More than half of London-Edinburgh travellers now going by train instead of plane

New low-cost trains have helped travellers switch from domestic flights to rail travel

Ella Doyle
Tuesday 18 October 2022 14:57 BST
<p>Low-cost train company Lumo launched in 2021 </p>

Low-cost train company Lumo launched in 2021

More than half of travellers heading from London to Edinburgh are now opting to take the train, a transport expert has revealed.

New figures from RAIL, a transport magazine run by Nigel Harris, show that there has been an increase of over a third for total rail journeys between London and Edinburgh over the last year.

Between April and August 2022, 57 per cent of travellers took the journey by train instead of flying. Before the pandemic, this figure sat at 35 per cent.

Mark Smith, who founded train travel website Seat 61, tweeted about his experience with low-cost Lumo trains, which he said have helped rail journeys overtake domestic flights without destroying competitor LNER.

He said: “It’s almost a year since I rode the inaugural @LumoTravel low-cost train between London & Edinburgh with fares from £14.90. I said back then that five daily 400-seat trains had the potential to empty a lot of planes. One year on, have they? Or just abstracted revenue from LNER?”

But rather than Lumo merely taking bookings from LNER, both companies have seen an uptick in demand compared to pre-pandemic passenger numbers.

Lumo, owned by FirstGroup, launched in 2021 with the aim of providing low-cost train journeys to Edinburgh Waverley from London and compete with airlines for the same services. Tickets started out as low as £14.90 for the four-and-a-half hour journey.

Lumo runs five trains a day at non-peak times. Managing director Helen Wylde said at the time of its launch: "The support we have received for Lumo has been fantastic. Tickets are selling well beyond expectations, and we have had great feedback about our commitment to offering a different kind of rail company.

“However, rest assured we are not complacent and understand we must earn travellers’ trust in the Lumo promise."

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