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Birmingham to Manchester

from £15.60
Looking to see all that Manchester has to offer? Get there on a budget with Railsmartr.

Available train operators on this journey

  • CrossCountry

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What are my Birmingham to Manchester train options?

Looking for a getaway to Manchester, a world-renowned destination? We've got you covered. Here's our guide to getting a better price on your Birmingham to Manchester train journey and what you can expect when you travel.

In terms of a direct Birmingham to Manchester train, there's just one operator, which is CrossCountry. They run two trains every hour, stopping at Wolverhampton, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport on the way. These trains take between 1h25m and 1h35m to complete the trip. Let's take a look at the fares that you can expect to pay on the day:

  • Anytime Return - £104.90
  • Off-Peak Return - £46.00.

The Off-Peak Return is valid after 09:30 on weekdays in both directions. There aren't any restrictions on weekends or Bank Holidays.

There are some additional Birmingham to Manchester journey opportunities that you might find to be more affordable at certain times of the day. This usually involves taking London Northwestern Railway or Avanti West Coast up to Crewe followed by Transport for Wales to Manchester. Let's take a look in more detail.

How do I get the best Birmingham to Manchester train fare?

At Railsmartr, we'll find the best Birmingham to Manchester train fare. This is one journey where split ticketing can be very useful. So, why is that? Put simply, the 'through' Advance fares for Birmingham to Manchester train services (a 'through' fare means buying one ticket from A to B) can be quite high at certain times of the day - and you can still make savings no matter what time of day it is!     

Let's take a look at what we get if we book a week in advance for travel in the morning peak: 

birmingham to manchester train fares in morning peak on railsmartr site

As you can see, there are a mix of fares available. It's cheaper to use split tickets on the trains on the hour, while Avanti West Coast and Transport for Wales also have a cheaper alternative available. So, how much do you save with split ticketing? 

split ticket saving for birmingham to manchester train journey on railsmartr

In the case of the 07:01 train, you can save £11.60, which is just under a third of the original fare. You can't argue with that! The savings are a little smaller on Off-Peak trains (between £3.00 and £5.00) but in all cases, it's still cheaper to split: 

split tickets on off peak birmingham to manchester trains on railsmartr site

Our top tip is to look for the Birmingham to Manchester trains that leave at half past the hour - as they appear to offer the best value for money. £12.30 for Birmingham to Manchester a week ahead isn't too shabby! 

What are the trains like?

Taking the direct Birmingham to Manchester train? Then you can expect to travel on a Voyager or Super Voyager. They have four or five carriages, but they're often paired up to make an eight or nine-carriage service. In Standard Class, the seats are in a 2+2 layout:

interior of crosscountry birmingham to bristol train

If you're travelling with a lot of luggage, you should bear in mind that the overhead racks are extremely small. So, anything larger than a backpack will need to go in the stacks at the carriage ends. There's a large compartment for luggage in Coach D. Typically, you'll only find two tables per carriage as well, except in Coach B, where you'll find four.

Another thing to remember is that the windows on these trains have a film on them that makes receiving phone and data signals quite challenging. On many sections of the journey, you might find it difficult to do anything other than light browsing. In terms of power sockets, you'll find one at every window seat. Don't have a seat reservation? The unreserved carriage is Coach F. If your train has five carriages, then Coach is unreserved, too.

It's possible to travel in First Class on these trains. You'll find seating in a 2+1 layout as well as light snacks and refreshments. Don't expect anything too substantial, though. Our top tip is that it's worth asking exactly what's available on board, as we had to specifically ask for a bacon roll in the morning when we sampled the service.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your Birmingham to Manchester train journey. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t. Don't forget that we've got split ticketing, too!

We don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free.

All information on this page is issued without liability and was correct at the time of writing (22/02/24). All fares are for ONE adult without Railcard discount. Railsmartr is not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.