Trains from London to Edinburgh could take just four hours in new LNER plans

Currently only one train service does the London to Edinburgh journey in four hours.
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Train journeys between London and Edinburgh could be cut to just four hours when timetables change in December 2024, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has said.

Currently, only the 5.40am ‘Flying Scotsman’ service makes the 331-mile journey in this time, calling only at Newcastle between the English and Scottish capitals.

The train operator said it wants to attract 60% of people travelling between London and Edinburgh by rail or air with the faster route, which cuts the journey time between King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley by nearly thirty minutes.

Managing director David Horne said: "If you’re in Edinburgh, you’re now going to have an hourly fast service which will be quicker, or at least as quick, door-to-door as if you had been travelling by air.

"There's still some work taking place by Network Rail and the [rail] industry to make sure the precise timings of freight trains can still be accommodated.”

The new service would skip several stations, stopping only at Newcastle and York, with a new hourly “stopping service” provided between London and Newcastle to serve other stations and free up seats for passengers travelling between London and Edinburgh.

"When we launch the service, there is going to be more capacity on Edinburgh to London services… generated by transferring intermediate journeys off the Edinburgh trains,” Horne said.

Subject to approval from the Department for Transport, the route would take four hours and five minutes northbound and four hours and eight minutes southbound.

Faster Azuma train services were planned for 2019 but faced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and infrastructure work on the East Coast main line.