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New rail company promises greener, cheaper travel

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A new, 100% electric rail service with low fares is to start running between London and Edinburgh in a bid to encourage greener and more affordable travel, and reduce the number of passengers flying between the capitals. 

Called Lumo, it will provide low-carbon, affordable long-distance travel for over one million passengers per year. Over 74,500 passengers currently fly between Edinburgh and London each month. 

With single tickets between the capitals starting from just £14.90, the company promises a comfortable, 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.

Rail travel already generates six times fewer carbon emissions than travelling by plane and 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.”

The services 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.

Owned by FirstGroup, Lumo has invested £15 million on digital and IT infrastructure and £100 million on the manufacture and maintenance of five brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains. The trains offer seats which are ergonomically designed and tested for longer journeys, as well as free Wi-Fi, a new entertainment system and a single class of quality service for all passengers.

“The reasons people choose different modes of travel are changing,” said Helen. “People are now considering their impact on the environment very carefully. They also expect better service and catering. We offer a new rail travel experience that is kinder to the planet and better value for passengers, while never compromising on service.”

The company 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 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.

Services start on 25 October, with their frequency increasing over time to a maximum of 10 services per day by early 2022.