According to data from the bridge party, train travel produces less carbon than batteryEV.

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Travelling by train on Britain’s busiest business routes generates less than half the carbon emissions of even a battery electric car, according to detailed analysis from the rail industry.

Certain journeys on the greenest, fullest electric trains produce as little as one-fifteenth of the CO2 per person compared with the footprint of a sole occupancy petrol or diesel car, the data shows.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) claimed the data is the industry’s most accurate and granular yet, incorporating train types and occupancy, and said it hopes it will allow businesses to make the greenest travel choices.

However, campaigners pointed out that fares on some of the comparatively greenest rail routes were not cheaper than cars, and the cost of rail travel needed to be addressed.

The RDG said that on average across the top 100 business travel routes, using a diesel or petrol car produced nine times more carbon than going by train. The figure was four times more polluting than a train if driving a plug-in hybrid electric car, or almost two-and-a-half times more if using a battery electric car.

The comparison uses the government’s official figures for average executive car emissions by distance. Battery EV emissions largely depend on the source of electricity, and should decrease with the uptake of renewable energy.

Going from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross would emit 116kg of CO2 in a diesel car, 31.8kg in a battery car and 12.7kg per person by train, according to the RDG data.

However, single fares on the main operator on that route, LNER, are now £183 without pre-booking, although much cheaper advance fares are available. Average fuel costs would be roughly £50 for a small petrol car to travel the 400 miles, and significantly less again for an electric car, even after recent energy price rises.

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the RDG, said the data would allow businesses to have the most accurate measure of emissions for the 100 most popular business rail journeys.

She said: “We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and the data that we have published reveals that rail is the green choice for travel between our towns and cities.”

Business travel on rail has slipped substantially since the pandemic, accelerating moves towards online meetings and video conferencing.

Rail fares are due to rise by 4.9% across England from Sunday. Michael Solomon Williams, from charity Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Travelling by train is always greener than driving, and it’s getting even greener as more rail routes are electrified. It is often quicker too, but what we now need to do is to ensure it is also cheaper. Next week’s rail fare rise will do little to address the rising cost of rail travel.

He added: “Businesses can also do their bit to reduce transport emissions by having a ‘rail first’ travel policy and encouraging employees to take the train when travelling with work.”