UK: Train faster than plane

‘Majority’ of popular domestic air trips in the UK could be completed by train more quickly and cheaply, new report reveals.



A new report from the UK’s leading transport NGO, Campaign for Better Transport, has revealed that the majority of the most popular domestic and near Europe flights can be completed more quickly and cheaply by rail.

Plane speaking: moving journeys from air to rail, compared the top 23 domestic and UK to Europe flights which all have a direct rail equivalent on cost, journey time and carbon emissions and revealed that:

  • Over half (57%) of routes were cheaper, or no more expensive by rail
  • 70% were quicker, or the same by rail once airport processing times were added to flight times
  • Switching just a quarter (25%) of the domestic flights featured in the report to rail would save 171,377 tonnes of carbon: the equivalent of taking 117,900 cars off the road
  • Switching half (50%) would save 409,598 tonnes of carbon: the equivalent of taking 283,000 cars off the road.

The report looked at 23 flights in total: the 20 most popular domestic routes by passenger numbers, and the three most popular UK to Europe routes which all have a direct rail alternative. Of the top 20 UK routes, half were found to be cheaper or no more expensive by rail and 14 out of the 20 were found to be quicker once airport travel and processing times were factored in. The report found that all three of the European routes can be completed at a lower cost and faster by rail than by flying.