With the task of undercutting fares set by low-cost carriers on domestic air routes, First Group plc plans to launch train services under the brand Lumo between London and Edinburgh with fares starting as low as £14.90 one way…

A new, 100% electric rail service is to start running between London and Edinburgh from October with fares for as little as £14.90 in a bid to encourage greener and more affordable travel between the capitals.

With Lumo, FirstGroup plc. will provide low-carbon, affordable long-distance travel for over 1 million passengers per year. Over 74,500 passengers currently fly between Edinburgh and London each month, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, just a bit lower than the 82,000 travellers using rail between both destinations.

Lumo will be a convenient alternative to flying that is affordable for all. Some 60% of all single fares will be available at a cost of £30 or less. Services start on 25 October with two departures per day. Lumo will then possibly increase to a maximum of ten services per day by early next year.

Rail travel already generates six times fewer carbon emissions than travelling by plane. Lumo expects to be even more carbon efficient than the average rail service because its trains are 100% electric.

Helen Wylde, Managing Director for 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.

“We believe everyone has the right to travel in style. We are empowering people to make green travel choices that are genuinely affordable without compromising on comfort.”

Lumo trains will run on the East Coast Main Line and call at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage, helping to improve regional connectivity while offering alternatives to Newcastle and Luton airports.

As airports are seldom city centre destinations and frequently require onward travel arrangements, Lumo aims to encourage flyers to move to rail. Its trains are ergonomically designed for comfort and ease, helping passengers to work or play at their custom-designed seats, which all come with adjustable tray table, privacy wings and personal lighting.

Lumo aims to create over 13 million additional passenger journeys in the next decade as well as reducing carbon emissions by encouraging travellers to use greener, electric travel. It will contribute as much as £250m to the UK economy over ten years.
A rendering of a Lumo train (image by Lumo)

Lumo wants to make a difference in passenger service

Owned by FirstGroup, Lumo has invested £15m on digital and IT infrastructure and £100m on the manufacture and maintenance of five brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains.

Lumo offers passengers a blueprint for low-carbon, affordable long-distance travel in the UK with seats ergonomically designed and tested for longer journeys. With a new at-seat catering service from high street brands called LumoEats, simplified fares, free Wi-Fi, paperless ticketing, a new entertainment system and a single class of quality service for all passengers, Lumo wants also to reset standards for travel.

Lumo intends to publish its carbon emissions data on a regular basis to feed its carbon calculator, which allows passengers to calculate the carbon impact of their Lumo journey and compare it with other ways to travel.

In addition, over 50% of the on-board catering menu is plant-based; staff uniforms are responsibly sourced and can be entirely recycled; and paper waste has been dramatically reduced by being a digital-first business.

Helen Wylde commented: “Travelling by rail is already the greenest form of long-distance travel in the UK. Lumo will take this further, being the ‘greenest in class’ with state-of-the-art electric trains and a service to match.”

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