Last weekend, I went walking around Capel Curig. To get there, I went by train to Dolwyddelan before walking over Carnedd Moel Siabod to where I was staying on Saturday night. Because I was travelling back of a Sunday, there were no trains running on the Conwy Valley railway line so it was a matter of catching the X84 from Betws-y-Coed after walking there from Capel Curig. The service accepts train tickets so there’s no more to be paid when you are in possession of one.
That meant finding the bus stop that is called “Platform 2” in the car park near Betws-y-Coed’s train station and its National Park centre. The choice of name does make you wonder if someone has been using their sense of humour but it seems to be the main hub from which you can catch any of the buses serving the village. It was the 12:20 that I wanted and it turned up on time but the bus could have done with being bigger.
With the summery sunny weather, Arriva should have sent something more than a short wheelbase Dennis Dart but that’s what came and it was well full too, not ideal when you are carrying a hefty rucksack around with you. In fact, it became even cosier at Betws-y-Coed before it set off and stayed that way until it reached Llandudno Junction where most of the passengers, myself included, disembarked. Mercifully, some got off in Llanrwst, leaving space for the others who came on board, and there were no more coming on after that.
Hopefully, drivers of the X84 will get bigger buses for the route as the year wears on and that the May change in the rail timetable brings Sunday trains to the Conwy Valley again, at least for the summer season. After all, Betws-y-Coed is a popular spot and many continue to Blaenau Ffestiniog for the Ffestiniog Railway. As it stands, using undersized buses will encourage people to bring their cars in the belief that public transport is inadequate and the Snowdon Sherpa network needs all the patronage that it can get.