Taking the train with GTR for business is up to 12 times greener than driving

Taking the train on business with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is up to 12 times better for the environment than driving, according to analysis by the Rail Delivery Group.

Journeys between London and 10 stations across the GTR network (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink) reveal a startling saving on carbon emissions compared with a car:

Between the following stations and London*:

  • Bedford - up to 4.4 times fewer emissions
  • Brighton - up to 7.4 times fewer emissions
  • East Croydon - up to 7.5 times fewer emissions
  • Gatwick - up to 9.4 times fewer emissions
  • Hove - up to 12 times fewer emissions
  • Huntingdon - up to 4.2 times fewer emissions
  • Peterborough - up to 3.5 times fewer emissions
  • South Croydon - up to 5 times fewer emissions
  • St Albans - up to 5.4 times fewer emissions
  • Stevenage - up to 8.7 times fewer emissions


This is the number of times difference between average rail and petrol/diesel car emissions, expressed in kgCO2e per person travelling. See full details in notes to editors.


Jason Brooker, Head of Environment and Sustainability at GTR, said: “This is the first time that detailed rail data – including journey distance, occupancy and carriage layout – has been combined by the industry to showcase the environmental benefits of rail travel.


“We’ve known for a long time that trains are the most sustainable form of public transport but never been able to express it in such detail.

“This data will eventually be extended to all passenger types and added to national rail enquiries to show everyone how much carbon they’re saving when planning a journey.

“I hope it will help everyone who cares about the climate crisis to make a more sustainable choice.”


On average across the top 100 business UK travel routes, taking the train for business travel produces nine times less carbon than going by diesel or petrol car, more than four times less carbon than using a plug-in hybrid electric car and almost two-and-a-half times less carbon than using a battery electric car.


The expectation is that businesses will choose rail over road if they have the figures to demonstrate how this contributes to their sustainability targets.


Jacqueline Starr, CEO at Rail Delivery Group, said: “We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and the data that we have published reveals that rail is the green choice for travel between our towns and cities.

“We know that businesses need accurate and reliable carbon emission data they can trust. From today, businesses will be able to see the most accurate measure of rail business travel emissions available for the 100 most popular business journeys across the UK. This will allow travellers to make greener travel choices by providing reliable carbon data when they book their next train ticket.”


Clive Wratten, CEO at the Business Travel Association, said: “We’ve heard loud and clear from our members and the business travel community that consistency in carbon measurement is an imperative.


“This initiative from RDG on behalf of the whole rail industry has the potential to provide clarity and a robust green message to all parts of business travel.”


Sarah Ockendon, Procurement Manager at the John Lewis Partnership, said:

“This will empower us to make better informed decisions about rail as a sustainable business travel option."

“The Green Travel Pledge will offer a reliable evidence base to demonstrate rail’s role in helping us to reach our CO2sustainability goals.”


Related news

GDBA 2024 image