Lumo, a fully electric service between London and Edinburgh, is being launched with cut-price fares to attract new passengers.
The hope is commuters will take advantage of this service over air travel, which owner FirstGroup says numbers at more than 74,500 people per month.
Single tickets between the capitals will start from £14.90. Some 60 per cent of all single fares will be available at a cost of £30 or less.
A ‘launch period’ single fare will be promoted from 25 October to 1 December. Every seat booked up to one day before travel will cost £19.90 or less.
The service will begin on 25 October 2021, with frequency increasing over time, reaching up to ten services per day by early 2022.
The trains include custom-designed seats – ergonomically designed around longer journeys – with adjustable tray table, privacy wings and personal lighting. The service will have a new at-seat catering service from high street brands called LumoEats, simplified fares, free Wi-Fi, paperless ticketing, a new entertainment system and a single class of service for all passengers.
Over the next decade, FirstGroup hopes that it will create more than 13 million passenger journeys, cut carbon emissions and contribute as much as £250m to the economy.
Lumo has invested £15m on digital and IT infrastructure and £100m on the manufacture and maintenance of five brand new, state-of-the-art Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains.
Helen Wylde, managing director for Lumo, said: “Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet.
“We believe everyone has the right to travel in style. We are empowering people to make green travel choices that are genuinely affordable without compromising on comfort.”
She added: “The reasons people choose different modes of travel are changing. People are now considering their impact on the environment very carefully. They also expect better service and catering. Lumo is a new rail travel experience that is kinder to the planet and better value for passengers, while never compromising on service.”
Lumo intends to publish its carbon emissions data on a regular basis to feed its carbon calculator, which allows passengers to check the carbon impact of their Lumo journey and compare it with other ways to travel.
Furthermore, over 50 per cent of the on-board catering menu is plant-based; staff uniforms are responsibly sourced and can be entirely recycled; and paper waste has been dramatically reduced by being a digital-first business.
Helen said: “Travelling by rail is already the greenest form of long-distance travel in the UK. Lumo will take this further, being the ‘greenest in class’ with state-of-the-art electric trains and a service to match. We have a commitment to finding greener, smarter and more comfortable ways to get people from A to B – and we welcome anyone’s perspective on that.”
Lumo has invested £2 million in a Training Academy, focused on passenger wellbeing and on-board customer service, harnessing new technology and caring for vulnerable passengers. This month, 15 customer driver apprentices will graduate from the Academy.