Rail/bus connections

New trains from Fishguard  – great news in town, but what if you live in Dinas, Mathry, St Davids or Eglwyswrw? You’d like to use the new trains, and we’d all like to see you on them – we need every new passenger we can get.

Yes, you could drive to the terminus, but what if there’s no car or lift handy? Will your local bus connect? You don’t want to wait on a draughty platform for half and hour … an hour … or more …

That’s why one of the most important timetables fishguardtrains.info will be publishing is Rail/bus connections.

Bus countdown indicator on trial in Fishguard

Counting down the next bus

This timetable will not only show how you can travel from your village (or city) to the world by public transport, it will also point out how and when you can’t. And of course we’ll suggest ways to change times to make more trips possible.

To be fair to the planners, it won’t be easy. It has taken many years for the 412 to connect to trains at Haverfordwest. That job isn’t helped when the railway timetable changes. Now if the 412 is not only retimed but rerouted to meet trains at Fishguard, the knock-on could be worse connections at Haverfordwest.

We might not be bothered in Fishguard, with our very own trains. But they might not be thrilled in Letterston.

It’s going to be a juggle. Watch this space!

11 Comments

Filed under Timetables

11 Responses to Rail/bus connections

  1. Rhydgaled

    That information display at Fishguard Roundabout, is it real or have you photoshopped it in?

    412 connects with trains at Haverfordwest? You must be joking. When I was down there trying to take photographs the other day the train to Milford was LATE yet still pulled out as the 412 was arriving, no chance for anyone on the bus to catch it. Previously, I arrived into Haverfordwest on the train and had quite a long wait for the 412.

    The Welsh Assembly missed a trick when they announced their plans for TrawsCambria on the same day. In the TrawsCambria consultation, I suggested extending the X50 service through to St Davids, that would give a direct link to Fishguard & Goodwick station, no waiting around at Fishguard Roundabout for the 410 (Fishguard Town Service). I would suggest replacing the odd hour 412 departures from Cardigan, and the 413, with the extended X50. The 412 in these hours would run from Newport or Fishguard to Haverfordwest instead, and be made to wait for the X50 if it is late. Judging by the 7am 412, which goes to Goodwick, it takes 46 mins to get there, therefore the trains should leave at 50 to 55 mins past the odd hours. If you can get Stena to timetable their ferries to fit with a clockface rail timetable, that would be great.

    The next campaign once we’ve got that sorted is to protect the Swansea District Line to preseve the possibility of 15min (or more) journey time reductions between Carmarthen and Cardiff. There is a very real possibility that the re-doubling at Gowerton will cause Network Rail to make serious cutbacks or close the line.

    Please e-mail me, so I can send you a timetable I’ve worked out for the Fishguard trains.

    • Spad

      Rhydgaled – one comment with five red hot topics, each one deserving attention.
      Over the coming weeks and months all five will get the attention they need here on fishguardtrains.info
      starting with your alarming suggestion that all might not be as it seems – check out Photoshopped? Spad?
      Keep on Commenting!

  2. Aaron McLeod

    I agree with the X50 extention. Richards Brothers should also operate all X50 services to Aberystwyth without a change of bus with X40/550.

    • Rhydgaled

      I have seen slight indications that various bodies would like an Aberystwyth – Cardigan – Fishguard – Haverfordwest TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru service (reading between the lines it sounds like they want to combine X50 and 412). Personally, I don’t think that’s a good idea, partly because it misses out Goodwick for the all-important rail connections but also because I think any TrawsCambria service between Cardigan and Haverfordwest should go the direct route, avoiding Newport and Fishguard, because I feel TrawsCambria should not be taking long diversions between places. For the same reason, I think the 550 should not be a TrawsCambria service south of New Quay.

      You’ve hit a sore point there with the X50 stopping at Aberaeron rather than going to Aberystwyth. Arriva have changed the X40 timetable in such a way that connections with Richards Bros service have been adversly affected twice in under a year. The timetable change on 30th September upped the jouney time significantly, by making passengers stand freezing in Aberaeron for 25-35mins while inhaling the tobaco smoke from others who are waiting. I’ve had enough, it is time our friendly local operator with it’s two brilliant long-distance buses was asked to go all the way to Aberystwyth with the X50 all day long. Somebody please, free us from having to rely on Arriva X40 ‘connections’. A connection should be about 7 mins, not 15, not 30, not 0 (yes, several connections between X40 and X50 have one bus timetabled to arrive at the same time as the other is due to leave). 15 min waits wouldn’t be so bad, if we had waiting rooms, but we don’t, we have bus shelters, and they don’t stop wind.

