The Anonymous Widower

Rail Passengers Can Now Get From Farnworth To London In Two And A Half Hours

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on  This Is Lancashire.

It may seem to be a bit of a parochial story for those near Farnworth station in Greater Manchester, but it is a problem that sffects many rail passengers all over the UK.

From Farnworth, the quickest way to London, is not the obvious one to go to Manchester Piccadilly.

This may involve changes of trains and busy trains in the Manchester Rush Hour.

Locals find a better way, is to take a train the other way and catch a train from Wigan North Western., where the hardest thing is to decide, whether you want a coffee, as you walk across the platform to catch the London train.

The on-line timetable now has been fixed to offer this route in addition.

These computer-knows-best routes crop up everywhere.

If I want to get to Victoria station from the bus stop around the corner, the best way is to catch a 30 bus to Highbury & Isligton station. There is a walk through the everlasting road-works at the station and a long walk in a tunnel to get to the platform, but it works.

However, the recommended route is to take a 38 bus to Essex Road station and then go out of London, by one stop to Highbury & Islington station.

This route has three problems.

  • There is a double-crossing of busy roads at Essex Road station.
  • Essex Road station was last cleaned and given a makeover, when King George was on the throne.
  • The interchange at Highbury & Islington station is not for the unfit or anybody with a baggagge, bike or buggy

Only a computer working without human help, could design such a bad route.

As at Farnworth and with me in London, local knowledge is everything.

Sorting Out Manchester’s Routes

Northern Trains may have been thinking about passengers getting to the less busy stations.

They have introduced three new services that connect the West Coast Main Line and Greater Manchester.

  • Wigan North Western and Alderly Edge
  • Wigan North Western and Stalybridge
  • Chester and Leeds via Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Halifax and Bradford.

The latter route is an interesting one, as not only does it offer some good journey possibilities, but it is a scenic route through the Pennines.


August 5, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. the service from Alderley Edge is being extended to Southport from December. When I moved to Chester, trains on the Altrincham line carried on to Southport. When Altrincham-Man changed to tram, this was re-routed via Stockport and terminated at Piccadilly (which it still does). So the AE-Southport is a variant on the original Southport service, only from AE not Chester.

    Rail mileage calculators like use a shortest path algorithm to decide which route to take. As this is often not the quickest route, for cross-country journeys, booking engines like will often not show this shortest path.

    The new Chester-Leeds route is neither the shortest nor the quickest.

    Comment by Peter Robins | August 5, 2019 | Reply

    • I agree with you about the last point, but it seems to be attracting passengers and especially visitors. It fits with the pattern of providing extra services. The next one is updating the Hope Valley Line to get another train between Manchester and Sheffield in every hour.

      Comment by AnonW | August 5, 2019 | Reply

  2. I just had a look at this.
    1. The hourly service Stalybridge to Wigan NW takes half an hour and typically arrives about ten minutes after the hourly Glasgow to Euston service (under two hours) calls. There is an Edinburgh -> EUS service shortly after, but this is semi fast and takes three hours. There is a [concession] café / shop, so you might be able to get a sandwich and coffee at certain times, however there are also vending machines for snack and cold drinks 24/7.

    It is a cross platform transfer up, but via an underpass down.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | August 5, 2019 | Reply

    • I often use te Premier In in Wigan as it’s convenient. Wigan North Western Iis ready for HS2. It will do well from it!

      Comment by AnonW | August 5, 2019 | Reply

  3. Of course you could stay on the 38 bus which has Victoria Station as its destination!

    Alternatively you can use the 30 to Kings Cross St Pancras then Victoria Line to Victoria Station.

    Highbury and Islington suffered from the way the Victoria Line was built on a limited budget meaning escalators don’t go from street to platform and in fact escalators consist of two escalators and a middle fixed staircase a common feature on Victoria Line which needs replacing with a middle escalator.

    Comment by Melvyn | August 5, 2019 | Reply

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