Vikings ride the rails for reconnaissance trip to Manchester

JORVIK Viking Festival partners with train operator, First TransPennine Express to bring Viking warriors to the tracks

Those looking out for Viking invaders would traditionally look towards the coast, but today, a scouting party arrived in Manchester not by sea, but by rail, as a group of Norse warriors from the JORVIK Viking Festival relied upon the train as the quickest way to reach the North West for their reconnaissance mission!

Travelling by First TransPennine Express from York to Manchester the trio of travellers marked their presence on the city in true Viking style, greeting the local people and exploring key landmarks, searching out any Saxon military presence which could potentially cause a threat, before discretely returning to Piccadilly Station for the return journey.

“We get a lot of people from the North West ‘invading’ York during the JORVIK Viking Festival, so we wanted to check out the kind of warriors we could expect to see wandering around our city. Unfortunately, travelling by longship would be rather a lengthy affair, requiring us to either sail around Scotland or right down to the South Coast, so we figured it would be much quicker to use the modern train for our trip,” comments Fastulf, one of the Viking scouts. “Traversing the country in little over an hour was a revelation – just imagine what our forefathers could have achieved if they’d had this kind of transport network in the 10th century!”

“Luckily for the crew on the trains, we had prewarned them that the Vikings would be travelling with us, so the site of the Norse warriors trying to slot their swords and huge wooden shields into the luggage racks was not totally unexpected!” comments Billy Vickers, Area Customer Service Manager for First Transpennine Express. “To be fair, we often have Manchester-based Viking re-enactors taking the train over to York for the JORVIK Viking Festival, so we have become accustomed to welcoming warriors aboard!”

The Viking visit came as part of First TransPennine Express’ sponsorship of this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival, which incorporates discount offers for train travellers when the festival takes place in York from 14 to 22 February 2015. “There’s so much to see and do around York throughout the Festival, that we advise travellers to save their legs and travel by train,” adds Billy. “The train station in York is right at the heart of the city and only a few minutes’ walk away from where many of the activities will take place. Plus with return trains running late into the evening, visitors can enjoy a glass of mead or ale whilst enjoying the festivities, safely knowing that they don’t have to drive, row or sail home!”

Ticket holders for First TransPennine Express services will receive 10%-off selected events when they arrive at the Festival, including the Legendary Combat Arena and Festival Walking Tours (Mon 16 to Fri 20 Feb) or Have-a-Go Sword Fighting for Children (Mon 16 to Sun 22 Feb). The Festival also includes many free events, including encampments in the city centre with a Viking steading (farm) and a parade through the city streets on Saturday 21 February. Other highlights include a Viking Wedding Feast on 14 February – an ideal alternative Valentine’s treat – Viking Strongman Competition, and the evening firey finale event on Saturday 21 February, when the battle that led to the rise of the Norse Gods is recreated at the Eye of York. For more details, please visit

Train tickets and discounted event tickets can be booked online at


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698