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Back on board: Nationalised rail operator slashes fares to win back passengers

London to Edinburgh is £20 in standard class, £40 in first, with bargains also available to and from Leeds, York and Newcastle

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 10 August 2020 15:18 BST
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Bargain hunter: LNER is offering rail travel for under 5p per mile until 3 September. Terms and conditions apply.
Bargain hunter: LNER is offering rail travel for under 5p per mile until 3 September. Terms and conditions apply. (LNER)

The nationalised train operator on the East Coast main line has cut fares to 20th-century levels in a bid to win back passengers.

LNER, which runs from London King’s Cross to Yorkshire, northeast England and Scotland, has today launched a short-term promotion that undercuts most normal Advance fares.

Flat fares start at £5 one-way from London to Grantham in standard class. The journey to Leeds is £10, to Newcastle £15 and to Edinburgh £20.

Intermediate tickets are also available. The £10 fare from the Scottish capital to York covers 205 miles of travel, working out at under 5p per mile.

The normal “Anytime” fare is almost 10 times as much, at £99.30.

First class is also available with the promotion, with the top price of £40 applying to first-class single between the English and Scottish capitals.

Railcard discounts do not apply.

The deals are available from Monday to Thursday until 3 September 2020, though not on the August bank holiday Monday.

There is no need to book in advance for the first 10 days, but sales will close at midnight on 19 August.

Until then, these fares available on the day, subject to availability.

At least 40,000 standard and 10,000 first-class tickets will be made available on trains expected to be less busy – and are not valid on the fastest trains between the English and Scottish capitals.

It is the first significant, large-scale promotion from a major train operator since the coronavirus pandemic began.

For several months, passengers were warned against all but essential travel.

Some operators, notably Transport for Wales, continue to warn against using trains.

The Welsh operator tells prospective passengers: “Thank you for not travelling with us during these exceptional times.

“This helps keep trains clear in Wales for key workers and those with essential needs.”

Transport Scotland advises travellers: “Please consider whether you need to use public transport, to ensure it is available for those with no alternative.”

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