It may seem crazy to some people, but I have decided to travel by train from Germany to Scotland; and back again. Let me tell you why.
If you’ve read my last blog posts, you already know that I’m currently spending my semester abroad in Scotland. Actually, I come from Germany and when it became clear that I was going to be studying abroad, the question arose how I could travel to Scotland in the most climate-friendly way.
When asking the internet (and friends), it seems that trains do better than flights in terms of environmental impact. But can this be said in such general terms? Although the CO2 load on train routes varies – depending, for example, on the electricity mix used by the respective railway company – according to my research it is still lower than for a flight on the same routes.
Do some research
So, travelling by train it is. Now, of course, the question arises what, where and how to book best. The first tip I’ll give you, is to do some research yourself. Through heylilahey’s Instagram profile I first became aware that you can travel from Germany to Great Britain quite well. She also wrote a blog post about it which brought seat61 to my attention. If you want to travel through the UK or are planning to travel from or to the UK, this page is probably the best resource for you.
How I proceeded
Based on my research, I compared the prices for my trip on the websites of Deutsche Bahn and Trainline. I also noticed that I had to book the trip in two sections, one being from Dresden to London and the other from London to Glasgow. The prices on the Deutsche Bahn site were better, so I booked the first part of the trip on their site. I then booked the second leg on the Trainline website.
Full disclosure, I booked my train connections relatively late, so it was comparatively expensive. The price also depends on the age of the passenger. Therefore, it is possible that you will have higher costs.
Dresden – London: 114,90€
London – Glasgow: 35,45€ (incl. service fees)
Travelling by train is very relaxed. You can start in the city centre and don’t have to be there much earlier before departure – unless the journey starts with the Euostar. I drove via Leipzig, Frankfurt and Brussels, so I could stretch my legs from time to time and didn’t have to sit in the train all the while. I also had enough time to eat something at the train stations.
The only stupid thing was that I left my laptop in the first train, so the trip wasn’t quite so relaxed for me. That’s why my second tip is always to check if you didn’t leave anything behind. I was lucky enough and got my laptop back because it was left with the conductor.
Altogether my journey took 18 hours. Of course this is quite long if you compare it to the flight duration, but I had the time and would not have done anything more worthwhile on the day of travel if I had arrived by plane.
The way back
Now I actually wanted to write about how I booked the return trip, but life is not always the way you imagine it. I wanted to book the return journey again via the Deutsche Bahn website, so I waited until the winter timetable was published. Unfortunately, there are problems between Deutsche Bahn and Eurostar (the railway company that offers train connections between the UK and the European mainland through the Eurotunnel). Therefore, it is not possible to book the ‘European super saver fare’ of the Deutsche Bahn starting October 15th until today. Therefore I can only show you the theoretical price. [Edit October 31st: I was finally able to book the train connection at the price indicated]
London – Dresden: 64,90€ (the price currently displayed on the Deutsche Bahn website)
This time I’ll start directly from London, as I will spend a few more days there. The train journey from Glasgow to London is therefore not mentioned here. However, I bought a railcard in the meantime, which makes the train journey from Glasgow to London cheaper. If you travel within the UK, this card is a good way to save money.
Of course, not everyone has the time to travel 18 hours by train to reach their destination. And not everyone has the financial means to afford a train journey. So don’t feel bad if you don’t have the opportunity. The fact that you even think about it shows that the topic is important to you and that counts. But if you have the possibilities, then I hope that my blog post has helped you!
Two interesting newspaper articles on the environmental impact of the various modes of transport: