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2 million passengers marks a green success for Lumo

A single Lumo passenger could take 22 one-way trips before creating the same emissions as a single flight

Published 23 Oct 2023

After setting out to convert users of the popular London to Edinburgh flight path to rail, Lumo now published operational carbon emissions data proving our environmental value over flying for the first time. The report looks at all direct emissions from Lumo operations; emissions from the grid-supplied energy used; and other emissions in the supply chain*.

Lumo now carried over 2 million passengers since launching. The figures reveal 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**.

After launching in October 2021 we have now run over 6,000 services. Lumo's affordable prices continue to encourage people to use Lumo services and choose 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 last 12 months, rail’s share of passenger journeys between Edinburgh or Newcastle and London now stands at 56%. This means rail is encouragingly established as the preferred choice for passengers along the East Coast Main Line.


Our carbon emissions data was analysed in an independent report produced by consultancy firm Arup. The data show 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 Heathrow 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**** - or planting an area the size of Blackpool with trees.

Martijn Gilbert added: “Rail has a critical role to play in decarbonising our transport network. The time has come to look at ways to further incentivise 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.”

* Data analysed by Arup. Scope 1: Direct emissions from operations that are owned and controlled by Lumo; Scope 2: Emissions from the use of grid-supplied electricity, heat, steam and/or cooling by Lumo; Scope 3: All other emissions that occur in the value chain of Lumo.

** A one-way Lumo trip between Edinburgh and London emits approximately 6.8 kgCO2e while the equivalent journey flying emits 149 kgCO2e. Emissions are presented in terms of kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent (kgCO2e).

*** CAA and LENNON data

**** Assuming a single tree sequesters approximately 25kg CO2 per year on average - it is acknowledged that this figure can differ depending on factors such as tree type, management, age and soil type , as well as how the rate of sequestration varies as trees grow/ mature over time. Forested land claim: mixed broad-leaved woodland sequesters 7 tCO2e per hectare of area per year (average taken over 100 year lifetime). Source: Natural England