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Glasgow to Manchester

from £14.80
Here’s our guide to finding the best Glasgow to Manchester train fare and what you can expect on your journey.

Available train operators on this journey

  • Avanti West Coast
  • TransPennine Express
  • Northern

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What are my Glasgow to Manchester train options?

You have two options when it comes to taking a Glasgow to Manchester train trip. You can either take a direct TransPennine Express service, or you can take Avanti West Coast down to Preston and change for a Northern train. Let’s take a look at how long each option takes.

TransPennine Express

This is the easiest option for a Glasgow to Manchester train trip, though it isn’t the most frequent. There are only four direct trains on weekdays, four on Saturdays and two on Sundays (which might vary depending on engineering work). Trains run from Glasgow Central. This is the typical stopping pattern:

  • Motherwell*, Lockerbie, Carlisle, Penrith North Lakes, Oxenholme Lake District, Lancaster, Preston, Bolton (drop-off only), Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly.

After December 2023, most direct trains on weekends will cease to run. Instead, they’ll run to Preston where you’ll need to change.

The 04:52 service from Glasgow Central on Mondays to Saturdays doesn’t stop at Motherwell. The typical journey time on these trains is between 3h10m and 3h20m.

Here are the fares that you can expect to pay on the day:

    • Anytime Return - £149.80
    • Off-Peak Return - £95.50.

The Off-Peak Return is valid after 09:00 on weekdays. There aren’t any restrictions on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Avanti West Coast & Northern

This is the more frequent choice for a Glasgow to Manchester train trip. You’d need to take an Avanti West Coast service to Preston and then change for a Northern one. Occasionally, you might also change onto a TransPennine Express train.

The stopping patterns of trains can vary, but there’s usually at least one journey opportunity every hour. If you take this route, it’ll take roughly 3h20m to 3h30m. Here are the fares that you can expect to pay on the day:

    • Anytime Return - £149.80
    • Off Peak Return - £99.50.

The Anytime Return is the same fare as stated for TransPennine Express. The Off-Peak Return is valid after 04:15 on weekdays, so is effectively free of restrictions. The only restriction is that you can’t break your journey on the outward leg.

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

You can get the best Glasgow to Manchester train fare with Railsmartr. Let’s see what we can find a month in advance: 

glasgow to manchester train fares on railsmartr

In a nutshell, the direct train is the way to go as it’s significantly cheaper. The tricky part is knowing where to find it!

Here’s the weekday timetable through to May 2024. The weekend timetable is subject to change and will change from December 2023:

    • From Glasgow Central: 04:52, 09:06, 13:09, 17:07
    • From Manchester Picc: 04:57, 07:21, 09:21, 13:21.

What are the trains like?

Let’s go through the trains that run on the Glasgow to Manchester route and what their features are.

TransPennine Express

If you’re using TransPennine Express on your Glasgow to Manchester train trip, then you’re likely to have a Nova 2. They have five carriages and have seats in a 2+2 layout in Standard Class:

You’ll find a USB port and three-pin socket at every seat as well as free WiFi. There’s also a catering trolley on every train, with free refreshments if you’re in First Class. First Class seating is in a 2+1 layout.

Avanti West Coast

Taking an Avanti West Coast train? You’re likely to have a Pendolino train. They’re currently being refurbished and have either nine or 11 carriages. The refurbished ones have a power socket at every seat:

Meanwhile, Standard Premium and First Class have seats in a 2+1 layout. Wondering what the difference is? We’ve taken a trip to compare them.

Feeling peckish? There’s a shop in Coach C. If you’re in First Class, then you’ll get complimentary food and drink served at your seat.

As for seat comfort, we’d recommend the refurbished trains. They have more legroom, winged headrests and generally more space to stretch out.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your Glasgow to Manchester train tickets. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares!

Don’t forget that 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, too.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 13:00 03/10/2023. All information is issued in good faith. They’re subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.