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Methodology: LIPASTO unit emissions database

The following links help navigate the LIPASTO unit emission general description and mode-specific methodology descriptions.

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Rail transport


In this section we present methodological background for passenger and freight trains.

In rail transport, just like in any other mode, emissions are produced during operation only by combustion engine locomotives, i.e. diesel trains. Electric trains on the other hand operate emission free, and only energy consumption figures are provided in the LIPASTO unit emission factors. Using energy consumption information, it is possible to calculate life cycle emissions from electricity production. For more information see Guidance for emission calculations using standard EN 16258. LIPASTO emission factors for rail transport rely on information from trains of the biggest railroad operator VR Group. Later on, when transport volumes of other operators grow, information on their trains can be included. In order to compute unit emission factors for various trains, VTT has developed a simple calculation model that allows trains of different size and type be modelled with different loads.

The principle of the LIPASTO unit emission pages is to present emissions and energy consumption per passenger or net tonne of freight transported over one kilometre. Other units such as per container are additionally provided when relevant. For trains, emissions are shown per passenger kilometre, per train kilometre, per container kilometre and per net tonne kilometre.


  • Train weight means total weight of rail cars [t] without the weight of the locomotive.
  • Net load (net tonnes) means effective weight of the load inside a container. Possible packaging inside the container is included in net weight but not the weight of the container itself. The weight of the container, which contributes to amount of energy consumed, has been acknowledged in the weight of the train when computing unit emissions.
  • Return load (on return trip) means cargo transported on the return trip. For some cases return trips are always empty, e.g. ore trains. For general cargo trains there is typically little or no difference between directions, and some empty rail cars can be transported in either way.
  • Number of seats means total passenger capacity of a train.
  • Loading factor means average number of passengers divided number of seats available [%].
  • Passenger kilometre is the transport of one passenger over one kilometre.
  • Emissions per passenger kilometre [g/pkm] means average emissions caused by one passenger over one kilometre.
  • Emissions per tonne kilometre [g/tkm] mean average emissions caused by one net tonne of freight over one kilometre.
  • Motorised diesel railcar means, for passenger trains, independent motor-equipped entities that can be attached together.

For diesel trains, unit emission factors are based on measurements commissioned by VR Group (by e.g. Xamk) and information from locomotive producers. Consumption of electric trains is based on measurements by VR Group.

Information for trams and metro is based on energy consumption and loading factors provided by Helsinki Region Transport (HSL).

Background data

Values used for computing unit emission factors are available in the background data table.