The I Came By Train campaign

UK: Recommendations for ‘nudging’ travellers towards trains as a lower carbon option than cars or flying are set out in a report produced by Trainline and GlobeScan as part of the ticker retailer’s I Came By Train campaign to highlight the environmental benefits of rail.

Jody Ford

Photos: Lloyd Winters

‘Let us do more to really sell rail to travellers’, said Trainline CEO Jody Ford.

The How collective action can build pride in rail and boost sustainable travel report says 47% of people feel a sense of guilt about their environmental impact, but when asked about the top actions they could take the most commonly picked options were ‘switching to renewable energy’ (20% of people) and ‘recycling more’ (16%), even though reducing car use and flying has a much bigger impact.

As part of the I Came By Train campaign, a Reasonable by Rail database has been produced highlighting ‘hero routes’ where rail is significantly cheaper and faster than car; these include Glasgow – Lake District, Bradford – London, Edinburgh – Newcastle and Manchester – Glasgow. Meanwhile, London – Manchester offers an opportunity to save time and money by taking the train rather than flying.

This is supplemented by a Pride in Rail public sentiment tracker, and input from the travel industry.

The report recommends:

  • opening the Reasonable by Rail database to the wider industry and travel retailers in order to encourage marketing campaigns and local engagement to promote of the ‘hero routes’;
  • simple, industry-wide consumer messaging on how rail offers an easy way to reduce carbon footprints;
  • ensuring rail options are highlighted in travel planning systems;
  • creating a digital ‘green’ railcard, offering discounts which would be unlocked if someone takes five trains in a year;
  • promoting modal shift by taking inspiration from campaigns such as Meat Free Monday and Veganuary.

I Came By Train campaign

The I Came By Train campaign aims to highlight the environmental benefits of rail.

‘Let us do more to really sell rail to travellers’, Trainline CEO Jody Ford said when the ticket retailer hosted an I Came By Train event for the passenger rail industry in London on February 21.

‘Sustainability is rail’s secret weapon’, he said. The ‘crucial market’ of people under 30 is particularly receptive ‘as a generation who are driven by ethical decision-making, who care about sustainability’, but Trainline’s research has found that many of them do not make a link between rail travel and sustainability and so ‘we have to convince people’ through cross-industry messaging.