What to know about the all-electric Lumo train
Edinburgh is connected to London with an electric train service.
The service, on which ticket prices start from less than £15, is making waves as a far more affordable and environmentally way to travel between London and Edinburgh. The train is an electric and low carbon and also makes stops in Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage on its journey. The cheapest tickets on the service, launched in October 2021, cost just £14.90, and the journey time is four and a half hours. Although this is longer than flying, factoring in the airport waiting times and the heavy carbon emissions caused by plane travel, the train is proving popular with those keen on being more environmentally friendly. In addition to being electric, more than half of the onboard food menu is plant-based, and passengers can also calculate their carbon footprint.
The trains, which run approximately five services each way per day, feature onboard WiFI and entertainment and their own privacy wings. There is only one class, rather than the usual standard and first classes, but passengers are promised the same service and amenities throughout, regardless of their ticket. Lumo has said that all of its seats are ergonomically designed for support and come with extra legroom and tables. Tickets over the Christmas period are expected to be slightly higher in price, with tickets from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh costing around £31.
Choosing rail rather than air
Lumo is owned by FirstGroup, who have stated they will continue to publish their carbon emissions data on a regular basis. The latest report, released on November 11, showed that travelling on Lumo between London and Edinburgh was more than 40 times better for the environment than flying the same route. This data is based on the Lumo trains releasing just 0.006kg CO2 emissions per passenger per kilometre.
The train is proving extremely popular with travellers who previously sought a more affordable option to travel between the two cities. The non-electric train journey between London to Edinburgh is generally much more expensive, and the alternative option is the Caledonian overnight sleeper train which is not always convenient for passengers, meaning many were opting for air travel. However, rail travel is quickly gaining traction both domestically and internationally. Since the launch of Lumo, more than one million people have used the service, and statistics show that for the first time, more passengers are choosing to make this journey by rail rather than air. The train has been a strong factor in Scotland, which was named one of the top tourist destinations in 2023.
Outside of the UK, European countries have focused their environmental efforts on train travel this year by introducing several affordable train travel schemes. Spain introduced a free train travel scheme earlier this year, which the government recently announced will extend into 2023. Similarly, Germany offered both citizens and tourists €9 train tickets across the country this summer, and next year will be rolling out monthly public transport subscriptions for just €49.
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