge part of the solution – shifting as many journeys as we can onto these modes, and reducing private car use, can help us forge a more sustainable, healthy, inclusive future.”
Andy Bagnall, director general at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Trains are inherently green so when people go by rail it’s more than a journey – it’s literally helping to save the planet.
“In future, we want trains to be the backbone of a decarbonised transport network so, as well as supporting initiatives like Community Rail Week, we want to work with government to reform ticketing and fares.
“If it’s easier for people to find and buy a good value ticket, more people will use rail as a green alternative to other ways of travelling.”