Fastest journey2hr 4m
Taking the train from London to Manchester is very easy. There’s one early morning train from Manchester which dashes to London in just two hours. No northbound service can quite match that. Most take about 2 hrs 10 mins for the 296-km journey. Fast trains operated by Virgin Trains West Coast leave London every 20 minutes for Manchester. The journey cuts through the Hertfordshire hills and then crosses the Midland Plain to Staffordshire, shirting the western edges of the Pennines on the approach to Manchester.
No other rail operator provides direct services from London to Manchester, but there are alternative routes departing from Marylebone, Paddington or St Pancras stations in London. These all require a change of train en route and the journey time to Manchester is much longer. You may however sometimes find attractive fares on these other routes.
Bookings for the London to Manchester services typically open 10 to 12 weeks prior to travel.
London to Manchester
Virgin Pendolino trains are used on the fast direct services from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. Most services make just three intermediate stops on this journey. Heading north out of London, the railway follows the line of the Grand Union Canal as it runs through the Chilterns. Once well clear of London, there are some pleasing pastoral landscapes as the train runs north towards Manchester. Some services run via Stoke-on-Trent and the Potteries; others via Crewe and Wilmslow. All trains stop at Stockport about 10 minutes before arriving at Manchester Piccadilly.
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Image credits: Salford Quays, Manchester © Gordon Bell