The two major cities of Manchester and Preston have maintained a strong rail link that sees an average of four trains pass between them on an hourly basis. Most of the services take less than one hour; TransPennine Express operates the majority of services from Manchester Piccadilly, Northern Rail operates those leaving Manchester Victoria. The first train of each day leaves Manchester Piccadilly at 5:00 a.m. with regular services operating between the stations until the final train leaves Manchester Piccadilly each night just after 12:00 a.m.
Manchester has grown since the 1990s to be a main contender for the title of the second city of the UK, with a large amount of regeneration in the city centre and surrounding districts. Alongside the museums, galleries and shopping options, the abundant nightlife in the Fallowfield and Salford Quays areas attracts visitors from around the UK.
Preston has a long history linked to the Industrial Revolution, which sees a large number of Victorian buildings regenerated as shops, bars and restaurants within its thriving city centre.