European travel – Train, car or plane?


The information provided here aims to help us make informed decisions about European travel so that we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
After you have decided that a trip is necessary because its goals cannot be achieved in a way that does not involve travelling, a useful first step is to compare greenhouse gas emissions for alternative modes of transport. This can be done for train, car or plane in Europe using the online calculator at www.ecopassenger.org. The methodology and input data used in this calculator is freely available and can be accessed from the same website. A couple of nice features with this calculator are that the source of electricity (e.g. coal, nuclear, renewable) and the additional energy used to produce the electricity or the fuel used are included in the calculation. You can also modify various input parameters by clicking on “change your settings”.
In most cases, train travel will be the best option in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. To explore different options for train travel in Europe, I recommend the independent website: www.seat61.com.
Once you have decided on your preferred route and if you are travelling for work at Stockholm University, our travel agent (Egencia) can arrange tickets and seat reservations. Send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are travelling for pleasure, most journeys can be booked at either www.bahn.de or www.thetrainline.com. One advantage with the German website is that you can set a preferred connection time. I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes, because quite a few trains are delayed. If you are going to miss a connection, make sure to get the conductor on the delayed train to stamp your ticket with a “Hop on the next train” stamp. This allows you to get on the next train free of charge and without a reservation.
For some journeys an Interrail pass (for EU citizens) or Eurail pass (for non-EU citizens) is a cheaper option. Read more by clicking on “Railpasses” at www.seat61.com. This site explains how to buy a rail pass and how to use it. It is presently not allowed to use a rail pass for work travel at Stockholm University. Your environmental team are working on resolving this issue …

Alasdair Skelton
Co-director, Bolin Centre for Climate Research

Bolin Centre for Climate Research
A collaboration between Stockholm University, KTH and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute | Web administrator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.