Local Services: Wales

In some parts of the principality, the Welsh seem to be good users of buses generally and that ensures a none too shabby set of useful services. There are a few local services collected here but there are many more than this so I have got some more collecting to be doing. As well as additions, I also hope to keep what’s here as up to date as I can. If there are any oversights, please do send me a message and I’ll be happy to fix them.

1C: Caernarfon – Groeslon – Penygroes – Talysarn
1F/1M: Penygroes – Carmel – Cesarea – Caernarfon
1N: Caernarfon – Groeslon – Penygroes – Nantlle

Each of these services has a use for exploring the hills west of Betws Garmon such as Mynydd Mawr, Mynydd Tryfan and the Nantlle ridge. Only the 1N is a seven day service while the rest operate from Monday to Saturday. The 1F and 1M services combine to produce a largely hourly frequency though a look at the timetable is needed to allow for any route deviations and the same comments apply to the 1C and 1N services when you take them as a pair. Sunday service is largely two hourly and you need to watch for journey variations. Nevertheless, these are worth using as long as you check on things before you go.

1C/1N Timetable
1F/1M Timetable

5: Wrexham – Llangollen ( – Corwen)

Now deprived of a connection to the National Rail network, a regular bus service is what performs sterling service in getting folk between Wrexham and the alluring place that is Llangollen. Seeing a weekday service level of up to every 15 minutes does make you wonder if it was a hasty folly to have removed that railway in the first place, especially with a heritage railway extending west from Llangollen as well. In fact, I have heard some rumblings regarding the restoration of a link with the national rail network too so it is best never to discount what folk might be thinking and planning. In the meantime, this bus service does much of the needful for public transport users.

5 Timetable

6: Bangor – Mynnydd Llandygai – Bethesda
6A: Bangor – Tregarth – Bethesda
66: Bangor – Rachub – Carneddi – Bethesda – Gerlan
66A: Bangor – Rachub – Bethesda – Gerlan
67: Bangor – Tregarth – Rachub – Bethesda – Gerlan
67A: Bangor – Tregarth – Rachub – Bethesda
X67: Bangor – Llys-y-gwynt – Bethesda

It may look down at heel in parts and there is a quarry in its vicinity but Bethesda is another good and less than obvious access point for Welsh hills. It is also well connected to nearby Bangor by bus for those arriving by train, even if there is a ten minute trot required to get you from train station to bus station. Service 7’s timetable lists all the times for the hourly Sunday service 67 whose frequency is a complete contrast to what’s available during the rest of the week.

6/6A Timetable
66/66A/67/67A/X67 Timetable

12: Pwllheli – Trefor – Caernarfon
14: Tudweiliog – Trefor – Pwllheli

These services will get you near some hills on the Llŷn peninsula that are worth walking and that is why they are listed here. It is service 12 that is the more frequent with a near hourly Monday to Saturday frequency and four afternoon journeys on a Sunday. The irregular service 14 is Monday to Saturday only and adds a few extra journeys and that is enough to get it listed here.

12 Timetable
14 Timetable

19/19A: Llandudno – Llanrwst
X19: Llandudno – Llanrwst – Betws-y-Coed

The lower Conwy Valley may not strike you as place from which to enter open hill country but you’d be very wrong. Places like Dolgarrog and Tal-y-Bont are perfect starting points for hikes towards the Carneddau and other hills, once you haul yourself up the steep wooded slopes for the first 200 metres or so of height. Being hourly on Sundays makes the service very valuable and having up to half-hourly frequency on weekdays makes it all the better, especially when it calls at Llandudno Junction station so that train travellers can use it easily as well.

19/19A/X19 Timetable

44: Llandrindod Wells – Builth Wells

Given how irregular rail services are on the Heart of Wales railway line and that it only passes within a few miles of Builth Wells (the town lost its own as a result of Beeching’s cuts in the 1960’s) anyway, this service has a use in spite of its erratic coverage of the daytime hours. In this, journeys from Builth Wells do better than those from Llandrindod Wells. As is typical in this area of Wales, there is no Sunday journeys on this service at all.

44 towards Llandrindod Wells
44 towards Builth Wells

48: Builth Wells – Llangammarch Wells – Llanwrtyd Wells

Three of the four former spa towns in this part of Wales are served by this Monday to Saturday bus service. Connections with service 44 get you to the fourth, Llandrindod Wells. Brecon becomes a possible with the T4 and both its timings and those of the 44 are summarised in this timetable. Daytime service frequency is around two hourly with an early evening finish so you need to keep an eye on those bus times when travelling around.

