Rail highlights green credentials at COP26

Many of the delegates travelling to the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow arrived by rail on Saturday 30 October aboard a special Climate Train. Numerous rail activities took place during the conference, including demonstrations of hydrogen and battery trains as part of Network Rail’s Green Trains @COP26 event, and a three-day ‘Low Carbon Logistics’ event to showcase the drive to net zero emission supply chains.

Vivarail showcased a battery-powered Class 230 train, which performed demonstration runs from Glasgow Central to Barrhead and return, while Porterbrook’s new version of its HydroFlex Class 799, converted from a Class 319 EMU, offered rides from Glasgow Central round the Cathcart Circle. Visitors to see both trains included His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, UK Transport Minister Trudy Harrison and Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as a swathe of industry representatives. The Railway Industry Association held a Trailblazers networking event on the Vivarail train, part of an initiative that aims to encourage new entrants and support young professionals in the industry, while children from St Roch’s Primary School in Glasgow met M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, best-selling authors of the Adventures on Trains series.

The Scottish hydrogen train project also featured, with Arcola Energy and partners showcasing progress with the conversion of a retired Class 314 EMU to fuel cell power, based at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, through a series of organised visits.

During the conference Glasgow Central station hosted a green and sustainable stand organised by the Rail Delivery Group. A moss-covered carriage incorporated a driver simulator, with visitors able to try their hand at driving a Class 314 EMU between Pollokshields East and Glasgow Central and learn more about the RDG-led ‘We Mean Green’ campaign.

Climate Train

The Climate Train was the result of a partnership between Avanti West Coast, Eurostar, Dutch operator NS and infrastructure manager ProRail, and Youth for Sustainable Travel. Official delegations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany joined young people, MEPs and non-governmental organisations such as Friends of the Earth and Oxfam on board the train.

The first leg of the journey from Amsterdam to London was on-board a Eurostar e320 set, on which youth activists joined politicians and rail experts to debate and exchange ideas, tackling topics such as how to accelerate the modal shift towards sustainable travel and how innovation in rail can support this.

On arrival in the capital, delegates made their way between St Pancras and Euston via London’s first ‘Wellbeing Walk’ – an alternative walking route which aims to avoid high levels of pollution on the busier roads.

Delegates then joined Avanti West Coast Pendolino No 390121 to complete the journey to Glasgow. The Pendolino had been wrapped in a unique sustainability design to mark the occasion, supported by manufacturer Alstom, Aura Graphics and owner Angel Trains. A competition has been launched on social media to name the train.