First Groups new 100% electric rail service, Lumo, is travelling from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh today, 21st October.
The brand new open-access rail operator has also very kindly invited RailAdvent onboard the launch train alongside Geoff Marshall, Tim Dunn and RailCam.
With the press train operating the inaugural service, early data is showing tickets are selling much quicker than expectations.
Passenger trains will begin on Monday, 25th October, but Lumo says tickets are selling better than they expected, despite tickets being on sale for just 44 days.
Brit Award-winning singer, Tom Walker and Harvey Price, Lumo’s Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, have joined in the events today, travelling to Edinburgh on the new AT300 trains.
One thing you will notice is that there are more airline-style seating, with rows of 2 x 2 seating with pull-down trays rather than 4 x 2 table seating.
From the outside though, Lumo’s simple yet head-turning blue livery really does look the part.
It’s nice to see each seating area feature a plug socket and 2 USB points – though these are underneath the seat in front of you and are rather difficult to get to, especially if you have luggage.
The drop-down trays are sturdy enough to rest a laptop on and each tray area comes with an LED light.
When it comes to the seating, they are rather comfy. They are supportive and are not too ‘ironing board’ like other operators. Whether they remain like this throughout a London to Edinburgh journey remains to be seen. It is disappointing though to see seating not line up with the windows, however, the cabin is still bright and airy, with plenty of legroom for seated passengers.
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.”
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 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 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.”
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.”
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.”
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