There's now a new way to travel between London and Edinburgh for about $20 each way — and it doesn't involve setting foot on a plane, paying a new airport drop-off charge, or packing the lightest bag you can find to avoid baggage fees.
Lumo is a new budget rail line that made its official debut in London on Friday, Oct. 22. Passenger services on the all-electric, low-carbon train line are set to begin Monday, Oct. 25 and will take travelers from the center of London to the heart of Edinburgh in four-and-a-half hours.
And while not everyone will be able to snag Lumo's cheapest fares, the company is promising to keep 60 percent of its available seats priced at less than $42. "Traveling in the UK should not cost a fortune, and it certainly shouldn't be the planet that pays," Lumo's Helen Wylde said in announcing the rail line's launch.
Other European countries are taking similar approaches after Swedish activist Greta Thunberg publicly gave up flying to fight climate change. France, for example, is banning short domestic flights in favor of high-speed trains to reduce the country's carbon footprint.
FirstGroup, which owns Lumo, estimates nearly 75,000 travelers choose to fly between London and Edinburgh each month. By opting for a train journey, passengers could cut the emissions resulting from their trips significantly. Lumo plans to help them see just how much of an impact they could have by providing carbon emissions data and calculators.
Onboard, passengers also will find a menu that's 50 percent plant-based and crew members outfitted in recyclable uniforms. "We have a commitment to finding greener, smarter and more comfortable ways to get people from A to B," said Wylde.
The company's Hitachi AT300 trains are equipped with Wi-Fi, and there's only one class of service in effort to minimize the number of choices travelers have to make when purchasing tickets. And while the company didn't provide specific numbers, Lumo said sales are doing better than expected. "We intend to reimagine rail travel and we are glad people are giving us a chance," Wylde said.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.