GTP-departure board infographic-green

Rail travel is almost nine times greener than by car on the Top 100 business routes new figures show

  • New carbon data shows that you can substantially decrease emissions if you switch from car to train for business travel across Britain.  
  • Taking the train on the top 100 business routes in Britain is:   
  • o Almost nine times greener than using a petrol/diesel car     
  • o More than four times greener than using a plug-in hybrid electric car     
  • o Almost two-and-a-half times greener than using a battery electric car 
  • This is the first time the rail industry has combined granular data on train occupancy, fuel type, exact journey distance and many other factors to create detailed, accurate and reliable carbon emission data for rail business travel.   
  • Later this year we will be releasing carbon data for all point-to-point rail business routes across Britain.

The next phase of Green Travel Pledge carbon emission passenger data shows journeys along 100 of Britain’s busiest business routes create significantly less carbon emissions by rail compared to travelling by car.  

On average across the top 100 business 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. 

Some of the business travel journeys with the lowest carbon emissions per passenger (compared to one person travelling alone by petrol or diesel car) include: London King’s Cross to York (produces 15.13 times less carbon), Darlington to London King’s Cross (produces 14.88 times less carbon) and Ebbsfleet International to St Pancras International (produces 14.41 times less carbon).  

But the figure is as a high as almost 20 times greener for the route from Haymarket Station in Edinburgh to London King’s Cross which produces 19.85 times fewer  CO₂ emissions.  

This is the first time that detailed rail data from across the industry – including engine type, fuel type, journey distance, occupancy and carriage layout – has been combined to showcase the environmental benefits of rail travel for the top 100 business routes across Britain. 

Top 10 busiest business travel routes with the lowest carbon emissions 



Average petrol/diesel car emissions (KGCO2e) 

Rail average emissions per passenger (KGCO2e) 

Number of times difference between rail and petrol/diesel car emissions   


London King’s Cross 



London King’s Cross 






London King’s Cross 




London King’s Cross 





Ebbsfleet International 

St Pancras International 




London King’s Cross 





Wakefield Westgate 

London King’s Cross 




London King’s Cross 






London King’s Cross 





London Liverpool Street 




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. This will allow travellers to make greener travel choices by providing reliable carbon data when they book their next train ticket. 

“This is an important milestone but we want to do more. We want to help business travellers to make greener travel choices. Having our Green Travel Pledge data available through global and domestic travel management companies and online booking tools will enable more businesses to choose rail as their first choice for business travel and reduce their carbon footprint.” 

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 CO2 sustainability goals.” 

Dan Beauchamp, Head of Global & Multinational Consulting at Amex Global Business Travel, said “At Amex GBT, we believe travel powers progress and rail has a fundamental role in driving more sustainable travel.  

“We’ve worked with RDG’s Green Travel Pledge initiative since its inception. Access to granular emissions data for rail is a key requirement for our customers as growing numbers of them promote modal shift as an enabler for their sustainability commitments.” 

You can view our league table of the 100 greenest business routes to see your local route and compare how green it is to driving by yourself.  

This data has been developed by Rail Delivery Group – in partnership with Thrust Carbon, 3Squared, Black Box Partnerships and the wider rail industry – as part of the rail industry’s Green Travel Pledge – a commitment to provide businesses with detailed, accurate and reliable data on the carbon emissions of rail journeys across Britain to help highlight rail’s environmental benefits. 

The data aims to create an industry benchmark for transport carbon emissions and is believed to be the most accurate carbon emission data ever created for rail business travel in Britain. 

You can find out more at  

Contact Information

Rail Delivery Group Media Team

Notes to editors

How has the comparison between rail and car been calculated? 

Green Travel Pledge data uses the following data categories for week-day rail travel: engine type, fuel type, journey distance, number of carriages, travel class, occupancy and timetable. 

Car comparison uses the Government’s Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors for a single-occupancy business travel car. 

Please see our website and FAQs for more information

What is Green Travel Pledge? 

Green Travel Pledge is the rail industry’s commitment to provide detailed, accurate and reliable data on the carbon emissions of rail journeys so that:​ 

  • The sustainability benefits of travelling by train become clearer and even more compelling;​ 
  • Businesses and their travellers are empowered to make more informed choices;​ 
  • The business travel sector can make data on rail journey emissions easier to access and use at the point of sale;​ 
  • Businesses can accurately measure the emissions of their rail travel to track their progress against sustainability goals. 

The pledge will help encourage businesses to modal shift away from car and plane to stimulate additional business journeys by train. 

Green Travel Pledge is a rail industry initiative being led by the Rail Delivery Group, creating a recognised industry benchmark for carbon emissions. 

Collaborative partners: 

Black Box Partnerships 

Travel research & insights partner 

Black Box Partnerships continues to lead engagement across the business travel and technology community ensuring corporates, travel management companies, industry associations, online booking tools and rail technology systems remain engaged and aligned to Green Travel Pledge and wider rail industry initiatives. 


Collaborative partner (rail data)  

Founded in 2002, Sheffield based 3Squared specialises in the development of software applications for clients across the rail sector, delivering innovative technological solutions under the RailSmart brand. 3Squared part of the Velociti Group

The team at 3Squared utilised their decades of rail data experience to ensure the use of the most reliable and accurate data sets available to calculate carbon emissions. 

Thrust Carbon 

Collaborative partner (carbon methodology) 

Thrust Carbon  mission is driving the travel industry to become effortlessly green. They are the market leading solution for travel emissions reporting, reduction, and behaviour change. Their expertise on the project provides a robust methodology for calculating carbon emissions.