EUROPE'S first biodiesel train will operate in Dorset as part of a trial to make rail travel more environmentally friendly.

The Virgin Voyager will be used on the Weymouth to Waterloo line during the six-month trial but passengers will not be aware they are on a train any different to usual.

Virgin will run just one train on a blended fuel which is 20 per cent biodiesel in the trial, run in conjunction with the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

If successful, the company hopes to run its entire Voyager fleet on the fuel, which could cut CO2 emissions by 14 per cent.

The train started its service yesterday on the Euston to Llandudno line.

It will be used on many routes over the coming months including Weymouth to Waterloo, Birmingham to Scotland and in north east England.

A spokesman for Virgin said the train will look and feel the same as the rest of the fleet and passengers will be unaware they are using it.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said that conversion of the Voyager fleet, if the trial is successful, will be equivalent to taking 23,000 cars off the road in a year.

Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown was at the launch of the train and said he wishes Virgin every success with the initiative.

"I want Britain to be a world leader in the development and use of environmentally-friendly fuels and I believe they will play a fundamental part in our efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change," he added.