UK rail operator Lumo has published an interactive 360° virtual tour of its train carriages to support customers who may require additional support or wish to familiarise themselves with the carriage environment ahead of their travels.

The all-electric operator, which runs services on the country’s East Coast Main Line, said that the embedded information in the tour will allow better forward planning for its customers.

Managing director Martijn Gilbert said: “At Lumo, we want to ensure all our customers arrive at their destination as comfortable and relaxed as possible. By investing in this state-of-the-art technology, Lumo can ensure this goal is reached before the journey even begins.

“This service will allow new customers to become familiar with Lumo’s surroundings and provide assurance that their first Lumo journey will be as enjoyable as the next.”

A screenshot of Lumo's virtual train carriage tour showing a picture of the rear of a carriage with blue information icons over different sections.
Lumo’s tour includes information on wheelchair-accessible seats and its automatic doors. Credit: Lumo/Ocean 3D/Matterport.

The tour was created by UK company Ocean 3D using Matterport’s scanning technology and has been reviewed by an independent focus group during trials at Plymouth University, where 63% of participants said the tours were helpful and reassuring.

Ocean 3D director Chris Wood said: “We set up Ocean 3D with the purpose of enhancing building accessibility and inclusion for one and all. This extends beyond individuals with anxiety, catering to anyone who might need or require a pre-visit exploration of a new or unfamiliar location.

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“With advanced technology, we developed a digital map for customers, providing intricate insights into Lumo’s single-class train carriages.”

Customers using the tour, which can be accessed online on smartphones, laptops and tablets, or using a virtual reality headset, are able to click on different information points to learn more about the areas of the carriage.

The use of virtual tours to assist passengers who may be uncertain about travel has gained popularity in recent years as rail operators and stations seek to be more inclusive and accommodating in their operations.

Lumo’s announcement also comes after the Office of Rail and Road called on the UK’s rail companies to do more for their disabled passengers in its annual consumer report, though it acknowledged high levels of satisfaction in accessing booked in-person assistance.