48 Timetable

53: Bangor – Beaumaris – Llandona
56: Bangor – Llansadwrn – Llandona – Beaumaris
57: Bangor – Beaumaris – Glanrafon
58: Bangor – Beaumaris – Glanrafon

The Gwynedd Council timetable is confusing for these similar services so I have added links to the Arriva weekday timetables here too for sake of greater simplicty. Of the set, service 58 is the primary Sunday service operated by Express Motors with a single service 57 journey operated on that day too. On other days of the week, services 53 and 57 dominate with an extra journey each way on service 56. It all adds up to a reasonable service level over the course of the day though frequency is lower on Sundays.

53 Timetable
56 Timetable
57 Monday to Saturday Timetable
57 & 58 Sunday Timetable

85: Llanberis – Deiniolen – Ysbyty Gwynedd – Bangor
86: Llanberis – Deiniolen – Ysbyty Gwynedd – Bangor

Though there are two services operating between Llanberis and Bangor on weekdays, timetables do not make it clear as to which is which. Express Motor operate both and there is something close to an hourly frequncy available. On Sundays, Arriva operates service 85 so the situation is simpler though there is a reduced frequency that is approximately two hourly. Once, these services were operated by KMP before that was sold to the ill-fated Padarn that collapsed in suspicious circumstances in the middle of 2014. The Express took over some of its services, thereby avoiding the need to go to Caernarfon and change buses there.

85 & 86 Timetable

88: Caernarfon – Llanrug – Llanberis

Express Motors operate this service seven days a week while Tacsi Gwynedd supplement it from Monday to Saturday. The Sunday service level is near enough to two hourly while two buses an hour run for much of the day on other days of the week. Another curiosity is that there are later journeys between Llanberis and Caernarfon than there are in the other direction with a last departure of the day at a somewhat early 18:15. Nevertheless, the service is useful for what it is and that is just as well with Llanberis being at the foot of Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh).

88 Timetable

525: Llanidloes – Llangurig – Ponterwyd – Aberystwyth

One of the uses of this service is for getting near Pumlumon for a spot of hill walking in remote Welsh countryside. It will not do that on Sundays or on bank holidays so it will be sometime from Monday to Saturday that you will need to pick. The Ponterwyd to Aberystwyth portion is best served since it nearly has a two hourly frequency. Otherwise, the timings are less regular so you will need to watch your times for the full route. Nevertheless, the early morning to early evening coverage allows a chance for a decent day out so long as you keep your route length in check.

525 towards Aberystwyth
525 towards Llanidloes

X1: Llandudno – Blaenau Ffestiniog

This Monday-Saturday service performs an invaluable function as it makes its way up and down the Conwy valley. Its frequency is next to hourly, a very useful thing when you miss the infrequent trains that run the same way, and it calls at Llandudno Junction train station too. Both of those features make getting to Blaenau Ffestiniog or Dolwyddelan for some walking so much easier.

X1 Timetable

X47: Llanidloes – Rhayader – Llandrindod Wells

Rhayader’s proximity to the man-altered Elan Valley was what first drew my attention to the place and, given my liking for wilder spots, that may appear strange but some of some of mankind’s constructions can blend with the landscape. Its proximity to Llandrindod Wells on the Cambrian railway line makes a visit possible with the help of this bus service. Like many in the area, it is a Monday to Saturday affair and offers a largely two hourly timetable between Rhayader and Llandrindod Wells. After that, it is a little less regular for Llanidloes and there quizzically are journeys that start and end in Aberystwyth by following the route of service 525, with which it connects at other times. The X75 is another service that overlaps and connects with the X47 so things can look a little confused in the timetable. Nevertheless, it offers a good way of getting about from early morning to early evening and that has its uses.

X47 towards Llandrindod Wells
X47 towards Llanidloes

X50: Wrexham – Coedpoeth – Bwlchgwyn – Llandegla – Ruthin – Denbigh
X52: Denbigh – St Asaph-  Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – Ruthin

Both of these services combine together to give a decent travel option for anyone wishing to get around northeast Wales. Frequencies on Sundays and bank holidays may be very much less than those on other days of the week but they remain useful with a two hourly daytime service between Wrexham and Denbigh with the section between Ruthin and Denbigh doing better. On Mondays to Saturdays, these two towns even enjoy a half hourly service for much of the day while it is largely hourly for other places. What interests me about the routes is the access that they could offer to quality walking country. For instance, Llandegla is on the Offa’s Dyke Path national trail and I would like to walk north from there into the Clwydian Range sometime.

X50/X52 Timetable