ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have hit out as prices for train travel between London and Glasgow for COP26 can be to three times higher than air fares.

Last week, the Campaign for Better Transport took on the challenge of a plane versus train from London to Glasgow to find out which was faster. Chief executive of the organisation Paul Tuohy raced colleague Norman Baker from Piccadilly Circus to George Square with Paul travelling by plane and Norman by train.

The pair arrived within minutes of each other with Paul arriving narrowly before Norman.

Glasgow Times:

Paul had to take into consideration the travel time to the airport, security and being there two hours before the flight was due to take off whereas for Norman, he was able to travel directly from the city centre with just a short walk on the other side to get to George Square.

Paul said: “My journey emitted seven times as much carbon as Norman’s for the sake of just two minutes. Next time I travel to Glasgow, I’ll choose ease, comfort, and a much smaller carbon footprint.”

Glasgow Times: Avanti West Coast train

Norman said: “In the shadow of the climate emergency, I’m not going to cry over two minutes. What’s more, while Paul was queuing, chopping and changing, I was able to relax, enjoy the scenery and catch up on work.”

The organisation has called on the Government to do more to promote rail as the green alternative to flying.

The Glasgow Times looked into prices for train and air travel from London to Glasgow on Sunday, October 31, when the international climate conference begins at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC).

According to flight comparison website Skyscanner, the cheapest return flight with easyJet from London Gatwick to Glasgow Airport on the first day of COP26 was just £46 but this did not include any additional extras such as baggage. Added extras such as an overhead bag would bring the total to £55.

With British Airways, travelling between London Gatwick and Glasgow, the return price was £87. And on the ticketing website Trainline, the most reasonably priced return train ticket between Euston station and Glasgow Central came to a steep £128.80.

Glasgow Times: An easyJet plane takes off

A standard off-peak return ticket between the two cities is £155. An anytime return would set travellers back £393.

However, a spokesperson for Avanti West Coast, who operate the train franchise between London and Glasgow, argued that delegates could take advantage of fares as low as £32.80 during the conference.

They added: “Rail is the most sustainable and also a cost effective way to travel to COP26 in Glasgow with advance single fares from as little as £32.80 still available during the conference.”

Rail travel is widely seen as more environmentally friendly than travelling by air. The average train journey between the two major stations would emit almost 25kgs of carbon dioxide per passenger and the average flight would give out a whopping 165.05kg of carbon dioxide per person in comparison.

Paul added: “Climate change is a global emergency that affects us all.

“We urgently need to reduce emissions from transport and domestic aviation, yet the Government is planning to make flights cheaper and put up rail fares.

“We think this is wrong, especially as we get ready to host the UN climate conference next month.

“The Government must do more to promote rail as the greener alternative to flying.”