      PS, still no access to far north Pembs (ie. north of Newport) in the afternoon without going via Haverfordwest or taking a long journey on the cramped 460 Carmarthen – Cardigan service, followed by a fairly lengthy wait for a 412. Even if you are short (and therefore don’t have my problem with the 460) then leave Cardiff no later than about 14:48 (I’m going from memory there) or you’re stuck in Fishguard/Newport/Cardigan.

  3. Swansea Jack

    Regarding the Swansea District line.,I have heard rumours that the plan is to single some sections of that route once the Gowerton re-doubling is complete. Considering the alternative to the Districts would be stiff climb up to Cockett I would think it highly unlikely that closure of the District line would be considered.

    They might only be empties, but that slack over from the Landore loop onto the climb up to Cockett from Swansea Loop West Jcn would not be an easy task especially during poor rail conditions. You wouldn’t want to regularly run up Cockett from the West with loaded oil trains either, although I appreciate they do go that way sometimes when the Districts are closed for Engineering work.

    I believe that keeping the District line open for potential use in the future is critically important, but the loading of West Wales trains would have to increase considerably before you could justify separating out the Swansea bound traffic from that heading to Cardiff and beyond.

    When (or if) electrification is extended to Swansea the resulting spars effect will hopefully boost passenger numbers from Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire to such an extent that could justify the running of some services via the District line, the development of a Morriston Parkway type station to cater for Cardiff bound passengers from the Swansea Valley area would probably be the catalyst, especially if considered as a way of reducing congestion on the 2 lane section of the M4 in the Briton Ferry / Baglan area. Traffic delays on that stretch may not yet have reached the levels around Newport at Malpas, but they are increasing year on year.

    The fact that Swanline has not been an outstanding success has probably dampened the Swansea and Neath area local authorities from considering anything on the District line to serve Morriston etc, and remember, as the Districts don’t serve Swansea (or Neath) support form the City of Swansea to encourage a transport link that would result in diverting even more people to Cardiff for shopping / work etc.

    The Parlimentary service along the District line (the daytime boat train) is also another reason why the Districts need to be kept open, so a good thing that some of us battled against the loss of trains that avoided Swansea (and Carmarthen) a few years back.

    • Rhydgaled

      Are you aware of the Rail Development Socitey’s “West Wales Direct” report on the Swansea District Line? They didn’t seem to think using the line was all that farfetched. Also, a user from Llanelli on railforums.co.uk once said “The main problem is that trains to Carmarthen justify more than two carriages, but those that go further west seem to carry fewer passengers.” From that, I would suggest that a direct Carmarthen – Cardiff service using a 2-car 158 might reduce the requirment for the Carmarthen – Swansea route down to two coach trains.

      If Carmarthen – Swansea does justify more than two coaches at present, than I see no problem in separating out the Swansea bound traffic from that heading to Port Talbot and beyond. At the very least, you should be able to justify a single class 158 diagram working the district line, constisting of a morning trip from Fishguard or Milford to Cardiff, the current Fishguard boat train and a relief service for the 17:39 from Cardiff (working through to Fishguard or Milford). That would be a start, and hopefully would stop Network Rail making the same short-sighted mistakes as whoever singled Gowerton in the first place.

      The big use for the district line though in my opinion would be an equivelent of the ValleyLines network for the city of Swansea. It would be these services, not the through trains from Carmarthen and points west, that I’d have call at the proposed parkway stations. But none of that is to do with bus connections, so I’ll stop there.

  4. Anthony

    I think teh reason why the swanline service hasnt been a sucess is perhaps down somwhat to the frequency and that its just runs between Swansea & Cardiff.

    Take Pyle station for an example which gets a train to Cardiff every 30 minutes during the peaks thanks to the stops by some Manchester trains and has resulted in a large increase in passenger numbers especially since there is free parking there which is good for commuters living in the local area and from Porthcawl.

    I am still hoping that is the wires do got to Swansea together with the severn tunnel diversionary route that we could have an hourly Swansea – Cardiff – Cheltenham service which would I think encourage more people to use the service sespecially if there is no need for them to change trains to get to Newport etc.

    All the swanline statiosn need improvements doen to them I.E new wiaiting shelters as some are in a very bad state and some informations creens like Llansamlet has so passengers know if there are delays such as what happens regulary if the 09:10 departure to Cardiff from Swansea is delayed so that it follows behind the 09:28 London service.

