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Piccadilly Train Station
In Manchester, there are twio main train stations. These are Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria Station, with Manchester Picadilly being the main hub.
There are many buses that stop near or at Piccadilly train station. The metro goes there and any taxi will know where it is (taxi rank on Fairfield Street).
If you're walking in the city, there are some signposts to follow, and the majority of people who know Manchester will be able to point you in the right direction!
There are trains to all areas that Manchester covers (or a train and a bus). Not forgetting the rest of the country!
The train station itself is in the centre of Manchester. It has parking facilities (very expensive), a place to secure your bicycle, and there are the Metroshuttle's 1 & 3 (wheelchair accessible) that are free. There is a pick up and drop off point on Fairfield Street Car Park (Sat Nav/GPS M1 2QF).
Inside the station, there is an information point, kiosks and machines to buy and pick up tickets. And a lot of shops to buy drinks, snacks, meals, a newspaper, magazines, a new purse, bag, hat, jewellery etc. etc.
The platforms are clearly marked. Some platforms are quite far away from the entrance, so leave plenty of time for your journey.
The telephone number below is for general enquiries.
Manchester Victoria Station (Regional Station)
Manchester Victoria Station is regional station serving destinations north and east of the city where some services continue to towns in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and also to Merseyside. There are also services to Huddersfield and Leeds in West Yorkshire. It's situated in the north of the city centre near the historic quarter and Manchester Cathedral.
Living in Leeds, I prefer and usually to travel to its sister station, Manchester Piccadilly, as the trains are more frequent and faster and the station is a lot nicer! However if I plan to see a concert at the Manchester Evening News Arena, I would choose to travel specifically to Manchester Victoria because the Arena is adjacent to the station.
Trains from the station are operated by Northern Rail although at weekends, due to engineering works, other train companies are diverted here from Manchester Piccadilly.
It was once the biggest commuting stations in the country but during the 20th Century the usage went into decline and was considered one of Britain's worse stations for facilities and atmosphere. However the Government has addressed this issue and whatever happens to improve the station remains to be seen!
There are plans to connect trains with both Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly Stations via the Ordsall Chord in the not too distant future.
First Trans-Pennine Express
I usually catch the Trans-Pennine Express train from Leeds across to Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station. The trains are 24 hours and run every 20 minutes during the day and every hour throughout the night. It takes me an hour to reach Manchester and stops on at Dewsbury (certain trains), Huddersfield and Stalybridge (certain trains) on the journeys.
You can book tickets in advance either online or at the station and can get them cheaper. I usually book mine on the day because I like the flexibility of catching any train out to Manchester and back to Leeds.
From Manchester to Caernarfon (Wales)
National Express have a coach from Manchester to Caernarfon, but it doesn't leave until 14:50 in the afternoon, which was too late for me.
Another option is to take a train to Bangor, and there change to a bus. When I, one week in advance, searched for morning trains from any station in Manchester to Bangor the option that came up was from Picadilly Station and full price tickets for £34.70 (February 2012). I didn't book a ticket as the price would be the same if I bought it at the station just before leaving. When I arrived in Manchester I realised that the train might stop at Oxford Road Station, which was closer to the hostel where I was staying. When I now made a new search for tickets, only from Oxford Road Station there were tickets available for £14 with the 7:53 train, but I didn't book a ticket then as my time on Internet was running out, and of course those cheep tickets soon disappeared. It can be a good idea to check tickets from different stations as the cheap tickets from the main stations are sold first.
I took the 7:53 train from Manchester Oxford Road Station to Chester. I paid £34.70 for the ticket (to Bangor) at the station. To Chester the train took about an hour and there I had to wait half an hour for the next train to Bangor. To Bangor it took another hour.
The bus to Caernarfon passes by the train station, but I didn't know that, so to take the bus from Bangor to Caernarfon I walked down the street to the bus station in Bangor. The bus to Caernarfon took less than half an hour and the ticket was £2.70. In Caernarfon the bus stopped at Penllyn, where all buses stop, and from there it was not far to walk to Totter's where I was going to stay.
Train to Liverpool
Due to some insidents we had to go to Liverpool from Manchester.
Being a person with Collective transport up the neck I found actually a system to the madness. Managed to get tickets - roundtrip - from an automat and managed to get on the right train back and forth...
That is the easiest way to go to Liverpool (and most likely cheapest) - so well worth a try. Just ask for help if you need assistance.
Britain's best new rail station
Central Manchester has two main rail stations, Piccadilly and Victoria.
Piccadilly has undergone the most expensive overhaul of a British main line station to become arguably the nation’s best. At our stunning city gateway you have easy access to taxis, the Metrolink trams and a free bus into the city centre, the Metroshuttle #1.
Victoria station is a bit shabby but is also being renovated. It has lovely old features, including the original ticketing windows.
Victoria is the oldest train station in Manchester, opened in 1944 to replace the Manchester Oldham Road Railway station.
The station has six platforms and has services running to the north and west of Manchester including Liverpool, Bolton, Blackpool, Leeds and Clitheroe.
