by Keri Allan
25 Oct 2022
In just one year of business, FirstGroup’s 100% electric rail operator Lumo has attracted one million passengers and seen rail overtake air travel as the preferred mode of transport between Edinburgh and London.
This was announced as the budget rail operator celebrated the anniversary of its first service this week.
Firstgroup invested over 115 million GBP (132.26m EUR | 131.3m USD) into Lumo as part of a plan to “reimagine rail”.
It launched in October 2021 with its sights set on converting domestic air travellers to rail and since introducing its full timetable in April, rail became the favoured mode of transport between Edinburgh and London for the very first time.
Between April and August 2022, 57% of journeys between Edinburgh and London were by rail, compared to 35% during the same period in 2019.
Some 66% of travellers chose rail over domestic flights in August itself, suggesting the trend may be set to continue.
Lumo estimates that it’s saved the equivalent CO2 emissions of 21,000 homes’ annual electricity use by virtue of its passengers choosing its 100% electric trains over flying.
“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, 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.”
Lumo services have also broken records for reliability.
The fleet, built at Hitachi Rail’s factory in County Durham, has travelled over one million miles, without any technical incidents for half of the periods it has been in service.
This makes it four times more reliable than the UK industry average.
“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.”
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The first of Avanti West Coast's new fleet of Hitachi bi-mode trains has begun dynamic testing at Network Rail’s RIDC.
Network Rail has announced that major improvement works are set to take place on the Bakerloo and London Overground lines.
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Transport for Wales has installed the first electrical lines on the Core Valley Lines to power the new South Wales Metro.
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Network Rail has installed the first electric wires between Manchester and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
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Northern has completed its first ‘Intelligent Train,’ installing technology such as LIDAR horizon scanning cameras on a Class 150 unit.
Network Rail has commenced work on the next phase of electrification along the Midland Main Line between London and Wigston, Leicestershire.
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The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has revised its strategy on how to grow and develop the region’s rail network over the next 30 years.
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Network Rail has announced that its 4.5 million GBP project to upgrade the tracks at Newcastle Central Station is now complete.
The DfT and FirstGroup have agreed on a short-term contract extension for Avanti West Coast, which will last until the end of March 2023.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
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Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Bond Street Elizabeth line station will open on 24 October.
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Network Rail has opened a new entrance building with step-free access for Elizabeth Line passengers using Ilford station in London.
Transport for London (TfL) has reached a funding agreement with the UK government to support its transport network until March 2024.
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HS2 has commenced work on the thirty-eight cross passages that will link the northbound and southbound Chiltern tunnels.
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Eversholt Rail and Vivarail have signed an agreement to develop a battery power and range extension system for Class 321 ‘Renatus’ trains.
At the Future Mobility Showcase Day hosted by WMGC, Coventry City Council presented its ongoing Coventry Very Light Rail Project.
Network Rail has signed a contract with EDF Renewables UK for the supply of 49.9MW of solar power for non-traction power requirements.
South Western Railway (SWR) has begun a three-month trial of a new app designed to improve station accessibility.
Network Rail has formally begun the legal consultation process with the necessary trade unions regarding its planned maintenance reforms.
Stadler has started production of the Class 93 locomotive fleet for Rail Operations UK at its plant in Valencia, Spain.
Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK's high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.
Transport for London (TfL) is trialling a cooling panel solution to reduce platform and tunnel temperatures at deep Tube stations.
Network Rail is investing 30 million GBP into reducing platform congestion and improving accessibility at London Victoria station.
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