Activists descend on Glasgow on climate train ahead of summit

·2-min read

Hundreds of activists and European politicians have descended on Glasgow on a specially chartered climate train ahead of the Cop26 conference.

The Rail to the Cop train arrived in the city on Saturday evening carrying around 300 climate activists, and 170 others.

Prior to boarding in London, some passengers had busked at Euston station where many of the activists had arrived after taking the Eurostar across the Channel.

Their train had travelled through the Netherlands and Belgium before linking up with the Avanti West Coast train to Glasgow.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Activists joined delegations from Europe on the train (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Some had travelled from as far afield as Poland and Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Lukas Kiefer, 25, a student from Germany who helped organise the journey, said the train companies the activists collaborated with think in a very different way to activists.

“But, at the same time we all agree that train mobility is the future of mobility for a huge amount of people, if it’s cheap and if it’s feasible for everyone,” he said.

“So I would say that one big demand from us is that subsidies don’t go into the aviation industry. For example, in Europe 43% of all airports need subsidies from the government because otherwise they could not run because they’re just too expensive.

“For us these subsidies need to go into the train tracks so that people can travel cheap on fast trains all over Europe, because that’s the only way to deal with the emissions of the aviation industry.”

Cop26 – Glasgow
World leaders will hold talks in Glasgow at the start of next week (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The activists were joined by ambassadors, MEPs and delegations from the governments of the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany.

In a speech on board, Joao Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the UK, said the fight against climate change is a common ground between Brussels and London.

“We have our issue and differences, some of them are right now on the screen on my phone,” he said. “But the climate is one areas in which we can seriously contribute to address global problems.”

Raffaele Trombetta, the UK ambassador for Italy, which is co-hosting the conference, said: “Glasgow is going to be one of the key moments in the history of our two countries, and the history of humanity.”

Eurostar chief executive Jacques Damas said: “The climate train is a symbol of partnership between rail operators and a show of commitment to meet growing customer expectations when it comes to sustainable travel.”

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: “By uniting with operators across the continent, the climate train’s journey illustrates the ease of travelling between countries, providing customers with a sustainable alternative.”

The climate train was initiated by Youth for Sustainable Travel, a non-profit, and Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail.

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