Sustainable Travel Feature: Prince Charles Aboard The Royal Train

To promote sustainable travel, Prince Charles boarded the Royal Train last weekend, to carry his eco-friendly message from Glasglow to London. The Royal Train, which is powered by bio-fuel, completed its first journey in September 2007, with the Prince of Wales and the Green Fuels Ltd. managing director, James Hygate, as passengers.

The Prince's eco-tour on The Royal Train began on Tuesday, in Glasglow's Central Station, where Prince Charles met START representatives. START was launched earlier this year by The Prince's Charities Foundation to support sustainable practices. The Start campaign aims to share the benefits of going green, without being preachy.  Start is backed by large companies, including Marks & Spencer, Virgin Money and B & G.

Not everyone is happy about the Prince's so-called sustainable travel. The Guardian points out that the train itself is rather luxurious, and his journey will cost the taxpayer a pretty penny (at least £50,000).  Prince Charles is traveling with 14 persons, and occupying a total of 8 carriages. His carriage includes a bedroom suite with his and hers beds, a grand dining room, and a study.

Prince Charles is touring through Edinburgh, Carmarthen, Bristol, Todmorden, Nottingham, Manchester and Birmingham to encourage sustainable travel, but he's approached the tour in a rather round about way. He has zigzagged from Edinburgh to West Wales and back up to Newcastle. Some claim he's just enjoying a political roadshow: the environment is, after all, a political issue.

On the other hand, Prince Charles is chugging along with a good cause in mind, and he's making some positive stops on his sustainable travel itinerary. In Newcastle, he stopped at Ouseburn Farm, where a new beehive was opened to help increase the number of bees in the city. Ian Wallace, a beekeeper, explained that the bees are necessary to pollinate and plant seeds in the city. More bees means more plants.

Today, his Royal Highness visited Tordmorden, and took a look at the Incredible Edible project. The Incredible Edible scheme was set up 2 years ago to increase the amount of local food available in the area. It now includes many flower and vegetable patches, as well as herb gardens, which the townspeople grow and enjoy. Prince Charles also checked out the Cooking Bus, which aims to help children learn to cook, and the Eco Kids project which aspires to raise environmental awareness in young persons.

In Edinburgh, Prince Charles examined biodegradable coffins made of recycled cardboard and thick felt. Prince Charles suggested that the coffins could be used to bury the Queen's corgis and he even asked for one to be put on display in his London home, Clarence House. Prince Charles also plans to install 32 solar panels on the roof of Clarence House. He spends a faire amount of time in his garden in London, practicing what he preaches. Prince Charles has always been ahead of the curve on environmental issues, and even if his sustainable travel plans are not perfectly sustainable, it's still pretty grand.

Photo credit: Flickr