On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

Crossing Boundaries

Reading time: 7 minutes.

Within the United Kingdom, some bus services journey from one home nation to another and that is what you get collected here. The list began with crossings between England and Wales but those between England and Scotland are gaining representation now. It clearly remains far from exhaustive, so candidates for inclusion continue to come to my notice, thus ensuring that this selection continues to grow.

Arriva Wright-bodied VDL bus for Chester at Wrexham, Wales

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

It is odd that Oswestry now enjoys seven day connectivity with Wrexham and only six days of service with Shrewsbury. On Sundays, the service frequency is hourly and the time of operation extends from morning until mid/late afternoon. Services 2 and 2A combine to provide a half-hourly service frequency for much of the day on other days of the weekend. Cefn Mawr gets half-hourly service on route 2C with all weekday operations covering the day from early until late on all routes.

2/2A/2C Timetable

4/4A/4B/4S/X4: Chester - Broughton - Buckley - Mold

Between all of these bus services, there should be plenty of ways to get between Chester and Mold every day of the week. Of the lot, only service 4S operates on Sundays but still has a respectable frequency and excellent coverage of the day. The others are Monday to Saturday operations that make getting between the two termini and anywhere along the route a facile operation.

4/4A/4B/4S Timetable

11/11A/11C/11F/11M/11X: Rhyl - Prestatyn - Flint - Holywell - Queensferry - Chester

It is my understanding that it once was possible to travel from Chester to Rhyl using a single bus journey, even if that may be a case of my memory fooling me. Nevertheless, a change of bus is now needed to do the same journey. With the total journey length being more than two hours, travelling by train is faster, but recent experiences of overcrowding on Sundays are such that going slower and more comfortably has its appeal.

Coverage of the day extends from early morning to late at night and service frequencies are respectable too, extending from half-hourly to two-hourly depending on the time of day and the day of the week. That these are seven-day services is another asset in an age when Sunday bus services are much curtailed.

11/11A/11C/11F/11M/11X Timetable

36: Hereford - Monmouth

It seems that Monmouth is well-connected with other places by bus and that is just as well since it is near an attractive part of the Welsh River Wye. Chepstow and Abergavenny are other places with useful rail connections, but Hereford is just as good since service 36 originates from there. It is a Monday to Saturday operation with a near two-hourly timetable. However, the last departure is earlier in the day than might be ideal so noting services 69 (Chepstow) and 83 (Abergavenny) would be prudent if you are planning a day trip.

36 Timetable

41: Kington - Presteigne - Knighton - Knucklas - Lloyney

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. Though a lot more standardised than it once was, the timetable still needs some careful study because stops can differ between journeys. Still, its coverage of the day from early morning to early evening makes it invaluable in a part of Wales that is less well served by public transport.


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 every day 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 for much of the day too.

461 Timetable

738/740: 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 of Simon Jenkins’ best views in England too. This bus service is a Monday to Saturday operation with four journeys in each direction. Looking at the timetable may lure you into thinking there are more than these because of several 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.

738/740 Timetable

T14: Cardiff - Merthyr Tydfil - Brecon - Talgarth - Hay-on-Wye - Kingstone - Hereford

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

Of these, the T14 covers the Monday to Saturday service between Brecon and Hereford while the 39A does the same on Sundays and public holidays. There are three each-way journeys on Sundays and public holidays and service frequency is more than double that on other days.

T14 Timetable

39A Timetable

X75: Shrewsbury - Welshpool - Newtown - Llanidloes - Llangurig

This Monday to Saturday service offers a handy if not so fast way to get from Shrewsbury into the heart of Wales. A change in Llangurig allows for onward travel to Aberystwyth, Llandrindod Wells and Rhayader. 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 Timetable

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 Borders Buses 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 Borders 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 before 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 Boswell’s 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 route that brings you near the heart of such untended action only can be a good thing.

X95 Timetable