Anne Majumdar

People often choose rail travel to enjoy the views or swerve tedious airport check-ins, but for Eurostar, its green credentials are an increasingly powerful selling point.

Now in the throes of a major expansion, the high speed rail operator has laid out a 10-point plan to build on its existing environmental credentials and further reduce its footprint.

Nicolas Petrovic Eurostar KarryOn

Nicolas Petrovic of KarryOn Image credit:

Eurostar originally launched its Tread Lightly program back in 2007.

“Over the last eight years we have reduced our carbon footprint by over 30% but given the scale of the challenge facing the environment, we are now setting stretching new targets,” chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said.

“High speed rail plays a pivotal role in encouraging the switch to more sustainable modes of transport and we are committed to increasing our energy efficiency and reducing our waste across the business.”

A journey from London to Paris aboard one of its trains emits 90% less greenhouse gas than a flight on the same route, according to Eurostar. It also produces less carbon per passenger than a car journey from central London to Heathrow Airport.

Eurostar St Pancras KarryOn

And what about its new London to Amsterdam service which will debut in April?

Eurostar says the journey will result in 80% less carbon per passenger than a flight. It will operate the equivalent of eight flights per day, more than 50 flights per week and more than 2,600 each year.

On top of that, Eurostar has established a variety if programs to help it actively engage with the communities it passes through. For example, there is the Homework Club for young people in the King’s Cross area to use its offices after-hours for study. It also has a work experience program and an apprenticeship scheme.

Flowerpot green heart Pixabay KarryOn

So what are the new targets?

On the energy efficiency front, its aim is a 5% reduction in train energy by 2020.

It will introduce electric vehicles by 2020, followed by alternatives to fossil fuel for all journeys by 2030.

Over the next three years, Eurostar will halve its consumption of plastics and paper.

Would this encourage you to travel by Eurostar?