Saturday, February 24, 2024

LNER vs Lumo: Travel experts review the two East Coast Main Line services in a fascinating duel

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LNER vs Lumo: Travel experts pit the East Coast Main Line’s 125mph train services against each other on journeys from London to Newcastle – and footage of the duel is fascinating

For a short while, LNER had the East Coast Main Line express route between London and Scotland all to itself – then operator Lumo turned up.

Lumo doesn’t serve as many stations as LNER, calling only at Stevenage, Newcastle upon Tyne, Morpeth and Edinburgh – but it does have shiny new blue trains that match the 125mph top service speed of LNER’s Class 800 Azumas and cost less to ride. So should it be the go-to option for passengers needing to reach those destinations?

Travel experts from The Points Guy UK decided to find out, filming their experiences on board LNER and Lumo services from London King’s Cross to Newcastle. The resulting footage is fascinating – particularly the part when the Lumo crew suggest to the reviewer that he could sit on his chocolate bar to melt it for his croissant…

LUMO

Lumo – which offers one standard carriage class – was put to the test by Liam Spencer, who paid £20 for his ticket.

Travel experts from The Points Guy UK pit Lumo (above) against LNER in a train-service head to head on the East Coast Main Line

Lumo offers services between London King's Cross and Stevenage, Newcastle upon Tyne, Morpeth and Edinburgh

Lumo offers services between London King’s Cross and Stevenage, Newcastle upon Tyne, Morpeth and Edinburgh

Liam Spencer (above) put Lumo to the test, describing his seat as 'harder than usual'

Liam Spencer (above) put Lumo to the test, describing his seat as ‘harder than usual’

His Class 803 train sets off ‘bang on time’, so it’s a good start, but then he discovers that unless you pre-order, hot food is not available.

When he buys a Dairy Milk bar, he reveals that the crew suggest he sits on it to melt it for his croissant, which he finds slightly baffling.

Another negative was the seat – ‘harder than usual and one that could become uncomfortable on longer journeys’.

Liam discovers that if you want hot food on Lumo you need to pre-order it

Liam discovers that if you want hot food on Lumo you need to pre-order it

Baffling: The crew suggest to Liam that he sits on his Dairy Milk to 'warm it' for his croissant

Baffling: The crew suggest to Liam that he sits on his Dairy Milk to ‘warm it’ for his croissant

However, he’s impressed with the attitude of the crew overall – ‘super-friendly and really lovely’. And says that the train was ‘comfortable for the length of the journey’ [around three hours].

He also notes another positive – that ‘ticket prices can be incredibly low when booked in advance [as low as £9.90] and even cheap on the day’.

LNER

LNER offers more frequent services than Lumo and calls at more stations

LNER offers more frequent services than Lumo and calls at more stations

Putting LNER to the test was Nicky Kelvin, Head of TPG UK, who paid £90 for a first-class ticket

Putting LNER to the test was Nicky Kelvin, Head of TPG UK, who paid £90 for a first-class ticket 

The LNER first-class menu

Nicky's ¿fresh and tasty¿ coconut, sweet potato, cauliflower, chickpea and spinach curry

While Liam was contemplating whether to use bottom-power to warm up his Dairy Milk, Nicky was tucking into complimentary ‘fresh and tasty’ coconut, sweet potato, cauliflower, chickpea and spinach curry – served with peas in aromatic basmati rice (above)

Putting LNER to the test was Nicky Kelvin, Head of TPG UK, who paid £90 for a first-class ticket.

He notes that top-tier ticket-holders have access to a lounge at King’s Cross, which he tells MailOnline Travel ‘was a great place to hang out ahead of boarding the train’.

And while Liam was contemplating whether to use bottom-power to warm up his Dairy Milk, Nicky was tucking into complimentary ‘fresh and tasty’ coconut, sweet potato, cauliflower, chickpea and spinach curry – served with peas in aromatic basmati rice.

Other positives include ‘far more regular services with trains often running every 30 minutes, options of class of service and a loyalty scheme and Amex cashback that can be combined to drive better value’.

But he admits that LNER can’t match Lumo for price.

To see the full video click here. Sign up to the TPG UK newsletter here – thepointsguy.co.uk/mailing-list.

The LNER first-class lounge at King's Cross, which Nicky describes as 'a great place to hang out'

The LNER first-class lounge at King’s Cross, which Nicky describes as ‘a great place to hang out’

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