Lumo — a budget train service running between London and Edinburgh — has launched, charging as little as £15 a ticket.
With a proclaimed goal of 'reimagining what it means to travel by rail', Lumo — which is operated by FirstGroup — says it is directly taking on budget airlines that fly between the two British capitals, by offering affordable rail travel.
Seats! You asked me about @LumoTravel seats. (Btw, I find GWR & LNER ones fine; some ppl dislike). A high % have restricted views, but it *is* a low-cost service (& Govt’s DfT mandated min 400 seats per train, I’m told). They’re comfy & padded, and I like these headrest wings… pic.twitter.com/oBJdukwTst— Tim Dunn (@MrTimDunn) October 21, 2021
As you might expect, those mouth-wateringly priced £14.90 tickets aren't all that easy to come by; with a rudimentary browse on the Lumo site we couldn't find any single adult journeys cheaper than £36. Lumo says "up to 60% of tickets per service are under £30" but you'll have to be quicker than us to snap them up.
It's possible cheaper tickets will become slightly less obscure when Lumo raises its number of daily services to 10, early next year. We'll have to wait and see.
As for the trains themselves: with their electric blue livery, these Hitachi Class 803s are hard to miss. They're 100% electric, too — according to Lumo, generating six times fewer carbon emissions than flying. So while they can't beat planes on journey time (London to Edinburgh on easyJet is 75 minutes, Lumo trains take an average of 270 minutes), the green credentials, lack of airport faff — and generally more pleasing views out the window — may entice more travellers.
And according to train expert Tim Dunn — who was on the inaugural London to Edinburgh trip — the seats are comfy, with decent legroom, illuminated extendable trays and (get in!) those brilliant headrest wings you get on the Eurostar.
Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to have another look for those £15 tickets...