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Climate-friendly travel

The Future of Travel

A one-way flight between Stockholm and Gothenburg leaves a carbon footprint equivalent of 40 000 train journeys along the same route.

See how we have calculated

While many struggle to make transportation sustainable we’re already there.

That is because we are far more climate-friendly than any other option. A one-way flight from Stockholm to Gothenburg leaves a carbon footprint equivalent of 40 000 train journeys along the same route.

We are the future of travel because we run on electricity (from wind and water). What the car industry is trying hard to achieve, we accomplished decades ago.

We are the future of travel because we travel together. No one can make true impact on their own but together we can.

So do not stop travelling!

If you believe we create a better society the more people and places we meet – you can still do that without putting future generations at risk.

Because the train is the best way to travel into the future without harming it.

How climate-friendly is the train?

You can walk, cycle or sail, but if you want to get where you are going quicker and still be climate-friendly, then the train is your best option. You would have to travel 40 000 times between Stockholm and Gothenburg by train to produce the same carbon dioxide emissions as just one flight. That makes a train passenger on this route 40 000 times more climate-friendly than an airline passenger. The same train journey is also around 20 000 times more climate-friendly than an average car journey with two people in the car.

How much carbon dioxide does a train journey produce?

SJ only purchases electricity from renewable sources. As we run on electricity, the journey itself does not cause any emissions, but carbon dioxide is produced when the electricity we use is generated. The carbon footprint for SJ’s trains is therefore 0.0033 grams per passenger-kilometre on an X 2000 train at average occupancy.

What emissions do others produce?

Let us compare the Stockholm to Gothenburg route. A train journey by X 2000 with average occupancy causes 1.5 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per person. Two of you travelling in an average new car will have caused carbon dioxide emissions of 29 kg per person by the time you arrive. A flight on the same route causes carbon dioxide emissions of 59 kg per passenger.

100 % renewable energy makes SJ's trains climate-friendly

SJ only purchases electricity from renewable sources, which is just one of the reasons why travelling with us is climate-smart. All our electricity comes from wind and hydropower. 50 % of the electricity is also Good Environmental Choice labelled ("Bra Miljöval"), which places further requirements on the generation of electricity, such as not drying out riverbeds and building fish passages for fish and waterborne species.

How long can a train freewheel for?

There are lots of routes in our oblong country where SJ’s train drivers let their trains freewheel; in other words the driver does not use the engines to drive the train forward. Freewheeling a train for 60 km is a piece of cake, according to many of our drivers! If the departure station is at a higher altitude than the arrival station, you can even freewheel for more than 100 km. Here are some of the routes where SJ’s train drivers let their trains run entirely under their own power, where circumstances allow:

  • Nässjö–Mjölby, 85 km
  • Malmsjön-Stockholm, 50 km
  • Falköping–Gothenburg, 180 km
  • Södertälje–Stockholm, 40 km
  • Vårgårda–Gothenburg, 70 km
  • Floby–Gothenburg, 100 km
  • Sösdala–Lund, 50 km
  • Nässjö–Alvesta, 80 km
Two passengers on board the high-speed trains

See how climate-friendly your journeys are

As an SJ Prio member, you receive a regular report (in Swedish only) on how climate-friendly your travel has been and how much carbon dioxide you have saved compared with if you had travelled by car or aeroplane. If you have SJ’s mobile app, you can also see in the travel view after every journey how much carbon dioxide you have saved.

Travelling by train is energy-effecient

On a train, there are many of us travelling together. This makes the energy-efficiency per person of a train journey extremely high. The train is also powered by electric motors, which are highly efficient compared with petrol and diesel engines. The electric motor uses more of the energy with less of it going to waste, in the form of heat for example, compared with petrol and diesel engines.

The long, narrow design of trains also means that there is less air resistance compared with a vehicle that is wider and shorter.

300 km on 1 gram of carbon dioxide

A train passenger travels 300 km on just 1 g of carbon dioxide emissions. If you take the car, you will not get much further than the end of your drive. The car would stop after 16 metres and an aeroplane would only just be able to start its engines.

KRAV-certified bistro on SJ's trains

The bistro on-board SJ’s high-speed trains is KRAV-certified at level 1 (out of 3). The range available has organic options, including from the Kalf & Hansen restaurant. In 2018, the partnership between SJ and Kalf & Hansen was named “Brilliant Idea of the Year” by the Fast Food Awards.

How we did our calculations:

SJ purchases 100 % renewable electricity from hydropower, of which 50 % also carries the Good Environmental Choice label, which places more stringent environmental requirements on the generation of electricity. Our journeys have carried the Good Environmental Choice label for over 20 years.

Our calculations are based on the electricity we purchase, in other words electricity from a renewable source (hydropower). This is in line with the international standards on calculating transport emissions, such as EN 16258 or the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Enery consumption, train:

0.055 kWh/passenger-kilometre. This figure is for an X 2000 train at average occupancy.
Source: SJ (measurements taken during live operation).

Carbon dioxide emissions from the generation of hydropower electricity:

0.059 grams of CO2/kWh. This figure includes losses in the public grid and in the rail network.
Source: Vattenfall EPD 2018 (Environmental Product Declaration) for the generation of hydropower electricity.

0.055*0.059 = 0.0033 grams of CO2/passenger-kilometre. The Stockholm–Gothenburg rail route is 455 km long.
0.0033 grams of CO2/passenger-kilometre = 1.5 grams of CO2 for a train journey from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

Carbon dioxide emissons, flight:

59 kg CO2 for a flight from Stockholm Arlanda to Gothenburg Landvetter.
Source: SAS Emission Calculator.

Carbon dioxide emissions, car:

1 person in the car: 122 grams of CO2/km
2 people in the car: 61 grams of CO2/km
Source: Swedish Transport Agency; CO2 emissions, average new car 2018.

Do you want to know more?

Send an e-mail to miljo@sj.se