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Q: Towns in the UK where you could commute daily to either London or Manchester ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Towns in the UK where you could commute daily to either London or Manchester
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ajtaz-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 19 Jun 2006 05:30 PDT
Expires: 19 Jul 2006 05:30 PDT
Question ID: 739302
I am considering taking a job in London and my partner works in
Manchester. We would like to live somewhere where we could both catch
the train to work everyday.

Please provide a list of towns in the UK where this might be possible
and the train travel times. (A good resource might be An acceptable travel time would be under 90mins
one way in either direction.

Request for Question Clarification by eiffel-ga on 19 Jun 2006 07:54 PDT
Hi ajtaz-ga,

Are you happy with a 90 minute commute to a London terminus, or does
there need to be a time allowance for tube connections too?

There are probably a lot of possibilities. Would you accept a
representative sample, or would you prefer to narrow it down a little
(e.g. by size of town)?


Clarification of Question by ajtaz-ga on 23 Jun 2006 07:45 PDT
Slight ammendment (hopefully this will cut down the options).

Please amend to one hour commute to London (ignore tube connection times).

Representative sample is OK.
Subject: Re: Towns in the UK where you could commute daily to either London or Manchester
Answered By: eiffel-ga on 01 Jul 2006 14:02 PDT
Hi ajtaz-ga,

I found that your question was not as straightforward as I thought it was at first.

For much of the day there is an hourly service from London Euston to
Manchester Piccadilly that takes 2h11m, and there are other services
that take around 2h19m. In the other direction the corresponding times
are 2h13m and 2h23m. In theory, therefore, one just needs to live
somewhere along this line, just on the London side of midway.

The catch is that most of the fastest trains don't stop much in the
middle of the journey. They mostly stop at Stockport, Macclesfield and
Stoke-on-Trent (near Manchester), plus Milton Keynes (near London).

Therefore, we also need to consider services between London and
Holyhead, Liverpool and Preston (because they serve some stations
towards the London end of the London-Manchester route) plus services
between Manchester and Bournemouth/Brighton (because they serve some
stations towards the Manchester end of the route). Closer to London,
e.g. from Milton Keynes, there are also useful shorter-distance

We could also consider Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry. These
are accessible from London by the Wolverhampton services and from
Manchester by the Bournemouth/Brighton services.

Taking all of this into account yields the following possibilities
(fastest morning times shown):

to Lon  to Man  total   From
0h18m   2h04m   2h22m   Watford Junction
0h38m   1h48m   2h26m   Milton Keynes Central
0h48m   2h14m   3h02m   Northampton
0h54m   2h01m   2h55m   Rugby
1h08m   1h41m   2h49m   Nuneaton
1h21m   1h13m   2h34m   Tamworth
1h19m   1h58m   3h17m   Lichfield Trent Valley
1h25m   1h05m   2h30m   Stafford
1h47m   0h47m   2h34m   Crewe
1h42m   0h44m   2h26m   Stoke-on-Trent
2h02m   0h32m   2h34m   Congleton
2h01m   0h23m   2h24m   Macclesfield
1h56m   0h13m   2h09m   Stockport

1h52m   1h17m   3h09m   Wolverhampton
1h21m   1h35m   2h56m   Birmingham New Street
1h10m   1h49m   2h59m   Birmingham International
1h04m   2h00m   3h04m   Coventry

Nuneaton, Tamworth and Stafford come closest to meeting your target of
one hour to London and 90 minutes to Manchester, but none of them
meets the target for both of you. Tamworth and Stafford meet your
original criteria of 90 minutes each.

The shortest total travel times are for stations near either end
(because the fastest express trains stop at those): Stockport,
Macclesfield, Milton Keynes and Watford Junction - but those stations
give one of you a disproportionately long travel time. There's a catch
waiting here though - although you can travel from Milton Keynes to
Manchester in 1h48m, if you travel at the wrong time of day this
journey could take over three hours and involve three changes of
train! That's because only a few of the fast trains to Manchester stop
there. I also found variations in many of the other travel times
according to time of day, but these were usually less than the
variation for Milton Keynes.

Another factor to consider is the cost of travel. Tickets for services
that arrive in London during the morning peak are particularly
expensive. If all else is equal, it will probably be cheaper for the
longer commute to be the one towards Manchester and the shorter
commute towards London.

I hope you find this information useful to help make your decisions.

In addition to the online timetable at
I also made heavy use of the PDF formats of the Virgin Trains printed
timetables, which can be found here:
These timetables make it possible to see just why there are big
variations in travel time at certain times of the day, and to
understand the "big picture" of the travel time patterns.

Please request clarification if I can be of further assistance.

Subject: Re: Towns in the UK where you could commute daily to either London or Manchester
From: owain-ga on 27 Jun 2006 09:48 PDT
Given the direct train journey from London to Manchester is 2.5 hours
it is going to be difficult finding one location within an hour of
both. Stoke-on-Trent is 1h30 from Euston and 1h from Manchester Picc.

You can see all departures from S-on-T at 

Coventry and Birmingham are both about 1 hr from Euston but 3h to
Manchester (unless there are faster trains)

Wolverhampton is 2h to Euston and 1h12 to Manchester.


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