Rail transport must be relied upon much more if carbon emissions are to be reduced in the UK, concludes a new report.

A ‘modal shift’ from road and air to rail must take place, according to the report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and, in order for change to take place, Government policies on transport pricing, energy and town planning must be revised.

A train journey will produce around one tenth of the carbon emissions generated if the same trip is done by air.

Cliff Perry, vice president of IMechE’s Railway Division, said: ‘Eighty-five per cent of transport emissions come from roads, so if we are serious about doing something, we must hit road transport.’

IMechE’s report calculates that, on an average London to Paris journey, people travelling by car generate two and a half times more CO2 than those taking the train, while an air passenger produces 10 times more.

Japan’s railway system, says the report, should be examined and lessons must be learned from its efficiency and reliability. Train services in the UK, for example, should offer wi-fi and internet access throughout, and the ticket prices must be re-examined.

To comment on this article, use the comment box below, or email us at clonews@ipcmedia.com. Read more about the countryside.