More people are choosing to travel by rail between central Scotland and London for the first time – despite widespread disruption caused by a summer of strikes.
Between April and August 2022, for the first time more than half of journeys, 57%, between Edinburgh and London were by rail, compared to 35% of journeys before the Covid pandemic.
Some 63% of travellers chose to use rail over domestic flights in July 2022 alone.
Train operating company Lumo launched in April this year running services between Edinburgh Waverley and London King’s Cross station.
The budget operator is set to carry its millionth passenger in November having run more than 2,500 services, the equivalent of around 4,125 full flights each carrying 180 people.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Lumo, commented: “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 cleaner 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.”
He added that it was “vital for the economy” for long distance travel to be affordable and sustainable.
Mr Gilbert added: “I know we have opened up the route for people for the first time just by being cheaper than the alternatives previously available. Lumo has not changed passenger habits on its own – but the rail network has proven its value, comfort and convenience to passengers convincingly.”
UK Rail minister, Kevin Foster said: “The addition of Lumo’s electric trains to the East Coast Main Line is just one way our railways are leading the way in decarbonising transport. As we continue striving towards net-zero by 2050, operators like Lumo will help ensure we meet this ambitious target.”
Network Rail has been contacted for comment.