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Eight reasons to follow in Greta Thunberg's tracks and travel through Europe by train this summer

The Matterhorn seen by train in Switzerland. PA Photo/iStock.

By Sarah Marshall

The Greta Thunberg-effect has had a huge impact on travellers, who are jumping on board the train wagon instead of planes this summer. Practising what she preaches, the 16-year-old school striker always opts to go overland when she speaks to foreign MPs, UN delegates and fellow teen environmentalists.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg. PA Photo/Victoria Jones.

The #flugsham or #nofly movement is growing all the time, with more people choosing train journeys over cheap flights. Along with reducing your carbon footprint, train travel can also save you money and it's often a lot more fun.

Catherine Mack, a travel expert from train booking platform Loco2, who offer multiple journey connections across Europe, explains why it's better to stick to rail this summer.

1. You can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%.
Compare the CO2 emissions of a flight with a train journey and you'll be amazed at the difference. We make this easy by showing a carbon calculator on every journey search. For example, taking the train to Edinburgh is five times less pollutive than flying. If you fly between London and Barcelona you emit 107.78kg, versus 17.91kg of CO2 on the train. Greta's got the maths on this one.

2. The booking process is a breeze
Booking your holiday travel can often be a lot easier by train than by air. We allow people to book a journey between capital cities or from tiny villages in the UK to similar ones in Switzerland, Italy, France and many more. In one single transaction you can book from Penzance to Perugia, Abergavenny to the Alps, Stirling to Sicily.

3. Be an early bird and you'll save stacks of cash
Always book trains in advance. Rail companies release tickets in blocks, and the cheap seats go first. On our website, you can set a booking alert so that when tickets on a chosen route are released, we let you know. For example, our customers are always keen to know about the seasonal releases of French national train operator SNCF, when they can grab great value tickets for a weekend in Marseille or Montpellier, Bordeaux or Brittany.

4. Going the distance brings better value
What many people don't realise, is that mainland Europe train travel can be extremely good value. You can often travel across several countries for less than a budget flight.

5. Not all domestic fares are extortionate

British train travellers pay some of the highest rail fares in Europe, but there are ways to reduce costs. Always get a discount railcard if you can. From Family and Friends to Two Together railcards, they can reduce the cost of most journeys by a third.

Train travel through the Italian countryside PA Photo/iStock.

6. Make the most of promotions and you'll be flying without wings
International train operators compete for business in a big way. They have promotions going on all the time and, as a portal for all of them, we let our customers know by email and on social media.

7. Journeys are more than just moving from A to B

Most cross-border train journeys taken in continental Europe can be completed within four days, meaning you can hop off along the way. For example, travelling between Paris and Puglia by train, you can stop at Zurich, Milan, Bari and finally Lecce en route, transforming a journey into a multi-centre holiday.

8. If you really need to, it's possible to split the journey

We know that sometimes people have to fly, but that they want to travel by train when they get there. Some of the best options for going from runway to rail are Amsterdam, Rome-Fiumicino, Lyon-Saint Exupery and Zurich.
(PA)