There’s a reason why so many prefer planes to trains when travelling between London and Edinburgh. Even if you book well in advance, tickets on the King’s Cross to Waverley line start at £50. Book too late, and they can set you back well over £100. With easyJet’s cheapest flights coming in at £27, there’s no competition – on price at least.
But that will all change very, very soon. From Monday (October 25), a new service from Lumo looks set to transform the train route between the two capitals. With one-way fares starting from just £14.90, it will provide serious competition for both the current LNER train service and budget flight routes. The inaugural service ran this morning, before next week’s passenger launch.
On top of that increased affordability, the services will be more sustainable too. Not only are trains generally far better for the planet than planes, but Lumo’s brand-new, 100 percent electric-powered fleet is more carbon-efficient than most.
The new line will stop at Newcastle and Morpeth, with some services also stopping at Stevenage (which is handily linked to Luton Airport). To start with, there will be two services running daily each way, and that will eventually increase to five. State-owned LNER will still take up the majority of the trains on the route, with two services every hour.
For the first five weeks, every Lumo journey will cost between £15 and £20. Railcards won’t initially be valid on the service, though after the first month, the operator (the Aberdeen-based First Group) expects 60 percent of all single fares to be priced at £30 or less. The most expensive ticket is likely to cost £69.
Lumo trains will also feature a catering service called LumoEats, free Wi-Fi, paperless ticketing and ‘entertainment systems’ – all within a single class of service. Needless to say, if they can pull it off, it’s all very exciting. It promises not just a great alternative for London-Edinburgh travel, but an exciting blueprint for low-carbon, affordable domestic train routes too.