How to take the rail journey from London to Manchester

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London to Manchester by train

How to buy tickets, what's on board the trains, how to use the stations, plus tips for making the most of the journey

Good news, the most frequent rail service between European cities over a distance of more than 200km has been restored, as once again three trains per hour are travelling on this route!

Routes you can take to go from London to Manchester

When travelling between most cities by train there is only one logical option, though on other journeys there is a choice between different trains or alternative routes. If different options are available you can use the info to decide which is best for you.

Choose one of the following options:

Route Information

Travel Time (approx)

2hr 7min - 2hr 13min



Travel Info

3 x trains per hour

Journey Summary:

  • Is the journey direct? = Yes
  • Is the journey scenic? = Not particularly
  • When is the usual approximate earliest arrival at the destination? = before 08:30 on Monday to Friday; around 08:45 on Saturday; before 11;00 on Sunday
  • When is the usual approximate latest departure? =after 22:00 on Monday to Friday; after 21:00 on Saturday; after 21:45 on Sunday
  • Are tickets cheaper if booked in advance? = Yes
  • How soon ahead of travel are tickets typically placed on sale? = 12 weeks; see the Ticket Information
  • What are the child ticket terms? = aged 5 to 15 = 50%; aged 4 and under = free
  • Does the ticket include assigned seats? = Varies; Yes with Advance Ticket; see the Ticket Information
  • Do rail pass users need to book reservations? = No
  • Is catering available on the train? = Yes = bar/bistro car and At Seat Catering; Complimentary catering in 1st class, which can include a full meal service
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.