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Azuma LNER trains at King's Cross station
Photograph: Markus Mainka /

London-Edinburgh train services are about to get much faster

LNER is hoping to shave half an hour off the average journey time

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

Getting from south England to Scotland is a bit of a slog, whether you opt for the eight-hour road trip, over four hours on the train or hours in the airport just for an hour-long domestic flight. So, every little cut to the journey time helps. 

Now, LNER has said that from December 2024, rail journeys between Edinburgh and London will be cut to around four hours. 

The current average time to get from one end of the 400-mile route to the other is four-and-a-half hours. Faster LNER Azuma trains were scheduled to start in 2019 but they were delayed thanks to work on the line and the Covid pandemic. You can get from one city to the other in four hours at the moment, but you’d have to leave the Scottish capital at 5:40am on LNER’s Flying Scotsman, which only stops at Newcastle.

The speedier journey is being made possible by the introduction of an hourly service between London and Newcastle, which will open up more seating on the Edinburgh to London trip. The fastest locomotive will take four hours, five minutes northbound and four hours, eight minutes southbound. 

We’re still waiting on a final decision from the Department for Transport before the quicker route is confirmed. The brand claimed that if they go ahead, it could help trains take 60 percent of travellers journeying between the cities by rail or air. It will only stop at Newcastle and York

David Horne, LNER’s managing director, said: ‘If you’re in Edinburgh, you’re now going to have an hourly fast service which will be quicker, or at least as quick, door-to-door, as if you had been travelling by air.’

The trip from London to Edinburgh isn’t the only one set to be sped up. A brand new, faster service from the Big Smoke to Sheffield is also currently in the works. 

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