SOURCE: Eurail Group G.I.E. — Carbon dioxide emissions from cars and planes play a huge role in air pollution and global warming. In Europe, taking the train instead of renting a car or jetting around on low cost airlines is a sure-fire way to lessen the environmental impact of travel.
“If you’re concerned about contributing to global climate change, remember that rail is always a better option than flying”, advises Mr. Ian Byrne, Deputy Director of the National Energy Foundation, based in the UK .
The Eurail network that covers most of Europe with its wide range of flexible and affordable rail passes makes it easy to travel “green.” The average Eurail Global Pass Passenger, for example, travels more than 4,000 miles while using the pass. Trains covering that distance emit 0.3 tons of CO2, while cars and planes put out more than a ton of CO2. Travelers can calculate their personal emissions on the website of the US Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html.
Aside from the environmental benefits, taking the train can make the journey as enjoyable as the destination. Europe’s fast, sleek trains go efficiently from downtown to downtown with a minimal use of land compared to most US highway systems. Since there is little urban sprawl, passengers enjoy a window seat on passing views of fairy tale castles, forested hillsides, sleepy villages and bustling towns. What’s more, trains rarely encounter mechanical or weather delays, and none of the frequent congestion that can not only stall traffic in the air and on the ground, but also further waste fuel and increase greenhouse gases. It just makes sense to take the train whenever possible.
High-speed train whizzying accross the Spanish countryside – Picture courtesy of RENFE
Eurail offers a range of flexible and affordable rail passes. The classic Eurail Global Pass covers 18 countries and gives travelers the freedom to travel as far as they want, when they want, as long as they want.
For more information about Eurail see www.EurailGroup.com. To purchase, go to www.Eurail.com or one of Eurail’s authorized North American sales agents: ACP Rail International (eurail-acprail.com); Flight Centre (flightcentre.com) and Rail Europe (www.raileurope.com).
Eurail Countries: Austria, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain (1), Sweden and Switzerland.
(1) The Spanish railway company is RENFE. See their timetables here