Crossing Boundaries

Some bus services journey from one home nation to another. The list began with crossings between England and Wales but those between England and Scotland are gaining representation now. More may join what’s here yet.

Between England & Wales

1: Wrexham – Chester

This service goes to show that Arriva does expand in some places with Sunday frequency having become half-hourly for much of the day rather than hourly all day as it was before. The story gets even better on weekdays with up to five services an hour. Trains are hourly if you are lucky so I suppose that’s what helps a bus service to succeed like this one seems to have done.

1 Timetable

2: Wrexham – Ruabon – Plas Madoc – Acrefair – Chirk – Gobowen – Oswestry
2A: Wrexham – Ruabon – Plas Madoc – Acrefair – Chirk – Weston Rhyn – Oswestry
2C: Wrexham – Ruabon – Cefn Mawr
5: Wrexham – Ruabon – Trevor – Froncysyllte – Lllangollen

Routes 2, 2A and 2C are Arriva Monday to Saturday daytime routes that offer a frequency of up to four buses per hour with two of these extending all of the way to Oswestry. For Sundays and bank holidays, it is the seven day service 5 that plies a similar route to give some semblance of a week round service, albeit with Oswestry and Chirk left out.

2 Timetable
2A Timetable
2C Timetable
5 Timetable (Arriva)
5 Timetable (D. Jones & Son)

39: Hay-on-Wye – Kingstone – Hereford
39A: Brecon – Talgarth – Hay-on-Wye – Kingstone – Hereford

39B: Brecon – Talgarth – Hay-on-Wye

Of these, the 39 covers the Monday to Saturday service between Hereford and Hay-on-Wye and the 39A does the same on Sundays and public holidays. The 39B is the Monday to Saturday extension between Hay-on-Wye and Brecon. The Monday to Friday service frequency is around seven trips in one direction and nine in the other. There are five to six trips each way on Saturdays and three each way journeys on Sundays and public holidays.

39 towards Hereford
39 towards Hay-on-Wye
39B towards Hay-on-Wye
39B towards Brecon
39A towards Hereford
39A towards Hay-on-Wye

41: Newtown – Knighton – Presteigne – Kington

This service just about edges over the English border into Herefordshire and I almost thought of it as wholly Welsh. Realising my error, the Monday to Saturday service finds its way onto this list instead. The Knucklas to Presteigne portion of the route sees the most service with the extension to Kington coming next. Otherwise, there is less regularity than the up to hourly frequency southeast of Knucklas for services extending north of there with Newtown only having a twice daily one on schooldays. Places between Felindre and Knucklas do better with what is one of the more eccentric bus timetables on offer. It’s one of those where watching your time of year as well as time of day is in order. Connections for Llandrindod Wells and Hereford are available from Kington but the late afternoon finish typical of the service needs remembering or a taxi ride could be needed.

41 towards Kington
41 towards Newtown

409: Aberystwyth – Newtown – Welshpool – Shrewsbury – Birmingham – London

Being a National Express coach service, this is a limited stop affair though it does a useful thing in passing through the heart of Wales. The one journey each way everyday connects lesser known places like Ponterwyd, Llangurig and Llanidloes with larger spots across Wales and England. Anything that has a use in getting outside visitors to and from a quieter part of Wales has to be good.

409 Timetable

461: Llandrindod Wells – New Radnor – Kington – Hereford

Kington is another of those border towns on the course of Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail so here’s a way to get there by public transport. It’s a Monday to Saturday service like many in Herefordshire and Powys but there’s a largely hourly frequency too. On the English side of the border, a very generous slice of the day sees service too and that crosses into the early minutes of Sunday morning too on the last Saturday journey from Hereford to Kington. In some contrast, the Welsh side sees coverage from early morning to early evening and doesn’t enjoy those later services offered in Herefordshire.

461 towards Hereford
461 towards Llandrindod Wells

740: Knighton – Leintwardine – Ludlow

It is Knighton’s position on Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail that makes the place of interest but Ludlow’s not an unpretty spot either and it is one Simon Jenkins’ best views in England too. This bus service is a Monday to Friday operation with three journeys towards Ludlow and four towards Knighton. Looking at the timetable may lure you into thinking there are more than these because of a number of deviations that are Thursday only for some reason. On all days of the week, the service timings are useful too and compare well with the eccentricities of those on the Heart of Wales line.

740 towards Ludlow
740 towards Knighton

X75: Rhayader – Llanidloes – Newtown – Welshpool – Shrewsbury

This Monday to Saturday service offers a handy if not so fast way to get from Shrewsbury into the heart of Wales. Rhayader only sees two journeys each way a day though and one of those begins in Llandrindod Wells as the X47. A change in Llangurig will increase the travel options though. Llanidloes is served too and the Cambrian railway line appears to be shadowed between Caersws and Shrewsbury with Newtown and Welshpool also being ports of call. Usefully, the service frequency largely is two hourly with much of the day between 06:00 and 20:00 being covered.

X75 towards Shrewsbury
X75 towards Llanidloes

Between England & Scotland

60: Galashiels – Melrose – Duns – Berwick-upon-Tweed – Tweedmouth

There has been only one occasion when I made use of this service and that was to return from Galashiels to Berwick-upon-Tweed after a weekend spent in the Scottish Borders that had me going around via the East Coast Mainline by rail. The quietness of the areas that it serves was marked compared to the relatively busier places that the equivalent 67 passes on its route. Then, the operator was First but the bus was smart and clean and wasn’t unused either. Nowadays, it is in the hands of Perrymans and the frequency is largely two-hourly on all days of the week and seems to shadow service 67 to provide cross-border bus connections nearly on an hourly basis.

60 Timetable

67: Berwick-upon-Tweed – Norham – Coldstream – Kelso – St Boswells – Galashiels

This service featured on one of my cross-border excursions from England to Scotland when Munros of Jedburgh still operated the route. These days, it’s Perryman’s Buses that run it and the frequency is as good as two hourly on all days of the week too. On my most recent use of the service in July 2011, it was better used in Scotland than in England and there was a sharp drop-off prior to crossing over into Northumberland on the return journey too. That observation says a lot about Scottish and English public transport usage. That there are connections with services to Edinburgh at St Boswells probably helps too.

67 Timetable

X95: Carlisle – Langholm – Hawick – Selkirk – Galashiels – Edinburgh

There was a time when there was a rail link between Carlisle and Edinburgh that passed right through the Scottish Borders but that is now no more, though there has been a restoration between Edinburgh and Galashiels. It is when you see three and a half hour journey times you realise the usefulness of trains for getting to places such as Langholm, Hawick, Selkirk and Galashiels. That hill country surrounds each of these is what gets the service included here. So many pass the Southern Uplands en route to elsewhere and that’s a pity so any way that brings you near the heart of such untended action only can be a good thing.

X95 Timetable