London to Newcastle by train

How to take the rail journey from London to Newcasle

Travellers now have a choice of train services when taking a journey from London to Newcastle.
A relatively new operator Lumo, is offering a more basic, but often cheaper alternative, to the much more frequent service of trains operated by LNER.

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Routes

Option 1: Travelling with LNER

Travel Information

Final Destination:

Newcastle, Edinburgh: Traevlling on Azuma and a few Intercity 225 trains
Aberdeen, Inverness or Stirling: all Azuma trains

All trains also call at: York and Darlington

On the usual timetable, the departures at 00 minutes past the hour are faster than the trains, which leave at 30 minutes past the hour, because they make fewer station calls.

Some trains also call at: Durham

The London to Newcastle service by LNER trains has been transformed, because after 41 years of service, the InterCity 125 trains have ceased operating on the East Coast main line!

They have been replaced by the brand new Azuma trains on the majority of departures to Newcastle' when you look up a journey on the LNER website it shows whether an Azuma or an InterCity 225 train will be used on a departure.

Monday-Friday = 31 x trains per day
Saturday = 30 x trains
Sunday = 31 x trains

Between 07:00 and 20:00 on Mon - Sat, and between 09:00 and 21:00 on Sunday there is a minimum of two departures per hour.

The departures at 00 minutes past the hour are faster than the trains, which leave at 30 minutes past the hour, because they make fewer station calls.

At weekends maintenance work on the railway line can cause trains to be diverted on to longer routes.

Tickets

If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance tickets', though the two key things worth knowing about booking and using 'Advance' tickets are:
(1) This type of ticket can't be refunded if you subsequently change your travel plans, or miss the train in circumstances not to do with a connecting train.
(2) A £10 admin fee will be payable if you want to exchange your ticket to a different departure to the same destination, to that which you selected when making your booking PLUS you will ALSO be charged any price difference with the new ticket you'll then have to purchase.
(Though the T&Cs of using Advance tickets have been made more flexible for journeys taken before September 30th).

What is unusual about booking with LNER is that Advance tickets are now available online up to only 5 mins before departure.
They will have sold out sooner on the most popular trains, and the earlier you can book the cheaper they will be, but before buying walk-up Off Peak or Anytime tickets at a station, just prior to departure, it's worth checking on your phone to see whether Advance tickets are still available, before heading to the ticket counter or machines.

On the least busy Monday to Friday departures 'Super Off-Peak; tickets are usually available, they'll be more expensive than Advance tickets, but will give you greater flexibility with your travel-plans.
You will only have to pay any price difference with the new ticket - if you swap them to a different departure more than  24 hours ahead, there will usually be no difference in price to pay.
They can also be refunded for an admin fee of £10.

Travelling on Monday - Friday:

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date.

However, when you look up a journey you may see dates further ahead on the calendar, but you'll be informed that tickets aren't yet available for those dates.
On the LNER website you'll be prompted to sign up to a Ticket Alert service, on a PC, over on the right on the screen you'll be taken to, you'll see the furthest date ahead that tickets can be booked for.

Travelling on Saturday-Sunday

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date, but maintenance work on the route is periodically undertaken at weekends and if it is scheduled on your travel date, it can affect when tickets will be released for sale.

If you're looking up a journey less than 12 weeks ahead and tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date.
It can be worth checking this on the National Rail website - enter LNER as the operator.

Making an end-to-end journey will still be possible, so it can be worth signing up to LNER's ticket alert service, though you MAY ultimately have to take a substitution bus service for part of the trip.
It's the confirmation of these alternative travel arrangements which can hold up the release of the tickets for sale.

Choosing a departure

There can be significant differences in prices between departures on your travel date, it's possible to save more than £30 by taking an earlier or later train.
The LNER website makes it clear what the cheapest price is available per day.

When heading north, the trains which depart London in the middle of the day tend to be cheaper.

Reservations

When you book an Advance ticket for a London to Newcastle train journey, you will be automatically assigned a seat(s), but if you book the other types of ticket ahead, you can request a complimentary reservation - more info on this

Seat reservations aren't automatically included when booking Off Peak or Anytime tickets online, but you can add the complimentary reservation, once you've made choice of departure, either when booking or afterwards.
When booking walk-up tickets at a station ticket counter, if the Advance tickets aren't available for the next departure, confirm whether a seat reservation has been added to the booking of an Anytime or Off Peak ticket, in theory reservations will be available until around 5 mins pre-departure.

If you will be using a rail pass, including a Britrail or Eurail pass, you should be able to obtain a reservation, at no charge, from a ticket counter up until 5 mins before the departure; keep this in mind as it is not the norm when using rail passes in Britain.

Receiving Your Ticket(s)

If you book with LNER the four options for receiving your ticket(s) are:

(1) You will receive a booking reference number on your order confirmation email and you can use this reference number to collect ticket(s) from a ticket machine.
Some stations will have dedicated ticket collection machines, but standard ticket machines will also have an option for collecting pre-booked tickets.
You will need to enter your reference number into the machine, so make sure you'll have easy access to it when you are using the machine.
You will also need to insert the specific credit or debit card you used when making the booking, so have that with you too.

Showing the email you have received to staff at the ticket gates won't get you on to the train, nor will this be valid if you can only show the email to the conductor when you are on the train.
If you forget to bring your ticket(s) with you to the station, but do have the card with you that you used when booking, you can use the machines to collect your ticket(s).

