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New train service between London and Scotland planned

Simon Calder’s Travel

A new train service between London and Glasgow could be launched next year.

Transport company FirstGroup announced its plan for some London-Edinburgh services run by its Lumo brand to be extended to and from Glasgow.

Direct trains between London and Glasgow are currently operated by Avanti West Coast.

FirstGroup said a “significant number” of Lumo passengers currently travel to and from Glasgow via other connections.

Extending its network would also provide direct services between Newcastle and Glasgow.

FirstGroup said it is in discussions with Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland and infrastructure management company Network Rail about route options and timings.

It will then submit an application to regulator the Office of Rail and Road, in the hope of beginning Glasgow services in summer 2025.

FirstGroup chief executive Graham Sutherland said: “We are very pleased to be looking at options to grow our popular Lumo train service by extending the service from Edinburgh to Glasgow from next year.

“We have seen the level of growth and opportunity that is possible with new open access connections, including the significant environmental benefits of passengers switching to rail.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders as we refine this opportunity and our case for this new offering.”

Lumo, which was launched in October 2021, runs on an open access basis, meaning it receives no taxpayer-funded subsidies and take on all revenue risk.

Most train operators in England are paid a management fee, with the UK Government holding responsibility for costs and revenue.

ScotRail and Transport for Wales Rail are under public ownership.

Last month, FirstGroup announced a plan to operate a new open access service between London King’s Cross and Sheffield from the second half of next year.

Rail minister Hew Merriman said last week the open access system “goes from strength to strength” and he plans to “speed up” the application process and attract more operators by making unused timetable slots available.

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