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Rochdale could see new direct train route to London within four years

Credit: FirstGroup

Rochdale could see a new direct train route to London as soon as 2027.

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

The proposal are for six return journeys a day aiming to restore a direct Rochdale to London link via Manchester Victoria which last ran in the year 2000.

The trains will run from Rochdale to London Euston, calling at Manchester Victoria, Eccles, Newton-le-Willows and Warrington Bank Quay.

It is anticipated that services could begin in the 2027 calendar year.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer 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 modal shift from road to rail between the North West and London. We will be working closely with stakeholders as we build our application and our case for this new service.”

Daniel Meredith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing at Rochdale Council added: "A step in the right direction for rail users within Rochdale Borough. Rochdale is on the up, no matter how much certain people talk our town down.

"Our rail strategy, is key to delivering a green sustainable transport to residents across the Borough, improving housing options (not just for new residents but the existing community) and working with local businesses to build on our vibrant economy.

"Electrification and high-speed rail is essential for connecting our city hubs and surrounding towns."

A consultation period will now follow, as well as a discussion with Network Rail to secure the required approvals.

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