Summer by rail – boosting economy and environment

When you take a rail journey during your staycation, you’re not just rewarding yourself with a well-deserved break.

Your holiday or day trip is making an important contribution to Britain’s economy.

This summer, rail journeys are helping hospitality, leisure and retail businesses all over the country.

In fact, on average, train passengers travelling for leisure spend £107 a trip on things including shops, restaurants and hotels, according to research published in July by trade body Rail Delivery Group.

The report estimates that before the pandemic, passengers travelling by train across Britain for days out spent a total of £46bn a year on these activities.

Food and drink topped the list at £15bn a year (an average £33 per trip), followed by £12bn (£31 per trip) on shopping, £10bn (£21 per trip) on accommodation and £5bn (£12 per trip) on entertainment and culture.

Seaside towns and villages led average spending in terms of the types of destinations you travelled to, at £116.

Inside Wemyss Bay station under its incredible, sweeping glass roof, daytime
The railway station at Wemyss Bay in Scotland – a popular holiday destination

Environmentally friendly travel

Landscape view of the railway line along the Kent coast, daytime
Folkestone, Kent

Your train journey can help the environment and communities around your favourite destinations as many of us eagerly visit beaches, national parks and much more.

For instance, about 40% of seaside town residents said they had concerns about increased road traffic if rail usage fell by 5% or 20%.

Almost 60% ranked increased carbon emissions, reduction in air quality or harm to the natural environment and biodiversity as one of their top concerns if rail usage fell by a fifth.

For decades, rail has consistently produced by far the lowest total million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

A report published by the Department for Transport in 2018, Moving Britain Ahead, showed rail produced a total of two MtCO2e in 2016 – the same as in 1990.

This compared with …

Cars and taxis – 70.3 MtCO2e in 2016, compared with 72.3 MtCO2e in 1990

Domestic and international aviation – 35.5 MtCO2e in 2016, up from 17.1 MtCO2e in 1990

Heavy goods vehicles – 20.3 MtCO2e in 2016, compared with 20.5 in 1990

Infographic showing how rail travel emits far less carbon than other forms of travel

So when you choose to travel by rail, we, businesses and communities all over Britain say a big thank you.

Read more:

Wish I was there – exhibition celebrates rail travel

Love the railway – heritage railways

Love the railway: Community Rail

Love the railway: take a rail trip to the site of the Sutton Hoo treasure

Love the railway – Heart of England Community Rail Partnership