Greater Manchester trains
County advice overview
Greater Manchester is served by local and national rail routes with frequent train services to London, as well as other destinations such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Cumbria and York. Accessible Metrolink trams also operate across eight lines in the Greater Manchester area.
A Greater Manchester network map can be found on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) website.
You can check access information at individual stations on the National Rail website. Just type the name of your station (or 3 letter code if you know it).
When planning a journey by rail, you may wish to consider booking passenger assistance in advance, if you:
- require help getting on and off trains.
- use a wheelchair – on most trains you will need a boarding ramp and to reserve a wheelchair space.
- use a mobility scooter – some train companies have restrictions and many require permits to travel.
- have a visual impairment and need guidance at the station or help getting on and off the train
- have difficulty walking long distances – some stations have wheelchairs or electric buggies which you can borrow.
By booking your journey in advance, National Rail and the train company can make it as easy as possible for you to travel. They can make arrangements if the station is not step-free or usually not staffed at the time.
Operators in Greater Manchester include:
Avanti West Coast
Regular, direct services to London, Crewe, Milton Keynes, Stockport, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Watford, Tamworth, Lichfield.
Regular, direct services around the country. The operator also provides Heritage railways.
Regular, direct services cover Blackpool, Chester, York, Carlisle, Cumbria and The Lakes, Harrogate, Hull, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool and many more.
Operating across Greater Manchester, Metrolink is the UK’s largest light rail network, with approximately 99 stops across eight lines.
Help with cost
A Senior Railcard is available to people over 60 and costs £30 for a year or £70 for three years. It gives a discount of 1/3 off rail journeys.
The Disabled Person’s Railcard
The Disabled Person’s Railcard costs £20 for a year and £54 for three years. It will entitle you to a saving of 1/3 off rail journeys.
You are eligible for the Disabled Person’s Railcard if you:
- receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
- receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either: the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or the higher or middle rate for the care component
- have a visual impairment
- have a hearing impairment
- have epilepsy
- receive Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance
- receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- receive War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability
- buy or lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme
If you are planning on travelling on National Rail services, you can request an assistance booking in advance – now up to 2 hours before your journey is due to start, any time of the day.
Passenger Assist is a national system used by all train companies, which allows them to make the necessary arrangements for your journey.
Passenger Assist includes:
- offering a helping hand to navigate the station
- support when boarding the train
- meeting you from your train and taking you to your next train or the exit
- arranging a ramp on or off your train
- assistance relating to a non-visible impairment
- carrying your bag(s) – up to three items of luggage as per the National Rail Conditions of Travel
How it works
If you have a disability, non-visible disability, or are elderly, you can pre-book journey assistance to make sure you get all the help you need for your journey, including changes, and connections that involve other train companies.
You can also “turn up and go” without booking assistance in advance. If you require assistance at short notice, make yourself known to a member of staff or use a Help Point when you arrive at the station.
You can request assistance either via the train company you are travelling with or nationally through National Rail.
Book Passenger Assistance via National Rail
Contact: 0800 022 3720 or text 60083
Lines are open 24 hours a day.
You can also book via a new app which allows you to request assistance using a smartphone. You receive a confirmation email once your request has been checked and confirmed. Passenger Assistance by Transreport page.
Book Passenger Assistance via individual train companies
Avanti West Coast
Contact: 0345 528 0253
Contact: 0800 030 9224
Contact: 0800 138 5560
Travelling with mobility equipment
Train operators in Greater Manchester can carry manual or powered wheelchairs up to a maximum size of 700mm wide by 1200mm long and not exceeding a weight of 300kg including the passenger.
As there are a limited number of spaces available to wheelchair users on each train, it is important that you book your space in advance.
However, the rules for scooters are different for each operator. If you are making a connection to an onward service with another operator, remember to check if you will need a permit for the connecting train.
Avanti West Coast
All trains have dedicated spaces for wheelchair and mobility scooter users. These spaces are next to an entrance door and near to an accessible toilet and the on-board services team.
When travelling with a mobility scooter, this must be folded and stowed in the luggage compartment.
You will need to apply for a scooter “Rail Ready” permit. If your scooter meets with the requirements, you will be sent a personalised card and a sticker that must be displayed on your scooter, where possible, before you travel with Northern. Further information on travelling with your scooter and how to apply for a permit, can be found using this link.
All Metrolink trams and tram stops are accessible for wheelchair users. All tram stops have a ramp, lift, or escalator and step-free access for wheelchair-users. For further information, you can download a Metrolink Access Guide.
Mobility scooter users must have a permit to take their scooter on a Metrolink tram.
Users must complete a competency test with ShopMobility Manchester.
Contact: 0161 791 1494
Assistance dogs are welcomed on trains, free of charge, and can travel in any part of the train.
Routes and timetable links
You can check train times, ticket prices and routes at a number of different websites, such as:
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
In addition to finding train timetables and buying your ticket, the Trainline website will give you information on live train times, including real-time journey and platform information with live train tracking. You can also check which trains are faster, and which stations they are stopping at.
You can plan local or long-distance journeys by bus, coach or train and check timetables with Traveline.
Traveline is a public transport information and journey planning service and is a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups which have come together to bring you routes and times for all travel in Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry and to provide it in as many different ways as possible.
You can use Traveline to plan your journey and find timetables, before you travel or during your journey. Contact Traveline: 0871 200 22 33
Any advice or information given by the Hubs Mobility Advice Service is impartial and correct at the time it is provided. However, as operators may change their services or equipment prior to your journey or booking, you are strongly advised to check any details directly with them shortly before you expect to travel.