Some 220 passengers boarded the Climate Train in Brussels on Saturday, heading for the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.
The train left Amsterdam just before 9:00 AM, made a first stop in Rotterdam, spent about an hour in Brussels – its only stop in Belgium – then left at 11.04 with Climate Minister Zakia Khattabi (Ecolo) and other Belgian participants on board Belga News Agency reports.
Its next stop was London, where passengers were scheduled to transfer from St. Pancras Station to Euston Station via the Wellbeing Walk walking route. Arrival time in Glasgow was scheduled for 6:00 PM on Saturday.
The train should transport a total of about 500 persons to COP26, to be held from 31 October to 12 November. The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate, which include limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
The delegations and young activists were welcomed at the Brussels-Midi station by an orchestra installed on the platform as well as representatives of various political parties.
“Taking the train to go to the Climate Summit in Glasgow is without a doubt the means of transport which, for the delegations, is most respectful of the environment,” the Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said on Saturday at the Brussels-Midi station. “The train is not only sustainable; it also provides great comfort, whether you are travelling for work or pleasure.”
Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) and Climate Minister Khattabi were also present at the station.
“I’m going to the COP with the names and faces of those who lost loved ones after the floods in Wallonia,” Minister Khattabi said. Despite the absence of an agreement on the sharing of the effort between the various Belgian entities ahead of the opening of the COP, she was still optimistic. “While it’s important for Belgium to come with a national agreement, I prefer an ambitious accord after the COP rather than a scaled-down agreement for the COP,” she argued.
The Avanti West Coast, Eurostar, NS and ProRail railway companies teamed up with Youth for Sustainable Travel, a European organisation that promotes sustainable travel, to organise a special train to the COP26. The trip is supported by all infrastructure managers along its route.