Between April and August, 57% of journeys between Edinburgh and London were by rail, compared to a pre-pandemic position of 35% in April-August 2019. Some 66% of travelers chose rail over domestic flights in August itself, suggesting the trend may be set to continue.
Rail Minister, Kevin Foster said: “The addition of Lumo’s electric trains to the East Coast Main Line is just one way our railways are leading the way in decarbonizing transport. As we continue striving towards net zero by 2050, operators like Lumo will help ensure we meet this ambitious target.”
The budget rail operator Lumo will carry its millionth passenger in November having run over 2,500 services, the equivalent of around 4,125 full flights, each carrying 180 people.
Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Lumo, commented: “The increase in rail’s share of passengers between London and Edinburgh demonstrates the value Lumo has brought to the East Coast Main Line. Not only have we attracted passengers to greener transport, but we have noticed that other operators have also increased their market share. Together we have convinced the public that the convenience, price, and environmental impact of rail is well worth it.”
The fleet, which was built at Hitachi Rail’s factory in County Durham, has traveled over one million miles, with average customer loadings at 86%.
Jim Brewin, Head of UK & Ireland for Hitachi Rail, said: “In just 12 months, the Lumo fleet has become the most reliable Hitachi has ever launched in the UK. Being both incredibly reliable, and 100% electric, encourages the shift to rail required to meet Net Zero. The success of this British-built train is recognition of the hard work from everyone at Lumo, FirstRail, Beacon Rail, and Hitachi colleagues at our UK depots and North East factory.”
Adam Cunliffe, CEO of Beacon Rail, highlighted climate goals: “Over the past year we’ve seen the concept of Lumo grow from launch to become one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways to travel between Edinburgh and London. Beacon is extremely proud to be a key partner in driving the success of these 100% electric trains that demonstrate a collaborative approach to reducing carbon emissions and reimagining rail travel.”
Lumo launched in October 2021 with its sights set on converting domestic air travelers to rail. Edinburgh to London remains the UK’s most popular domestic air route with nearly 500 flights every week between the capital cities.