It’s time for summer… and reducing CO2!

Sunglasses ready? Comfy shoes on? All you need is your ticket and you’re good to go!

4 min read


Think Green


Ksenia Pisera

Journalist, popularizer of knowledge about environmental and climate protection


Sunglasses ready? Comfy shoes on? All you need is your ticket and you’re good to go! Whether you’re heading for the mountains or the sea, why not choose an eco-friendly method of travel? Taking a train is one of the most environmentally friendly means of transport for long distances – and it’s loads of fun, too!

Discovering new places, making friends, and collecting memories are just a few reasons to travel. But every trip is also about the way the road is travelled. While planning your excursion, consider thinking about how you can reduce your impact on the environment to make your travels an even better overall experience. The best trips are the ones where you take only photos and leave only footprints – and we’re not talking about carbon footprints.

According to the European Parliament, almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. Even though holiday trips account only for a part of this pool, reducing our emissions from leisure activities can ensure that we are able to travel as much as we like without needing to feel bad about how it is impacting the climate. And make no mistake: making better transportation choices for leisure travel does have a tangible effect: in 2020 alone, Poles have contributed to saving over 330 000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere simply by taking the train!

The difference in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per passenger-kilometre is visible when various means of transport are compared. It is estimated that one person’s train journey will contribute around 30-40 grams of CO2 per km. For a small car, it is about 120 grams of CO2, which means that at least four passengers have to travel in one car to make the trip competitive with a train ride. Rail gets even better when compared with planes: air travel emits around 285 grams of greenhouse gases per passenger-kilometre. This can really add up over long distances.

To illustrate this, let’s suppose that we are going on holiday from Gdynia to Zakopane. We have 720 kilometres ahead of us, and taking the train – using the simplest calculations – will contribute about 25.2 kg of CO2 emissions one way per person. By car it will be about 86.4 kg, and by plane about 205.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Planes and cars may be more tempting for travellers who want to travel fast. However, keep in mind that getting to the airport early and checking-in are also time-consuming parts of any journey. After all, airports are usually located on the outskirts of cities, while railway stations are typically in the very centre! Travel time by car, on the other hand, is very dependent on traffic – any obstruction or traffic jam will slow you down, while increasing your CO2 emissions in the process!

Travelling by train has major advantages. It’s convenient, it’s more relaxing than a few hours behind the wheel or in an aeroplane seat, and it can even be an adventure in itself. Picturesque, Polish landscapes can be admired through the windows, travelling at the perfect pace to allow for taking in the views while still getting to your destination fairly quickly. An excellent example would be the route through the Hel Peninsula with a view of the Baltic Sea or the trip by “Kryniczanka” train from Tarnów to Krynica-Zdrój!

Are you ready for an eco-friendly journey? Let’s go!