Lumo - Making The Right Connections...

Issue 103

If you've been to Newcastle Central Station over the last few years...since October 2021 to be can't fail to have seen the blue livery of the brand new electric (built in Newton Aycliffe) Lumo trains. This is a North East success story of which we can be rightly very proud.

And, unlike the majority of railway lines in this country which have required UK Government support, Lumo hasn’t cost us, the British tax payers, a single penny.

We hopped onto the 12.51 Lumo departure from Newcastle and it arrived early into London Kings Cross, scheduled for 15.44. Apart from setting down passengers at Stevenage…handy if you’re using Luton or Stansted airports…it’s a non-stop service. The seats are roomy, comfortable and there’s plenty of luggage space. Quick word of praise for the staff too…they couldn’t have been more helpful with some passengers who had probably brought too much baggage! There’s an at-seat trolley service and you are regularly updated on arrival times. You even hear from the driver (Dan) if there’s a bit of a hold-up.

In other words, it’s a cracking way to head south to London and Stevenage, or north to Edinburgh via Morpeth.

So how has Lumo managed to be a success when so many other rail firms have had to be bailed-out by the tax payer?

“In railway parlance, we use what is known as an Open Access policy,” says Lumo MD Martijn Gilbert. “We are a private company which pays to use tracks and stations and provides a service to customers by offering different departure times and different connections. We don’t poach passengers from other train companies…in fact, it is the opposite because latest figures show that since we launched our Lumo Trains services, the overall number of rail passengers on the East Coast route has increased. It’s also been estimated that Lumo and Hull Trains will add a combined total of around £1.3bn to the economies of both regions. This is via tourism, business accessibility, student traffic, plus giving companies and employees the opportunity to grow.

We offer hugely competitive fares. Passengers, if they book in advance, can travel from Newcastle to London for £29.90. Bearing in mind that it’s quick…2hrs 51 mins…and goes from city centre to city centre, why would you fly or drive?”

Which is a seriously good point. It’s worth mentioning the green credentials of Lumo and their sister company Hull Trains. Last year the two firms saved an estimated 60,000 tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of taking 14,000 cars off the road or 684,000 Edinburgh to London flights. Wow.

“Here at Lumo we’re proud to be a North East firm, based in Newcastle, helping to grow the region’s economy and supporting local businesses via investments and partnerships. We work closely with Newcastle Falcons, The Charlie & Carter Foundation, Newcastle College, Black Storm Brewery and Beamish Museum. We use locally sourced products on our services with, for example, tea from Ringtons and beer from Ouseburn Brewery.

All of our 115 staff are based in Newcastle, most of them come from this region, and it’s hugely rewarding to point out that 95% of them came through an apprenticeship scheme called Train’d Up.”

This is a company we should be proud of. It also seems rather apt that another North East- based pioneering train company is proving to be successful and popular as we approach the 200th anniversary of George Stephenson opening the world’s first railway line from Stockton to Darlington.

And, because Lumo is a private operator, they can be flexible and react to demand. For example they recently laid on an extra train to London to help fans who were attending the England v Bosnia game at St. James’ Park.

Oh, and get ready for news of developments at Lumo. They’re looking to extend their service to Glasgow and a new route between London, Manchester and Rochdale. There are also ambitions by Hull Trains for new routes opening in Yorkshire.

Lumo…they’re blue…and they’re going places.

For more information on what Lumo has to offer and to catch-up on departure times, log onto their website

There are also details about things to do and places to visit in all of the Lumo destinations.

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