HomeOperationsEnvironmentIconic arrows get a dash of green ahead of environmental summit

Iconic arrows get a dash of green ahead of environmental summit


The famous National Rail double arrow has turned several shades of green ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit, which takes place in November.

The change in design was made to underline rail’s more environmentally friendly credentials and encourage people to switch from car to train when travelling – timed to also coincide with World Car Free Day on 22 September 2021.

As part of a report published earlier this month, the Rail Delivery Group said it believes a 20 per cent shift from rail to road would result in an extra one million tonnes of CO2 emissions and 300 million hours stuck in traffic jams per year.

The new-look logo is part of the ‘We Mean Green’ campaign, with messages that include how the rail industry believes a single train removes up to 500 cars from the roads, that every freight train takes 76 lorries from the highways, and a switch from car to rail cuts carbon emissions by two thirds.

Posters will be seen on stations, trains and across digital channels to reinforce the findings, with COP26 due to take place in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November.

While in Glasgow, visitors to the event will have the opportunity to take a trip on zero emissions hydrogen and battery trains which are being exhibited at COP26.

Prior to the climate summit, from 18-24 October, community groups will also be putting on a series of events across the country, organised by the Community Rail Network, that will encourage people to try the train as part of ‘green travel week’. 

Andy Bagnall, RDG.

Rail Delivery Group director general Andy Bagnall said: “Train travel is more than a journey. By choosing to travel or transport goods by rail, people and businesses are on track to cut their carbon footprint so that, together, we achieve the net zero target. While rail accounts for ten per cent of journeys, it is responsible for just one per cent of transport emissions.

“We want to work with government to reform the rail industry including making fares much simpler so that trains are the more attractive option to driving or flying.” 

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth.

Transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth, Jenny Bates, said: “Whether it’s personal travel or moving freight around, rail is preferable to flying or driving.

“Particularly with personal travel, taking the train needs to be cheaper, or as cheap, as domestic or short haul flights. This means carbon-guzzling air travel needs to be taxed properly – and the cost of travelling by rail versus the cost of motoring also needs to be redressed. This would go a long way to address the disincentives people currently face travelling by rail and other public transport.

“This is in the public interest because it benefits people as well as the environment through reduced climate emissions and air pollution.”

Rebecca Cole, Studio Blackburn.

Rebecca Cole, director at Studio Blackburn, the design studio behind the green logo, said: “The campaign line conveys the fact that rail travel is genuinely the greener way to travel. Instead of simply paying lip service to the green agenda – the rail industry can credibly claim ‘We Mean Green’. 

“The iconic double arrow logo, designed in 1965 by Gerry Barney, was at that time commissioned to breathe new life into railway industry. Its use today as the centrepiece of this campaign – depicted in a variety of green shades – signifies the importance of a modal shift to greener travel.”


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