London to Edinburgh cheaper by rail than air?

Taking the train service from London to Edinburgh may be more cost effective than taking a flight, according to a recent report submitted by sustainable transport group, Transform Scotland.

The report, named ‘On track for business: Why Scottish businesses should try the train’, states that train tickets between Edinburgh and London are around 81 percent cheaper than flights, and hence provide a very cost-effective travel option for commuters.

Transform Scotland has also reported that travelling by rail between the two cities is a better option for business travellers, as it provides a better working environment and is better for the environment.

At present, rail only has a 12 percent share of the business travel market between London and Edinburgh.

Colin Howden, the director of Transform Scotland, said, ‘The financial benefit of making an Edinburgh-London return journey amounts to £217, including the value of productive working time and other benefits.

Given that the price of a ‘Scottish Executive’ ticket, which gives first class return travel from Edinburgh and London, is only £229, it’s clear that greater account needs to be taken of the financial benefits of rail travel and not just the ticket price.

Our report makes a compelling case to Scottish business of the financial and productivity benefits of using the train for business travel to and from London.

Our challenge to Scottish business is to try the train. Given that it’s generally cheaper and provides a productive working environment, Scottish businesses can gain financially by switching many more of their employees’ trips on to rail for Edinburgh to London journeys.’

The report says that some Scotland based corporate companies, such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish and Southern Energy, are now encouraging their employees to use trains when travelling between the two cities.

The author of the report, David Spaven, said, ‘The train beats flying for business travel to London. It offers a high-quality working environment, superior environmental performance and, crucially, better value for money. Unless a company’s sole criterion for choice of transport is journey time, air shouldn’t be treated as an automatic preference over rail.

East Coast has introduced a wide range of major service improvements in the last few years, yet rail is carrying only 12 per cent of Edinburgh-London business travel. The time is clearly right for many more businesses to ‘try the train’ and experience directly the benefits which rail can deliver.’