Manchester trains

With six train companies operating in and out of Manchester, the options can be confusing. The best way to cope is to think of train stations as airports, and the various carriers as different airlines, each with their own benefits and shortfalls.

Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva provides a service to Manchester Airport as well as connections to stations throughout Wales and along the border. All trains are fully accessible for the disabled and provide in-seat catering.

Cross Country Trains
Cross Country Trains run an extensive network all over the UK, stretching as far north as Aberdeen in eastern Scotland to as far south as Penzance at the southwestern tip of Cornwall, and serves all the major cities outside of London. All trains are fully accessible for the disabled and provide in-seat catering. First Class is available.

East Midlands Trains Ltd
East Midlands Trains Ltd serves most of the large cities in central England, including Sheffield, Liverpool and London. All trains are fully accessible for the disabled and provide in-seat catering.

Northern
Northern Rail serves a population of around 15 million in the north of England, from Newcastle in the north to Nottingham in the south, and from Liverpool in the west to Lincoln in the east. Almost every town in northern England is served by this provider, and may be the choice you need to explore Manchester’s surroundings. Prices are reasonable.

First TransPennine Express (FTPE)
FTPE connects Liverpool and Manchester with the northeast coast of England, and up to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. Fully accessible trains, first-class option and power points at the seats. Of particular convenience are the trains to Leeds on the other side of the Pennines, which run four every hour.

Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains offer mainline services to cities such as London, Birmingham Airport, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. Their main push is service and convenience, with power points at seated tables in standard class and all seats in first. Wifi through T-mobile is free in first and pay-as-you-go in standard; 10GBP for 24 hours is not a bad deal. Food tends to be of a better quality than other providers. Both buffet car and in-seat catering are available. First class lounges at train stations are a nice touch, but a trifle unnecessary unless long delays are in the offing.

Dragon Eyes boat Mekong