THEY rolled out the green carpet today at Newcastle Central Station to underline eco-friendly train travel.
Familiar concrete platforms were swapped for green pastures as a large area of the station was turfed in artificial grass to illustrate how rail travel is better for the environment than flying.
Commuters arrived to find a piece of countryside on the concourse. Susan Auld, 39, from Heaton, boarded a train for Durham with her two sons Louis, three, and Harry, one.
She said: “I was wondering what was going on. It gives the station a different, fresher sort of feel. It’s a good idea.
“I was thinking about bringing the car this morning but I thought I’d only have trouble parking.”
Patrick Frost, 51, a supermarket manager from Washington, said: “This is the most pleasant station I’ve ever walked into.
“They should do this all the time.”
Amanda Carver, 40, a travel agent, added: “It’s a bit of a shock so early in the morning.
“I walked in and thought it’s just like St James’ Park.”
The stunt was organised by rail operators GNER, who are trying to encourage flyers to switch to trains.
Figures show a flight between Newcastle and London spews over five times more carbon than the same journey by train.
A return rail journey between Newcastle and London generates 50kg of CO2 per passenger – compared with 280kg of CO2 for each air passenger.
GNER chief executive Jonathan Metcalfe said: “Environmental considerations are becoming a much more decisive factor in our choice of transport.
“In addition to a clean, comfortable and reliable journey, travellers increasingly want the reassurance that they are using a green form of transport.”