Rail News

DATE

September 30 , 2021


FirstGroup to launch budget London to Edinburgh rail service next month

The Guardian 
7 September 2021 (UK)

The service, branded Lumo, says 60% of seats will cost £30 or less with a max fare of £69 one-way

FirstGroup is to launch a budget direct London-Edinburgh rail service next month, which it hopes will lure air passengers to the train as a cheaper and greener alternative.

The new service, branded Lumo, will have just one single class of travel and the company hopes it will carry more than 1 million passengers a year on the East Coast line – slightly more than currently fly between the English and Scottish capitals.

First has pledged that fares will be substantially cheaper than the level of LNER, which operates most trains on the route, with singles starting at £14.90, roughly half the best lead-in rail fare currently available. It said 60% of seats on Lumo will cost £30 or less, with a maximum fare of £69 one way.

Lumo will be run as an “open access” service on the route, in a similar arrangement to that of Grand Central and Hull Trains, limiting it to 10 trains a day. The few open access operators in the UK do not have the contractual obligations of LNER or other former rail franchises to run a full timetable, nor to charge fares as dictated by the government.

The services will also call at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage, giving potential alternatives to air passengers using Newcastle or Luton airports.

Lumo will stress its green credentials, especially compared to flying, with carbon calculations published for passengers, and a more plant-based catering menu. Although the line from London to Edinburgh is fully electrified, Lumo argues its trains may be fractionally more carbon efficient per seat than rival operators’ – partly because LNER operates bi-mode electro-diesel trains to allow direct services on unelectrified railways in Scotland.

Helen Wylde, the managing director of Lumo, said: “Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet.

Source
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/07/firstgroup-to-launch-budget-london-to-edinburgh-rail-service-next-month

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