Lumo carbon data reveals its electric trains are 22 times greener than flying

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FirstGroup’s 100% electric rail operator Lumo has published operational carbon emissions data revealing that a single Lumo passenger could take 22 one-way rail trips between London and Edinburgh before creating the same emissions as a single flight on the same route.

The train company, which set out to convert users of the popular London to Edinburgh flight path to rail, has published the data to mark its second year of service. It looks at all direct emissions from Lumo operations, emissions from the grid-supplied energy it uses, and other emissions in its supply chain.

Lumo launched in October 2021 and has now run over 6,000 services and carried more than two million passengers. The company claims that its affordable prices continue to encourage people to use its 100% electric trains, with an average ticket still costing less than £40.

Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Lumo, said, “Lumo was launched with a promise of affordable, green travel between Edinburgh, Newcastle, and London. Our new carbon emissions data proves the environmental benefits of choosing our 100% electric trains. A single passenger would need to travel with us 22 times before breaking even on the carbon emissions from a single flight on the same route. Given we carry up to 4,000 passengers a day, that gives you some idea of the scale of the carbon savings we are delivering.”

Over the past 12 months, rail’s share of passenger journeys between Edinburgh or Newcastle and London now stands at 56%. This means rail is established as the preferred choice for passengers along the East Coast Main Line.

Lumo’s carbon emissions data was analyzed in an independent report produced by consultancy firm Arup. A return trip from Edinburgh to London on Lumo saves the equivalent of up to 11 trees worth of annual carbon when compared to flying.

Furthermore, the Arup report suggests that if 15% of passengers who flew from London to Edinburgh had instead travelled via Lumo, the carbon savings would be the equivalent to those passengers offsetting their carbon impact with a million trees or 3,650 hectares of forested land.

Gilbert added, “Rail has a critical role to play in decarbonizing our transport network. The time has come to look at ways to further incentivize rail travel over flying – otherwise we will all feel the environmental cost. There are affordable and convenient alternatives to flying between Edinburgh, Newcastle and London and we hope to encourage many more to passengers to choose Lumo in future.”