    As is the case with the 15:14 which has now been extended to Fishguard passengers are happy to use the service to travel beyond Swansea instead of waiting in Swansea for up to 50 minutes sometimes.

    Better timed services would be greeat for encouraging commuters anyone who has travelled on the 17:10 Swansea – Cardiff service will know how very overcrowded it is between Swansea & Briton Ferry especially if it is worked by a class 153. There should be a service timed into Swansea at 08:25 to plug the gap between arrivals from Cardiff at 07:45 and 08:50.

    An hourly service together with other methods should increasse the number of passengers using the service together with better late night and early morning trains. A last train from Swansea at 22:30 is a bit stupid on weekdays when you have a train from Swansea an hour later on sunday nights at 23:30

    I wouldnt mind a service using the Swansea district line sepecially if there are stations at Morriston with good bus links to the DVLA , Morriston Hospital & Llandore etc & other stations at Llandarcy with the new housing development being built there should be good for commuters if the train journey is 45 minutes compared to 1 hour or more during the peaks by car.

    A station at Grovesend near Pontardulais would be great especially if the line between Gowerton – Gorseinon – Grovesend was re-opened and used by Heart of wales line trains.

  5. Swansea Jack

    I would hope that Swanline may be turned into a Bristol or Bath to Swansea service which would augment the existing FGW London – Swansea service so that off-peak there’d be at least 2 potentially electric trains West of Cardiff to improve the business case for electrification. Electrify the Maesteg branch too and you’d have even more electric services West of Cardiff.

    Personally I’d look at opening a park and ride at Miskin as it is a stone’s throw from junction 34 of the M4. As road congestion from the West into Cardiff increases such a park and ride option would surely be popular, and could help towards increasing the frequency of local trains West of Cardiff on Swanline. Acceleration of EMUs would hopefully allow more trains to travel per hour along the SWML.

    Rhydgaled – unfortunately the Swansea District Line cannot act in a similar way to Cardiff’s Valley lines – it runs East West unfortunately for that, but in terms of developments in what was West Glamorgan I’d certainly look at Gowerton – Gorseinon – Grovesend Jcn re-opening – it would add the large settlement of Gorseinon top the network, and would make things like Ammanford to Swansea competitive by rail – something the present reversal via Llanelli doesn’t do. You could then superpose the Central Wales timetable with a Swansea to Ammanford Town regular service.

    • Rhydgaled

      I’d like to see the ATW Cheltenham – Cardiff and Swanline services merged into an hourly Swansea – Cheltenham all stations electric service, with a semi-fast (Swansea – Neath – Port Talbot Parkway – Cardiff Central) electric service continuing to Bristol (hence three electric services an hour between Cardiff and Swansea, plus an hourly Maesteg – Ebbw Vale Parkway service (all stations)). Of course that can’t happen without the Severn Tunnel Diversionary Route being electrified.

      As for the Swansea District Line being unable to act in a similar way to Cardiff’s Valley lines, you are correct that it cannot act in such a way on it’s own. However, I think parts of it could be used as part of certain ‘ValleyLines’ routes which also make use of other closed and freight-only lines. When I finish preparing my suggestions, I’ll e-mail them in and we’ll see if SPAD feels they are worth publishing.

  6. JOHN HUGHES

    The T5 which connects with the late evening train at Goodwick does not wait if the train is a few minutes late; the other night passengers were left stranded at the bus stop. Is there some means of communicating a late running train to the bus driver?

    • Assuming you mean the 18:46 train, this is a long-standing issue. The North Pembrokeshire Transport Forum’s Nov 2012 News Briefing stated that the 18:50 bus departure cannot wait for long because it has another service to run. I can’t see another service it could run, but it is possible the driver’s hours would run out if he/she doesn’t make it back to Newport in time. If you miss the 18:50, there should be a 413 bus stopping down opposite the Goodwick Tesco Express at 19:23, although from the timetable it appears that it’s a fair wait at Fishguard Town Hall before onward travel to Newport.

      If you mean the 20:23 / 20:48 train, I’ve just realised there’s no bus at all on a Saturday if the timetables I’m looking at are correct (the bus is 20:33ish, missing the latter Saturday train). That’s the last bus of the day to anywhere and again the driver’s hours might be running out, you’ll have to ask Richards Bros (they are generally very good at responding to e-mails).

      And if you want to get to Eglwyswrw from either of the evening Fishguard trains, forget it. It just isn’t possible (the buses go to bed at Newport too early).

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