Low-cost train operator Lumo has applied for permission to run services between Manchester and London, adding to its existing Edinburgh to London services. It is also in talks to run services to Glasgow.

(c) Lumo

FirstGroup, which owns Lumo, says that it plans to offer six return journeys a day, restoring the direct Rochdale to London link via Manchester, which last ran in 2000.

The trains will run from Rochdale to London Euston, calling at Manchester Victoria, Eccles, Newton-le-Willows and Warrington Bank Quay. The station at Eccles provides connectivity for other parts of the City of Salford, including the MediaCity area, via the nearby interchange with Metrolink and services to Newton-le-Willows will deliver greater rail connectivity for St Helens.

It is estimated that this new service would provide 1.6m people in the North West with a direct rail service to London from more local stations.

Lumo launched in October 2021 between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh on the East Coast Mainline, and discussions are underway to extend the existing service to and from Glasgow. If approved, the Rochdale service would be Lumo’s second route.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, Graham Sutherland said “We have extensive experience of running open access rail operations and we want to bring our successful Lumo service to this new route that connects Rochdale and London. We have seen the level of growth and opportunity that is possible with open access, as well as the positive effect it has on the wider market, including economic and environmental benefits. In addition, the new service will help to drive modal shift from road to rail between the North West and London. We will be working closely with stakeholders as we build our application and our case for this new service.”

FirstGroup has submitted a formal application to the rail regulator.

If approved, then it’s anticipated that services could begin in the 2027 calendar year.


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  1. TRT68 says:

    They”l have to call it The Eccleston Line.

  2. Paul says:

    This is a strong move; Lumo clearly know what they’re doing.
    Media City to London is a busy market and the Eccles stop will be an attractive option for it. On current timings, a direct train via Warrington to Euston will match the journey time with Avanti from Piccadilly, with the tram leg from MediaCity taking half the time.

  3. Steve Bater says:

    Lumo seems to be doing very well and charging fares much lower than the main rail companies. Would be good if Lumo took over from the dreadful Avanti. Lumo are giving the service the public wants, rather than Avanti giving the service the public doesn’t want.

  4. Darren says:

    They should add Crewe in to the stations that they call at!

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