The new cut-price rail link between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh will deliver even better value than expected to the UK's millions of railcard holders.(C) Simon Calder
Rail rivals: LNER is selling cheap tickets from Edinburgh (above) on its new competitor, Lumo- Simon Calder
It was initially believed that the usual 34 per cent discount would not be offered to passengers on the Lumo service, which launches on the East Coast main line on 25 October. But most railcards will yield the fare cut - resulting in one-way fares below GBP10 for travellers who grab one of the opening tranche of lowest-price tickets. These one-way journeys are selling for GBP14.90, but that cost comes down to GBP9.80 for railcard holders.
During the opening phase of the service - between Lumo's launch on 25 October and 1 December - railcard holders need not pay more than GBP13.10, so long as they book at least a day before departure. The fare cut applies to 16-25, 26-30, Disabled Persons, Family & Friends, Two Together and Senior railcards. Each railcard costs GBP30 for a year, except the card for disabled travellers - which is GBP20.
But the Lumo discount does not apply to holders of the Veterans Railcard. The company says: "We're sorry but for now you can't use these with Lumo tickets, although we're looking into changing that in the future." Lumo is competing directly with the state-owned train operator, LNER.
Because Lumo is linked to the national ticketing and fares system, its giant rival must include the newcomer's pricing in response to an online search. A test booking for the morning of 10 November on the LNER site shows non-discounted advance fares on its own trains generally at GBP44 one way, while the Lumo service is GBP19.90. A Super Off-Peak single on LNER, available without pre-booking, is GBP79.20, compared with GBP69 on Lumo.
But LNER has a much wider range of available trains. Initially, Lumo will operate just twice daily in each direction, compared with 25 services each way on LNER. From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate - The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests.
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