Lumo, FirstGroup’s new 100% electric, affordable rail service, will travel from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh for the first time on Thursday [21 October] as it celebrates its inaugural service.
Early ticket sales data suggest a reaction to Lumo’s greener and affordable offering has been positive.
With the first passenger services beginning on Monday [25th October], Lumo says sales are above expectations, despite selling tickets for just 44 days.
Weekend train services have been particularly popular as people begin to rediscover using the rail network for staycations and to visit friends and family.
Helen Wylde, Managing Director for Lumo, said: “The support we have received for Lumo has been fantastic. We have always said we intend to reimagine rail travel and we are glad people are giving us a chance. 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.”
Brit Award-winning singer-songwriter Tom Walker will perform to volunteers from Lumo’s charity partner, The People’s Kitchen, during the inaugural journey. Also travelling will be disability campaigner and train enthusiast Harvey Price, who was recently appointed Lumo’s Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador.
The inaugural service also marks a significant feet of manufacturing as the brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains were constructed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic while observing appropriate safeguards.
Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director, said: “Lumo underlines our commitment at FirstGroup to innovation and customer service to reimagining rail travel. We have invested over £100 million to ensure Lumo stands apart and encourages people to choose rail travel over the air for journeys between the two capitals. This is an important moment for the industry as we encourage more people back onto the rail network.”
Jim Brewin, Head of UK & Ireland at Hitachi Rail said: “This fleet is another milestone for our North East factory, with the highest number of parts being sourced from Hitachi Rail’s UK supply chain. Despite the initial challenges of the pandemic, Hitachi Rail has delivered these 100% electric trains on time, which is a testament to the determination and resilience of everyone involved.
Ahead of COP26, the Lumo fleet demonstrates how UK manufacturing and rail can offer a zero-emission alternative to flying and deliver green growth.”
Lumo’s passenger services begin on Monday 25th October. It aims to create more than 13 million additional passenger journeys in the next decade as well as reduce carbon emissions by encouraging travellers to use greener, electric rail travel. It will contribute as much as £250m to the UK economy over ten years.
Sarah Reid, Commercial Director for Network Rail’s Eastern region, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Lumo to the route. The East Coast Main Line has a rich history, and the introduction of these new, fully electric services marks the next chapter.
“We’ve worked incredibly closely with Lumo and the wider rail industry on making these plans a reality and it’s fantastic that today, we realise a new future for sustainable rail travel.
“We wish Lumo all the best and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we welcome their first train on the network, helping to improve choice for passengers and encouraging more people to travel by rail.”
FirstGroup’s £100m order with Hitachi Rail for the manufacture and maintenance of Lumo’s AT300 intercity electric trains was financed by Beacon Rail.
Adam Cunliffe, CEO at Beacon Rail, said: “Railways offer a safe, sustainable and cost-effective means of transport now and in the future. Lumo is reinventing rail travel with a fresh and affordable offer. Beacon is delighted to support Lumo and congratulates Helen and her team as they attract more customers to rail from road and air.”