In 2009, Manchester Victoria was voted as the worst train station in Britain and as a result has, along with nine others, been given an urgent injetion of £50 million and an emergency rebuilding programme.
The station also serves as one of several manchester metrolink stops in the city centre.
Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly
I've caught the train from Sheffield to Manchester many times, but usually I've been passing through to Manchester Airport.
This is one of my favourite train journeys, not just because I'm usually on my way to a holiday destination, but because of the scenery you pass through.
Leaving Sheffield, it's not long before you're into Derbyshire and the Peak National Park. Normally I catch a direct train, where I can sit back and enjoy the stunning countryside for the journey, which is usually less than an hour.
My most recent trip was for Gillybobs Manchester Christmas Markets VT meet. I met Doodybee (Julie) at the station. There was a signal failure, which was affecting many northern lines. We decided to jump on a train that was ready to depart, although it was due to take longer than our planned train, which was delayed.
This train stopped at every station on the way - a blessing for those who live in the rural villages and suberbs en route, not so good, when you're late for meet up time.
My return ticket cost £14.70 (plus booking and credit card fee) online with Trainline.com
Train tickets valid for all Manchester Stations (Piccadilly, Victoria and ) give you free travel on the Metro tram service too. (There is also a free shuttle bus service (Metroshuffle) from Piccadilly running on 3 routes, which I'll cover in a later tip)
I was really surprised to see how Piccadilly Station had changed since my last visit - like a shopping mall, it even had a Sainsburys.
If you need to use the toilet, try to go on the train - it costs 30p in the train station!
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station
If you are travelling to Manchester by train it will probably be Piccadilly station that you arrive at. The station is in the city centre itself and is also the hub for local transport around the area and further afield.
The station has all the facilities expected of a major city terminus including shops, cafes, ATM's and left-luggage facilities - website below has comprehensive info.
For travel around the city there is a free bus shuttle service which runs from just outside the main exit - see "getting around" tip.
Another useful piece of travel advice is that train tickets to/from Piccadilly marked CTLZ are also valid for use on the Metrolink train/tram service out to Bury, Altrincham and Eccles.
- Budget Travel
Not too many people know that there are actually three railway stations within the city centre area of Manchester. Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria (discounting Deansgate as this isn't mainline). Piccadilly serves South Manchester locations but is also the main station for Manchester with cross-country trains arriving and departing from here. Many mainline trains which travel to/from Oxford Road, also travel to/from Piccadilly station.
Victoria station on the otherhand is a more regional services station and serves the north/north west of England and is based on the north eastern side of the city centre.
Be sure when checking timetables that you know which Manchester station you are travelling to/from as many Mancunians would automatically direct you to Piccadilly station if you say Manchester train station.
The Metrolink shuttle links Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly stations. The MetroShuttle buses link all three stations, ultimately but not all three are linked via one route.
- Budget Travel
Buying train tickets
There are three ways to buy train tickets.
1) Just follow instructions of special machine at the train station and pay by credit card.
2) Stand in a queue to buy a ticket from a cashier and pay by cash (I'm not sure about paying by credit card).
3) Try to buy a ticket inside a train from an inspector.
I'd say that the first way is more preferable.
Return ticket (if you are going to return on the same day) has almost the same price as on-way ticket.
- Budget Travel
Too sexy. Fat chairs (sometimes with tables), rarely overcrowded, mind-your-own-business people, smooth sailing - get over it. Metro is hands-down the way to travel to Manchester from anywhere you can catch it from.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Manchester is served by two mainline railway stations, both of which are located in the City Centre. Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly together provide direct rail connections to all major UK cities, for example, London is 3 hours away by train, Birmingham, 2 hours and Edinburgh and Glasgow, 4 hours.
To Travel from London pick up a train from Euston which will take you into Manchester Piccadilly.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
- Study Abroad
Tips on train travel
Virgin Trains runs the West Coast Main Line franchise and you can expect to be aboard one of their services for most trips to/from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.
Virgin is rapidly replacing their trains but have been hindered by never-ending engineering work on the country's most decrepit main line. Journeys to London can take a half hour longer because of diversions and in spots the line is shut entirely, meaning bus replacement services from certain towns. Don't worry when traveling between the big cities: you may face longer journeys because of a diversion but only in exceptional circumstances are cross-country travelers forced onto the charter buses.
East-west travel between Leeds and Liverpool via Manchester is bliss by comparision: very fast and fairly cheap!
Midland Mainline has been running a London-Manchester service via Luton to take some pressure off Virgin. I'm not sure how much longer this will be running but their fares start from £10 return when booked well in advance.
The number one tip for cheap long-distance rail travel is to book six to eight weeks in advance (it's not possible to book any further ahead). Browsing TheTrainLine website shows all available fares to find the bargains.
Trains To and From Manchester
Manchester can be most easily accessed from other parts of Britain (especially the south of England around London) by train, which arrive almost constantly at Piccadilly Station, Manchester's ultra-modern main gateway.
Trains from London to Manchester usually take around two hours. Trains from the North of England and Scotland run around two to four hours, give or take because of delays. Contact National Rail for more information for trains.
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