Station of the Future

The future of travel isn't flying cars or rocket ships. It's train travel!

At LNER, we're at the forefront of revolutionising travel. Like our faster and smoother Azuma trains. We’ve also introduced our LNER app, offering total convenience in live journey updates and LNER Perks bringing you fantastic rewards.

Together, they’re just some of the ways our digital team is making your journey even easier from the moment you start browsing destinations to the second you arrive there.

It’s exciting stuff and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We want to introduce you to the place where it’s all happening. Our Station of the Future.

Newcastle station. Full of innovation.

We’re always looking for new ways of doing things, like trialling new technology to bring you better services and better travel, as well as making sure we keep up with the digital world.

Newcastle is our Station of the Future. Here we’ll test brand new technology and pioneering digital ideas. You can experience our technology trials in a real-world environment, using everyday situations. They are all designed to make things easier, quicker and more secure. These tests will be on a small scale and feedback from you and our colleagues will help develop, refine and improve truly groundbreaking technology. Together we can shape the future of rail.

Why Newcastle?

We chose Newcastle as it’s a thriving, vibrant station right at the heart of our route. It’s also served by a range of other train operators. With a dynamic innovation and tech scene, Newcastle is perfect as our Station of the Future.

Look out for our ‘I'm a trial’ badge at our station

Check back here to see what’s live, where and when. Any project we’re trialling will feature an ‘I'm a trial’ badge. So you an easily spot it and get involved.

Our live and upcoming projects


Ella is an exciting virtual assistant, made to look like a helpful member of staff. She’s been programmed to answer all your questions about travel and the city you’re visiting. Ella may even beckon you over so you can ask about everything from ticket reservations and refunds to COVID questions and what you might need in the station. She’s particularly useful when station staff are busy.

Available round the clock she’s a friendly face and she speaks 5 languages (including Geordie). She’ll be in Newcastle station from early September for 10 weeks.

Completed trials

E-ticket vending machine

In summer 2021 we tested our ticket machine of the future. An entirely digital way to buy your rail tickets using touch screen technology. Quick and easy, it delivers tickets straight to your smartphone wallet. For extra convenience, you can pay by Apple Pay or Google Wallet. It went down a storm.

LNER FutureLabs

FutureLabs is our innovation accelerator programme. It aims to find innovative businesses and start-ups from around the world and their game changing solutions to solve challenges across LNER. Then, during an intensive 10 week programme, the cohort and LNER collaborate on bringing a trial of their product to the rail industry.

FutureLabs aims to transform the rail experience and scale-up innovations that will make a real difference to our customers, colleagues and communities – as well as lead the industry. Innovation is all about testing and learning, FutureLabs allows us to do that, at pace.

We ran our first FutureLabs in 2020 which included exciting projects such as At Seat Food Ordering Trial and an air purifying 'tree'. Since then we have begun working with our FutureLabs 2.0 programme.