High-speed electric train linking Rochdale and London could be on track for 2027

Date published: 17 May 2024

Plans have been unveiled for a new, high-speed electric train service connecting Rochdale to London by 2027.

This innovative project, led by FirstGroup, aims to revolutionise travel between these two places with six return journeys daily. 

The proposed route will include key stops at Manchester Victoria, Eccles, Newton-le-Willows, and Warrington Bank Quay, making it highly accessible for passengers from various locations.

If these ambitious plans receive approval, it will mark the first direct train service from Rochdale to London in over two decades, since the year 2000. This development promises to significantly enhance travel options for residents and visitors alike.

The new train service will feature state-of-the-art trains that are both electrically powered and equipped with advanced battery technology.

Scheduled to commence in 2027, this service would cater to the transportation needs of approximately 1.6 million people in the region. 

FirstGroup emphasises that the new rail link will provide a competitive pricing structure, making it an attractive option for both regular commuters and occasional travellers.

Overall, this forthcoming train service promises to not only reconnect Rochdale with the nation's capital but also to set new standards in eco-friendly and efficient rail travel.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, Graham Sutherland said “We have extensive experience of running open access rail operations and we want to bring our successful Lumo service to this new route that connects Rochdale and London. 

“We have seen the level of growth and opportunity that is possible with open access, as well as the positive effect it has on the wider market, including economic and environmental benefits. In addition, the new service will help to drive a modal shift from road to rail between the North West and London. 

He added: “We will be working closely with stakeholders as we build our application and our case for this new service.”

A formal application has been submitted to the Office of Rail and Road. A consultation period will 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.

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