Campaigners descend on the climate train in Glasgow ahead of COP26

HUNDREDS of European activists and politicians 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 with around 300 climate activists and 170 more.

Before boarding in London, some passengers had made their way to Euston station where many activists had arrived after crossing the Channel by Eurostar.

Their train had passed through the Netherlands and Belgium before joining the Avanti West Coast train to Glasgow.

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

Lukas Kiefer, 25, a German student who helped organize the trip, said the train companies the activists worked with think very differently from the activists.

“But, at the same time, we all agree that rail mobility is the future of mobility for a large number of people, if it is cheap and feasible for everyone,” he said. he declares.

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

“For us, these subsidies must go to the railways so that people can travel inexpensively in high speed trains across Europe, as this is the only way to tackle the industry’s emissions. aviation. ”

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

In a speech on board, Joao Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the UK, said tackling climate change was common ground between Brussels and London.

“We have our problem and our differences, some of them are on my phone screen right now,” he said. “But the climate is an area where we can make a serious contribution to solving global problems. ”

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

Eurostar Chief Executive Officer Jacques Damas said: “The climate train is a symbol of partnership between rail operators and a proof of commitment to meet the growing expectations of customers for sustainable travel.

Avanti West Coast Managing Director Phil Whittingham said: “By uniting with operators across the continent, the climate train journey exemplifies the ease of traveling between countries, providing customers with a sustainable alternative.

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

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