Take your time and take care that you have picked up all your ticket(s) and seat reservations.

(2) Print off the tickets you receive before heading to the station - the instructions for doing this are available here.

(3) Opt to pay an additional charge to have your tickets posted to you - not available when booking tickets from outside the UK.

(4) Mobile tickets - if you select this option when making a booking you will need to download the LNER app so that you can 'Activate' your ticket.

The LNER website states that 'Advance' tickets will be automatically activated, but there's no suggestion on the LNER website that it will be OK to save the ticket(s) you will receive as a PDF to your mobile device.
So download the app to be sure that you can use a mobile ticket.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
LNER from £34

LNER Guide

LNER offers a couple of services which offer additional benefits to how tickets are usually sold for long-distance journeys:
They are:

  • a https://www.lner.co.uk/tickets-savings/your-ticket/price-promise/ service, which enables its customers to claim refunds for the differences in price between LNER and other booking agents for journeys by LNER trains.
  • LNER Perks is a useful service for those who regularly travel by LNER trains.
  • Seatfrog is a service by which those who have book Standard Class tickets can 'bid' to upgrade to First Class seats.
    In effect you can set the additional price you will be willing to pay to travel in First Class and if your price matches the winning bid, you'll be able to upgrade.
National Rail from £34

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

On this journey

Good to Know

This is one of the world's fastest train journeys that doesn't involve travelling on a dedicated high speed line, for large parts of the trip the train will be travelling at around 200 km/h (125 mph).

Durham's majestic cathedral and castle can be seen on the right Durham's majestic cathedral and castle can be seen on the right
Crossing the River Tyne at journey's end Crossing the River Tyne at journey's end

Journey Description

For the first 20 -25 minutes the train is travelling through the London suburbs and the commuter towns which surround it - though look out for the view from Welwyn Viaduct around 17 minutes into the journey

And then for the most of the remainder of the journey there are pleasant, but unspectacular views of the countryside from both sides of the train, across a mainly flat landscape.

So this is a train ride on which can be a good idea to have something to read or watch with you.

Though the other highlights of this train ride come towards the end of a train journey from London to Newcastle; the videos were taken from trains travelling in the opposite direction.

Around 15 mins after the train has departed Darlington, look out on the right for the majestic views over Durham.

It can also be worth lingering in your seat(s) until the train has pulled into Newcastle station, in order to see the fabulous view of the bridges over the Tyne.

Option 2: travelling with Lumo

Travel Information

Lumo is a relatively new rail operator which offers a more-basic alternative to travelling on LNER's trains.
If you want to travel in Standard Class and...

  • are happy to take your own food/drink on board with you
  • want access to WiFi during the journey
  • won't be travelling with more than one medium suitcase per person
  • won't be taking a bike
  • and aren't that bothered by seeing the view from the windows (comparatively few of the seats on Lumo trains line up well with the windows)
    ...then travelling with Lumo seems to compare well with travelling with LNER.

The core differences between the Lumo trains and the Azuma trains used by LNER are:

First Class:
LNER = available
Lumo = not available

Bar/bistro car:
LNER = available
Lumo = not available

At seat catering:
LNER = available
Lumo = available, but more substantial items such as sandwiches need to be pre-ordered up to 10 hours prior to departure

Large suitcases:
LNER = yes
Lumo = no

Non-folding bicycles:
LNER = yes, spaces can be reserved
Lumo = no

Monday to Friday = 4 x trains per day
Sat/Sun = no service (for the moment)

The Lumo timetable, note that the final departure of the day from London is at 14:36.

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open 24 weeks ahead of the travel date.

Lumo only offers two types of tickets for sale: Anytime and Lumo Fixed, which are its equivalent of discounted Advance tickets.
The prices of Lumo Fixed tickets will be cheaper the further ahead that they are booked and in common with Advance tickets they are departure specific, so include complimentary seat reservations.
They can be changed right up to the time of departure for any future without any admin fees, though any price difference to travel by the different departure will be payable.

Something to look out for is that the cheapest price of Lumo Fixed tickets are lower than cheapest prices of Advance tickets sold by LNER for London to Newcastle journeys, but these cheapest prices will sell out at different rates on each operator.
So it's worth comparing prices on your travel date(s), particularly if you won't be booking months ahead, you may find cheaper prices available on some LNER departures.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Lumo *

On this journey

Good to Know

Final destination: Edinburgh

The Lumo trains take the same route as the LNER trains, but some of the Lumo services are non-stop from London to Newcastle.

Durham's majestic cathedral and castle can be seen on the right Durham's majestic cathedral and castle can be seen on the right
Crossing the River Tyne at journey's end Crossing the River Tyne at journey's end

Journey Description

For the first 20 -25 minutes the train is travelling through the London suburbs and the commuter towns which surround it - though look out for the view from Welwyn Viaduct around 17 minutes into the journey

And then for the most of the remainder of the journey there are pleasant, but unspectacular views of the countryside from both sides of the train, across a mainly flat landscape.

So this is a train ride on which can be a good idea to have something to read or watch with you.

Though the other highlights of this train ride come towards the end of a train journey from London to Newcastle; the videos were taken from trains travelling in the opposite direction.

Around 15 mins after the train has departed Darlington, look out on the right for the majestic views over Durham.

It can also be worth lingering in your seat(s) until the train has pulled into Newcastle station, in order to see the fabulous view of the bridges over the Tyne.

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