Bailey is passionate about conservation and environmental issues and travelled to Scotland during COP26 on an LNER Azuma service. Rail travel is his preferred way to travel domestically and in Europe.
The Azuma Living Wall is an Azuma-shaped wall of plants that aims to promote rail as the most sustainable mode of motorised transport.
The wall is fast becoming a growing attraction at Edinburgh Waverley and will be on display throughout COP26.
It was hand planted in Scotland and represents LNER’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, ranging from the new Azuma fleet of trains to how the company processes its waste and reduces water usage. It is hoped that the wall will encourage more people to consider travelling by rail.
Switching just half of domestic leisure journeys to rail per year would save around 331kg of carbon emissions per person. Rail travel is the most eco-friendly mode of motorised transport, particularly LNER’s world-class Azuma fleet which runs on electricity on many routes, including between Edinburgh and London. LNER is encouraging customers to reduce their carbon emissions by pledging to take more journeys by rail.
The Azuma Living Wall was developed in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which has a mission to promote biodiversity and green tourism in the city of Edinburgh. To build the wall a number of plant box units were developed by Biotecture, a leader in sustainable living wall systems,. They are made of recycled materials and are fully recyclable. The installation measures 6m wide by 2.5m tall and weighs 1000kg, and built by GP Plantscape, a local supplier from Lanarkshire that specialises in cultivating and building plant displays.
To create the wall, over 600 individual plants from six species were planted to create a display that looks like an LNER Azuma train. The wall will be on display at Waverley until 12 November, and visitors to the installation will be able to take home a limited number of Scottish wildflower seeds from Arbroath to grow in their own gardens at home.
LNER’s Azuma fleet was introduced in 2019, and runs on electricity between London and Edinburgh along the East Coast main line. Azuma trains also serve other LNER destinations in Scotland, including Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.
Azuma trains are bi-mode, which allows them to switch between electric power and diesel mode where needed. In the first two years of the fleet’s introduction, it is estimated that over 26.5 million litres of fuel were saved as a result of their bi-mode capabilities.
Bill Bailey, comedian and actor, said: “I’m passionate about our planet and always eager to make small changes to help do my part to protect it. I am visiting Scotland for the second week of COP26 and I travelled here with London North Eastern Railway. Train travel is one of the most sustainable ways to travel in the UK. Just switching half of your domestic journeys each year from car or plane to the train would save 331kg of carbon per person – that’s the weight of two adult lions!”.
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “Adopting greener travel habits is something all of us can strive towards, and the Azuma Living Wall is an eye-catching visual representation of how the train is one of the most sustainable ways to travel, especially compared to cars and planes.
“As normality resumes, travel increases and carbon emissions inevitably rise, so we hope to inspire people across the nation to consider taking the train to reduce their carbon footprint, and collectively make a real difference.”
After 12 November the Azuma Living Wall will be dismantled into sections, whilst the plants will be donated to local schools in the area to help inspire the next generation into supporting the environment.