Grass-Covered Train Station
Here in Amsterdam, most train stations are full of grass, but this is different. This is Newcastle Central Station, where a PR stunt by train operator GNER saw a platform covered in artificial grass. It was conceived to encourage people to take the train rather than the plane, because of the smaller carbon footprint of train travel. According to GNER, a flight from Newcastle to London creates five times as much carbon emissions as a similar train journey.GNER chief executive Jonathan Metcalfe said, "Environmental considerations are becoming a much more decisive factor in our choice of transport." The stunt was taken in good humour by most people, like passenger Amanda Carver, 40, who said, "It's a bit of a shock so early in the morning. I walked in and thought it's just like St James' Park."
While the facts are sound, and the intentions honourable - despite the obvious vested interest for GNER in increased train travel, the message seems rather confused. I'm not sure exactly what they were trying to say with the grass. I get the association with 'green', that all-encompassing word that describes anything not harmful to the environment, but it was artificial grass, made from oil. Even if it had been real grass, I'm not sure what point they were trying to make with that. Despite this, it's great to see some campaigning for train travel. It's more environmentally friendly, faster over short distances (such as Newcastle to London) and far more enjoyable. ::Chronicle Live