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Northern Trains runs a wide variety of rail services across the North of England. They're one of the biggest rail operators in Great Britain.

You’ll find Northern Trains all over the North of England. They run services as far north as Northumberland, and as far south as Crewe and Nottingham. They have a fleet of 345 trains and serve 474 stations.

Northern Trains is usually the ‘slowest’ operator on the routes that they share with other companies. This means that it’s very common for them to offer cheap ‘Advance‘ tickets for their trains right up to the very last minute.

You’ll find this on routes such as Sheffield to Manchester, York to Leeds and Leeds to Manchester. Here’s an example of travelling from York to Manchester a week in advance:

Put simply, it’s always worth looking out for a bargain on the Railsmartr site, even if it’s a matter of minutes before your train leaves. Just make sure you have your ticket before you board!

On board services


Northern has an extremely diverse fleet of trains. At a minimum, they all have overhead luggage space. Many trains in their fleet also have larger luggage stacks at the carriage ends.

Food & Drink

You won’t find any catering on Northern services. Make sure you visit a shop before you board!


All Northern services have free WiFi on board.


It’s possible to bring a non-folding bike on a Northern train without any time restrictions. Just remember that it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

Northern Trains operate a diverse fleet of trains, so we couldn’t possibly go through them all. Their newest trains are the Class 195 (diesel) and Class 331 (electric). They both look very similar, and run on short and medium-distance routes around Yorkshire and the North West.

On most medium and long-distance routes, you’ll find a variation of the ‘Sprinter‘ family of trains.

As part of their ‘digital’ modifications, all trains have been fitted with free WiFi. Most of them also have USB ports for charging devices.

Can I upgrade to First Class?

Northern Trains do not have any First Class sections on their trains. Some trains (such as those which run from Sheffield to Scarborough) have small compartments with bigger seats, which were previously First Class. You’re free to sit in them with a Standard Class ticket.

Information about routes

It’s impossible to list everywhere that they go, but here are some of their key routes:

  • Newcastle – Carlisle
  • Carlisle – Barrow-in-Furness (Cumbrian Coast Line)
  • Carlisle – Leeds (Settle & Carlisle Line)
  • Barrow-in-Furness/Windermere – Manchester Airport
  • Blackpool North – Manchester Airport
  • York – Blackpool North
  • Sheffield – Scarborough (Yorkshire Coast Line)
  • York – Hull
  • Leeds – Sheffield
  • Leeds – Chester (via Manchester Victoria)
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Manchester Airport
  • Sheffield – Manchester Piccadilly (Hope Valley Line).