Rochdale route proposal

We have submitted an application for a new rail route connecting Rochdale and London

FirstGroup has submitted the first phase of an application for a new open access rail service between Rochdale and London to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), restoring this direct link for the first time in almost a quarter of a century. 

Lumo launched in October 2021 and it has transformed long-distance connectivity between London and Edinburgh, supporting a growth in passenger numbers for all operators on the East Coast Mainline between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Discussions are currently underway to extend the existing service to and from Glasgow and the Rochdale service would be the company’s second route.

Lumo’s popularity and success has grown over the last two years, thanks to its low fare model and environmental credentials, and it has carried around two and a half million passengers since launch. Lumo offers a single class of travel with value-for-money fares providing a range of flexible choices; consistent Wi-Fi; and at-seat catering. In an independent survey released last month Lumo scored more than 96% customer satisfaction.

image of a Lumo train
what is the benefit?

FirstGroup’s proposal for six return journeys a day aims to restore a direct Rochdale to London link via Manchester Victoria which last ran in the year 2000. It is estimated that this new service would provide 1.6m people in the North West with a convenient and competitively priced direct rail service to London from stations that are more local to them, helping to stimulate a shift in transport mode from coach and car travel to rail.

the proposed route

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 fast-growing MediaCity area, via the nearby interchange with Metrolink and services to Newton-le-Willows will deliver greater rail connectivity for St Helens.

map of Rochdale route
Member of staff greeting a passenger
when could it be approved?

FirstGroup has submitted a formal application to the ORR. A consultation period will now follow, as well as discussion with Network Rail to secure the required approvals. It is anticipated that services could begin in the 2027 calendar year.