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Trains replace planes

The shift from air to rail in the UK domestic market has been revealed by figures that show that on the ten busiest domestic air routes, mainly between the south of England and Scotland, rail’s market share increased from 29 to 46 per cent between 2006 and 2012.

Figures reported in the Financial Times on 28/4/13 indicate that upgrade of the West Coast main line, completed in 2009, has almost killed off the London-Manchester air market, with only 15 per cent of journeys still made by aircraft. Those travellers are normally transferring onto international flights at Heathrow.

The main domestic air market is between London and Scotland, where train operators still do not come close to matching airline journey times (measured city centre to city centre).

CO2 emissions from trains are considerably lower than from aircraft. Estimates vary according to the type of train and assumptions made about the source of their electricity, but all show trains as better in emissions terms, with some short haul flights in Europe estimated to produce ten times more CO2 than the equivalent journey by rail.