For travel within urban and rural areas, there is a compelling case for policy makers to encourage a transition from using personal vehicles towards low emission rail. Although trains are often seen as a ‘green’ mode of transport, they represent ~ 9% of global passenger movement and only consume ~ 0.6% of global oil, therefore it remains important to consider methods for emission reduction. Without improvements to the current rolling stock, as well as the tracks and platforms, emissions could remain static at best. Electric trains (ETs) produce the lowest levels of emissions when compared to conventionally fuelled trains (CFTs) and hydrogen trains (HTs). However, emissions remain dependent on the electricity generation mix, and it is likely that in the future a combination of both HTs and ETs will be required to travel within urban and rural areas. For trains to be considered a real alternative to personal vehicles and support the broader objectives of integrated transport, early investment into new rolling stock will be required. This is particularly important as the average life of a train is ~ 20 years which means that early implementation will be necessary.