In order to head West, trains from Sheffield have first to head south through Dore, then through the Totley tunnel and the Hope Valley. They then continue to Manchester, terminating either at Manchester Airport or going through to Liverpool.
The stopping train to Manchester via the Hope Valley is very useful for cyclists who are heading to and from the Peak District.
Cycle Carriage info: based on typical daytime service. Times and platforms may vary, contact National Rail for updates.
xx:11 Manchester Airport Trans-Pennine Express. Generally very busy 3 OR 6-Car trains, 2 bikes per 3-car train unit, you must reserve up to 10 minutes in advance. The bike spaces are in the centre of each unit – look for the flexible space next to the disabled toilet, there should be a bike symbol by the door as well.
xx:14 Manchester Piccadilly via New Mills Central and the Hope Valley. Your lifeline to the Peak District National Park and the wide-open spaces. Access NCN6 at Hope, or the Pennine Cycleway at New Mills, or NCN55 at Romiley, heading south to Macclesfield and beyond. Northern stopping train, 2 Bikes per train non-reservable but can be flexible at off-peak times. You can also board this train at Dore. Avoid the peak-hour trains if you have a bike, but off-peak trains are usually OK. Busy on Summer Saturday and Sundays. Normally leaves from Platform 2c but sometimes from 7 or 8 – in both cases these are a bit of a trek from the concourse so leave yourself enough time to get over the bridge – and remember the early cyclist gets the bike space! The 19:14 service also becomes the Folk Train once a month which can be very busy. Update Feb 2019: Many services on this line are now using refurbished Class 150’s which have retained the combined luggage and bike rack.
xx:42 Liverpool Lime Street. East Midlands Trains. Mostly a four-car train with 2 bike spaces in the middle of each two-car unit. Reservations are compulsory on these services.
A journey a lot of people seem to make is to Ormskirk, to visit Edge Hill University. If you look it up on the Journey Planner you will be routed via Preston or Liverpool, with the journey taking 3 hours. However, if you take a bike you can go to Burscough taking just over 2 hours, and either transfer to Burscough Junction for a 7 minute journey to Ormskirk, or just cycle it, taking about half an hour.