The Southeast Communities Rail Partnership has joined a national campaign to encourage people to Go Green by Train and take practical steps to help improve the environment.

Community Rail Week, organised by Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, is the first event of its kind in the UK and will see hundreds of local partnership projects and volunteers getting involved to promote green travel by train from 18-24 October.

 Tim Barkley, Chair of SCRP, said: “We have a packed week of activities to show how  promoting train travel can make a positive contribution to tackling the climate emergency and improve our local communities. Our education team will be providing free ‘Healthy and Sustainable’ workshops to schoolchildren, and we are joining in local campaigns with colleges to highlight the CO2 savings that can be made if we use the train instead of the car.

“There will be a ‘Pop Up’ event at Tonbridge Station, whilst at Farnborough North the focus is on ‘Rail to Ramble’ along the Blackwater Valley. Along our newest line from Reading to Ashford & Windsor there will be more popular ‘Dr Bike’ cycle repair sessions. And we will be celebrating the achievements of community rail volunteers by hosting several thank you events in places highlighted by our Places to Visit by Rail, Discover the Lines pages and our Thameslink Guide “Coast Countryside Capital” project with Scenic Rail Britain.”

Olivia Barlow, Stakeholder Manager – Southern & Gatwick Express, said: ”The train is a great sustainable way of travelling. So much has been done to improve cleanliness and accessibility, making train travel the choice for exploring our beautiful region. The SCRP has worked with us and tourism bodies across our network to encourage local residents and visitors to go by train, to improve the station environment and educate young people about sustainable travel.

“Our campaign promotes some fantastic destinations to visit on our network, including London, Brighton, Hastings, Rye, Arundel, Worthing, Chichester and along the Thameslink route to Cambridge and beyond. We support local communities and businesses in these destinations, helping to reduce carbon emissions as well as promoting train travel.”

Nicole Black, Community Engagement Manager at GWR, added: “The SCRP Education project is working with schools and colleges along the North Downs line to promote sustainable travel. ‘Try a Train’ activities encourage less confident groups to use the train. The feedback has been so positive and has opened new opportunities to explore the countryside and market towns by train. We want to encourage more people to Go Green by Train, especially along the hidden gem that is the North Downs route between Gatwick and Reading.”

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!”

:: SCRP will be highlighting the CO2 savings from taking the train on each of its routes compared with driving the same journey. We will equate the savings to the number of smartphones which could be charged.

We have used the LNER carbon footprint calculator and the Environmental Protection Agency equivalencies calculator.

The exact figures for each route will vary depending on the type of car and the number of passengers as well as the age, make and model of smartphone and electricity tariff. But the overall message is clear: train travel is a more sustainable form of transport than driving.