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Last updated: 17:47

Our commitment to the environment 

We believe in green public transport – with rail travel being one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Even though rail travel accounts for 10% of passenger miles (2019), it is responsible for just 1% of all transport emissions. We want to help reduce climate impacts by encouraging people off the roads onto our services. Operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way is important to us.

Did you know a single train can remove up to 500 cars from our roads?

Calculate my carbon footprint

Enter your start and destination stations, and we'll show you the environmental impact of your journey for both train and car travel.

Your journey details

The calculations are based on:

  • Car = Average petrol car 0.23943 kg CO2e/passenger mile
  • Train = National Rail 0.07147 kg CO2e/passenger mile
*Conversion factors are taken from
Distance is calculated as the direct distance between the origin and destination stations.

Meeting your needs in an environmentally responsible way

Southeastern works together with industry partners, contractors, and suppliers to reduce our environmental impact and measure and report on our performance. We’re always looking for ways to improve how we work and go beyond what the law and regulation require of us – we know it’s what our passengers want and expect.

Some of our achievements to date;
  • We are proud to have achieved accreditation across the Southeastern business for ISO 14001 (Environment Management System) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management System).  
  • Our train fleets are electric with energy for our mainline and metro services purchased from nuclear generation, see further down the page for more info.
  • Three quarters of our trains feature special technology that generates electrical energy when the trains are braking to slow down – this is called regenerative braking. This energy is fed back into the system to power other trains. This results in 10% less electrical energy being needed to power our trains.
  • We are modifying our high-speed trains so that they also regenerate electricity between St Pancras and Ashford, we estimate that this will reduce their energy use by 16.5%. This change has required detailed technical work.  They can already do this regeneration on the remainder of our network.
  • We have installed almost 2,900 solar roof panels in our train servicing depots. In 2020/21 these solar panels produced enough electricity to power 166 households.
  • We continue to replace lighting in our stations and train servicing depots with energy efficient LED lights. LED lights aren’t just more efficient, they provide better lighting and need less maintenance.

Environmental Performance update April 2022

We have set targets for against 4 key aspects of our businesses’ environmental performance.

The targets help focus activities in areas associated with our use of electricity to operate our trains, gas and electricity to operate our stations, depots & offices, the carbon associated with our energy use, and how we manage our waste.

This table sets out our targets and our current performance against them. The targets are set to 31 March 2022.  

Description 2022/23 Target  Current performance*  On track  Data up to and including 
Traction (passenger train) energy consumption (vehicle miles per kWh)  




Combined non-traction (facilities) energy (GWh)**  
February '22
Combined non-traction and traction energy (kgCO2e per vehicle mile)




Waste diverted from landfill (% by weight)  

Additional improvements to close this small gap
*Normalised moving annual average
** combined site energy relates to energy we purchase directly from National Grid energy suppliers, that which we generate through our solar schemes and energy provided to us at Slade Green Depot by Network Rail.
*** carbon is associated with Scope 1&2 emissions (electricity and gas)

Did you know?

  • We use technology to generate energy when many of our trains brake and return it as electricity to the rail system
  • We have upgraded our lighting at a number of stations and depots to a new energy efficient LED system, reducing energy use
  • We monitor our water consumption with meters and work to fix leaks

The future

We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and to a net zero carbon impact. Under our new owners we are working on our plan for our journey to net zero and will share this plan during 2022. In the meantime, we continue to manage our environmental impacts by;

  • Investing in energy improvements
  • Diverting a high level of waste from landfill
  • Encouraging our colleagues to look at new ways that we can reduce the environmental impact of our activities

Our use of electricity generated from nuclear sources

Nuclear generated electricity, provided through the national grid, is sourced to power our metro and mainline services and one train servicing depot. This energy is provided to us by Network Rail who maintain the metro and mainline rail network.

Our environmental and energy policy

Through innovation, we will drive continual environmental and energy improvements.

Curious to learn more? 

Download our Statement of Environmental and Energy Policy

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