Plane versus train and ferry for London to Belfast

 Last weekend my wife and I went to Belfast for one of our best friend's 30th birthday parties.  We travelled from London to Belfast by EasyJet and from Belfast to London by train and ferry.  We did look into getting the train & ferry for the outbound journey but unfortunately it takes too long: the journey takes about 13 hours door to door.  But we finished work at 11pm on the Friday and we had to be in Belfast for 2pm on Saturday.  Flying was the only way to get to Belfast in time.  To be honest, we had planned to return by plane too but the ash cloud looked set to disrupt our flight so we got a refund and booked a train and ferry home!

Our return journey

Took train to Whitstable

 We took the train to Whitstable for a gorgeous day away from work.

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If we'd have driven in our Ford Focus 1.8 (which really isn't very efficient... not my choice of car) then we would have emitted 36kg CO

The stats:

  • Car:
    • 60 miles each way; 120 miles total
    • The car averages about 35mpg (measured; total occupancy = 2 humans, 1 dog)
    • Total fuel consumed = 3.4 gallons = 15.5 litres
    • Cost of fuel (at £1.20 per litre) = £18.60
    • Total CO2 emissions from vehicle exhaust = 36kg (ref)
    • Journey time per direction = about 1hr 10mins
    • Pros:
      • Convenient (especially when taking any luggage like dog food, towels etc)
      • Faster than train
      • Cheaper (if you only consider fuel cost and ignore cost of vehicle, tax, repairs, insurance)
    • Cons:
      • Higher CO2 emissions
      • Driver can't read / look out the window
      • Driving can't be described as relaxing
      • Dog gets car sick!
  • Train:
    • Cost of 2 return tickets from Peckham to Whitstable (bought on the day) = £42
    • Total emissions = 5-22kg CO2 (ref 1, ref 2) (depends on loads of variables including train occupancy, energy source, speed of train etc).
    • Travel time (per direction) = about 2 hours
    • Pros:
      • about a third of the CO2 emissions
      • relaxing (as long as you travel off peak) - you can read / chat / eat / look out the window
      • our dog likes trains ;)
    • Cons:
      • More expensive (if you book on the day)
      • Takes slightly longer
      • Can't take much luggage
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