We want UK train operators to be transparent about what fuel is powering their trains.

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We want UK train operators to be transparent about what fuel is powering their trains. Which is why we are petitioning government to help make that happen. Please read and sign.

When you book a train today, there is no way of knowing how that train is being powered. It could be diesel or it could be electric, with a difference of up to 35% in carbon emissions between the two*. Train companies know exactly how each of their trains, on each of their routes, is powered. Dirty diesel or cleaner, greener electricity. But they don’t share this information with the people who buy tickets to travel on each of these trains. Only government can make it compulsory for them to do so, which is why we are asking you to sign our petition.

What we want from our petition

Here is what could happen if government acts on our petition: It will be compulsory for train companies to reveal which fuel is used on each and every timetabled train. If you, as train travellers, have that information, then you can make an informed choice as to whether you want to travel on a diesel train that emits so much more carbon, or on a cleaner electric one. Our own recent research showed that 43% of regular train users would choose the greener option if they could**.

We have always been up front at Loco2 about the benefits of train travel over air in terms of carbon emissions, which is why we have a carbon calculator which you can use every time you buy a ticket at Loco2. Food companies have to declare all their ingredients and nutritional values so that consumers can make a choice as to what is good for them. White goods companies have to do the same. We encourage train companies to get on board with transparency.

Creating real change

At Loco2 we also believe that if consumers have this information to hand, and then go on to choose green over grimy, train operators will ultimately be under more pressure to change to electric for all their services. With technology advancing all the time, and hydrogen-powered electric trains due to be introduced to the UK as early as 2020, we know that this can be done.

Leading worldwide train expert and former Department for Transport (DfT) rail ticketing executive, Mark Smith (the Man in Seat 61), supports the call for change: "Over the last few years I have seen more and more people switch from short haul air to rail, saying they want to avoid the budget airline experience and cut their carbon footprint. So a more accurate assessment of emissions caused by a journey will become increasingly important when people choose their mode, route and operator." 

Please sign up

So please sign the petition and then share the petition to help us get this simple and achievable request onto the radar of the people who can make this happen. Craig Bennett, the chief executive officer of international environmental campaigning organisation, Friends of the Earth, has signed the petition already - here’s what he said:

“Giving people more information about the journeys they take means they can make greener choices about their travel too. This campaign is forward-thinking in calling for change before the new hydrogen trains - which could have a role to play alongside electrification, if fossil fuels aren’t used for production - are introduced into the UK.”


**Loco2 asked on OnePulse 1,025 regular train passengers living in the UK if they would like to know how trains are powered, on 5 November 2018.