The number of trains has increased on this route, to close to the pre-pandemic level of the service, with an hourly service restored during the middle of the day
Final Destination: Bristol Temple Meads or Paignton (2 x trains per day)
All trains also call at: Cheltenham Spa and Bristol Parkway (this station is to the north of the city and is conveniently sited for motorway access, but take care NOT to leave the train here if you will be heading to Bristol city centre).
These trains will reverse direction on departure from Birmingham New Street
Monday to Saturday
1 x train per hour
Though the final direct train of the day departs Manchester before 17:15
5 x trains per day
There are no direct morning departures
Book Early and Save: Yes
Online Bookings Usually Open: From 12 weeks ahead of travel of the travel date
Booking Advance Tickets
If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance tickets', though the three key things worth knowing about booking and using 'Advance' tickets in usual circumstances are:
(1) Your ticket(s) will only be valid on the departure you selected when making a booking.
(2) But when travelling by CrossCountry trains, you can amend your ticket free of charge, regardless of when it was booked and when you will be travelling from 2 hours after purchase and up to 15 minutes before your train is due to depart, as long as the stations are the same.
(3) If the train you are booked on is delayed, you cannot then just hop on an alternative train operated by a different company.
Finding a late deal
CrossCountry atypically offers the ability to book Advance tickets until up to 15 minutes before departure.
When you book an Advance ticket for this 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
However, if you buy Off Peak or Anytime tickets just prior to boarding at the station, a seat reservation won't be automatically included with your booking.
Though CrossCountry now offers a service buy which holders of Anytime and Off-Peak tickets can book reservations up to 10 minutes prior to departure time.
Potential changes to ticket booking
If you're looking up a journey less than 12 weeks ahead and Advance tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date.
It can be worth checking traffic updates on the CrossCountry website.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
With only up to two of these trains per day continuing on beyond Bristol to West Country destinations, in most hours when travelling by train from Manchester to the likes of Taunton and Exeter and beyond, connections are required.
The easiest station on the route in which to make the transfer between trains is Cheltenham Spa, because the connection will simply involve stepping off one train and waiting on the same platform and track for the subsequent onward departure.
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