New train operator Lumo has now officially launched journeys from Edinburgh to London.
Although it was branded an “affordable” option for travel to and from the UK capital when it announced, I was curious if this was really the case in practice.
Before the service began, flying to and from London was consistently cheaper than getting a train, and I wanted to see if this was still the case – or whether Lumo had dethroned EasyJet.
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To find out, I went onto both the Lumo and EasyJet websites, and picked three different weekends over the next three months to compare the price of a return trip.
Looking ahead to next weekend, an outbound flight from Edinburgh to London Gatwick on 5 November can be bought for £35.99, while a Lumo train to London on the same morning costs £69.00.
A return flight on 7 November with EasyJet is more expensive at £52.99, but still cheaper than the £69 return train offered by Lumo.
The outbound and return journeys combined cost £88.98 when flying with EasyJet, compared to £138 for the Lumo trains – almost £50 more expensive.
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Comparing the cost of a return journey to London between the two services in December, it’s a similar story.
An outward flight to London Gatwick with EasyJet can be bought for £35.99 on 3 December, while a journey with Lumo on the same day can be bought for £42.90.
Lumo don’t advertise any return journeys at all on the Sunday, but comparing prices on Monday 6 December, the cheapest flight from London Gatwick to Edinburgh can be bought for £24.99, while the cheapest Lumo train is £32.90.
Looking ahead to the new year, a weekend trip to London and back with EasyJet can be bought for £45.98, while it costs £103.90 for a return trip with Lumo – over double the amount.
When announcing the service between Edinburgh and London, Lumo managing director Helen Wylde 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.”
While Lumo prices are higher than those offered by EasyJet, they are consistently lower than those by other train operators.
On its website, Lumo states: “We don’t believe that you should pay extra for service, comfort or indeed the ability to do the right thing for the environment.
“We promise that 60% of our fares will be offered at no more than £30.00.”
If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly way to travel to and from London, or just hate flying, it seems Lumo is now a good alternative – but be warned that it’s not as affordable as you might have hoped.