A study has found that 43% of frequent train passengers in the UK prefer to know how each train is being powered so that they can make a more environmentally-conscious decision.
This study was undertaken by pan-European train comparison and booking platform Loco2 on 5 November in anticipation of the hydrogen trains coming to the UK in the early 2020s.
Loco2 asked 1,025 regular train passengers living in the UK if they would like to know how trains are powered.
A petition has been created urging the Department for Transport and the Rail Delivery Group to make it mandatory for all rail operators to be transparent about what fuel powers their trains.
This transparency will enable consumers to have the information they require to select the train they prefer to travel on in the interest of the environment.
The Department for Transport’s Rail Review Team has received the request for consideration before the company releases its white paper next Autumn.
Commenting on the campaign, Loco2 executive Cristina Astorri said: “We know that rail operators have the fuel data we are asking for readily available, but it’s not in their interest to share it, especially those who aren’t prioritising the planet over making profit.
“The only barrier to train operators sharing this information some might say is that hybrid trains will run part of the journey using one power source and will switch to another, but this shouldn’t make any real difference because they know when the power source switches. Typically, an electric train emits 20-35% less carbon emissions than a diesel train, it’s a massive difference. ”
This campaign is not only expected to make rail operators share the data, but will enable consumers to vote with their feet by choosing to take cleaner energy trains over the older, polluting ones.
Astorri added: “If this shift in consumer behaviour is great enough, train operators will be forced to improve the way they power their trains in order to appeal to existing and new customers.”
Environmental charity Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said: “A shift from air to rail is important to fight climate change, but more can be done to make train travel sustainable. It means making trains zero emissions and decarbonising the network.
“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.”