Official! It Is Now Easier to Travel from Wigan to North Korea than to Dukinfield*

Why a Wigan travel company is offering an inclusive train tour from Wigan North Western to Pyongyang

A wee while back we looked at a 1976 Nationwide clip on Oldham MBC’s drive to promote Oldham as a tourist attraction. We looked at how you could spend a week in Oldham town centre and its surrounding area.

For some travellers, a week in Oldham – let alone Blackpool or Bournemouth – isn’t their idea of an esoteric breakaway. A week in Oldham is nothing on the esoteric destinations offered by Lupine Travel. From the Wigan-based tour operator you can travel to Chernobyl, the Pitcairn Islands, or Sierra Leone. If you are fed up with M.V. Coronia in Scarborough you could book a boat trip to Rockall – but the voyage is booked up till 2022.

Today, it was announced that Lupine Travel would be taking bookings for a train tour to North Korea – from Wigan North Western station. Departing on the 28 April 2020, the all-inclusive tour will set you back £3,195. It will return to Wigan on the 24 May 2020 – almost a month’s worth of hardcore train travel.

This would include travel on the West Coast Main Line down to Euston, then a transfer to St. Pancras International for a Eurostar train. After crossing Mainland Europe via Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw, passengers will get to Moscow. From there they will take in the Trans-Siberian Railway to Irkutsk and the Trans-Mongolian Railway to Ulaanbaatar and Beijing before reaching Pyongyang.

Due to its leader Kim Jong-Un and way of life, North Korea has continued to fascinate and exasperate people in equal measure. The country – dubbed by many as being the last bastion of Communism – has a state-run command and control economy. Its Juche ideology is a mix of Soviet style communism and personal self-reliance. Though much has been written and said about the country’s human rights and isolationism, it remains a Holy Grail for Alan Whicker and Judith Chalmers wannabes.

Some people have said the timing of their tour to April Fools’ Day seems too good to be true. Perhaps it is the offer of Vimto and a pie barm from Galloways which may have rang alarm bells. Contrary to popular belief, Lupine Travel have ran several tours to North Korea in their time. Still not sure? Their North Korean tour page has a list of forthcoming departures, though prices are based on departures from Dandong and Beijing.

It is also worth noting that Brussels is two trains away from Wigan North Western. On a System One AnyBus Day Saver you need to change at Leigh for a V1 to Manchester, which takes almost as long as a train journey to London Euston. Wigan to Dukinfield by bus means four buses – including a 216 or 219 from Manchester to Ashton before you pick any Dukinfield bound bus. Four trains away on Lupine Travel’s tour is Warsaw.

Would you take a trip from Wigan to North Korea? Feel free to comment.

S.V., 23 May 2019.

Puhung station image by John Pavelka, 2010 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License).

* On public transport**.

** Actually we were telling porkies; a trip from Wigan North Western to Dukinfield means a train to Ashton-under-Lyne then a 41, 330, 335, 345, 346, or 389 bus to Dukinfield. Please note that Northern’s service from Wigan to Stalybridge (for Ashton) is often singled out for Sunday’s planned cancellations.

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