Railfuture congratulates Lufthansa, the German airline, for initiating a switch of passengers from plane to train. In March the airline will take some passengers booked on short haul flights by train from Stuttgart via Frankfurt airport.

Air France is expected to start a similar project using high speed Thalys trains between Paris and Brussels.

These initiatives are in an effort to relieve congestion at busy European airports, but Railfutire points out that there are serious environmental advantages of switching from plane to train.

According to Railtrack’s 1998 network management statement, air travel releases about double the carbon dioxide per passenger kilometre than an inter-city train. Carbon dioxide is the principal climate-changing gas responsible for man-made global warming.

A report by Friends of the Earth last year shows how bad for the environment travelling by plane can be. More carbon is released into the atmosphere per passenger on a return flight to Florida than is released by a car driven for a year by the average UK motorist.

Railfuture urges that people wishing to make journeys of less than 800 km should take the train if possible.

Alix Stredwick 27 Feb 2001