Finland’s trains to go carbon neutral from 2020

More than 13.5 million journeys were made by rail in 2018 and the new initiative will make more of those trips carbon neutral.

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File picture of VR trains at Helsinki Central Railway Station / Credit: iStock

Taking a train journey in Finland is about to become even more environmentally responsible, when VR offsets carbon emissions for all its passenger trains from 2020.

At present, 95% of VR’s trains run on electric lines, which are powered by hydroelectricity. However, due to the lack of electrification across the whole network it’s not possible to run trains completely on renewables.

Now the state-owned railway company has decided to use Nordic Offset, a Finnish company specialising in corporate climate control, to offset its carbon emissions.

“Trains produce significantly less emissions than other modes of transport. At the same time, they also consume less energy” explains Topi Simola, VR’s Director of Passenger Transport.

“Every time our customers choose a train, they reduce the CO2 emission of their travel by about 98% compared to cars” he adds.

The new emissions initiative is part of VR’s ongoing environmental programme which is committed to reducing emissions by improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy and minimising emissions across the whole of VR’s operations.

According to VR, journeys via domestic long-distance trains have increased by 24% since 2016, and 13.5 million journeys were made by train in 2018.