Climate: Interview with Lars Karlsson, Head of Claims Centre

People would see the advantages if they travelled by train

For Lars Karlsson, the choice between going by train or plane is a given. For him it is not solely about the train being more environmentally friendly – but about the practical advantages. 

‘Taking the train compared to flying makes perfect sense. On the three hour train ride to Gothenburg I get a good amount of time that I can use to do work or other things, without the trip being broken up. When you travel as much as I do, it’s important to get things done while on the go,’ says Lars Karlsson. 

He manages If’s claims centres in Sweden. He lives and works in Stockholm, but his employees are scattered around the country with offices in Gothenburg, Sundsvall and Nyköping, which means a lot of travelling. Lars’ passionate engagement for train travel has nowadays given him the unofficial title ‘If’s train ambassador’. 

‘I get very good feedback from colleagues for choosing the train and showing that there is an environmental reasoning behind it. Overall, we notice that there is more engagement in young people with these issues than for older people. It’s not as common to travel by train among the older generations, neither for work nor private use,’ says Lars Karlsson. 

Even though the environment is a key driver, Lars believes that the best way to get more people to go by train is to highlight what you gain personally. He emphasises that there is a risk of backlash when behavioural changes are forced top-down. 

‘People would see the advantages if they travelled by train. I think it’s better to talk about the practical advantages of going by train, rather than the environmental aspects. See the advantages and start there. Then you get a positive spin,’ says Lars Karlsson. 

Five tips for a more pleasant train journey: 

  • Always plan for a 30–45 minutes time buffer. In case of delay, you will decrease the risk of disrupting your plans.
  • Bring food and coffee. At larger train stations there is usually a good selection of food and drinks.
  • Get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones so you can work uninterrupted.
  • Plan to work without internet access. That way it doesn’t matter if the internet signal is unstable.
Taking the train compared to flying makes perfect sense, says Lars.