The story so far …
In part one (see How to write a timetable #1) Spad found that a first train out of Fishguard at 7:24 gets to Carmarthen in time for decent connections to Swansea, Cardiff, London and Manchester. That has to be good sense.
So he planned the first return trip to connect with an early arrival from Hereford, Cardiff and Swansea, back to Fishguard by 9:46. A good result for the first round trip. In these timetables, red times are direct trains to/from Fishguard:
This effort seemed to exhaust Spad, but after a weekend in a sunny Pembrokeshire garden (more spade than Spad), he’s back to finish the job.
The second train of the day from Fishguard leaves at 10:00, into Carmarthen at 10:56 with more good connections east. The first connection from London reaches Carmarthen at 10.51, and soon after, our shuttle leaves for Fishguard, arriving at 12:11. The third morning train from Fishguard leaves at 12:30, into Carmarthen at 13:26, where there’s a slightly longer wait for connections east. Now a brief pause in the shuttling while the lunchtime boat train runs to and from Fishguard.
At 13:55 the shuttle resumes, arriving Fishguard at 14:51. The remaining two return journeys follow the same pattern, always looking for the best connections and timings at Carmarthen. The final shuttle trip of the day leaves Carmarthen at 19:10, having met the 17:04 from Cardiff, 18:09 from Swansea. And for late travellers, there’s still the evening boat train.
With these five return trips added to the boat trains, Fishguard gets a pretty remarkable service: Swansea is an easy commute for a full day’s work or study – arrive at 9.23, leave when you want – 15:00, 18:09 or 23:45. Cardiff is almost as good – arrive at 10:22, stay on until 14:04, 17:04 or 22:26. You can even go to London for a meeting, shopping, early supper – arrive 12:23, leave at 20:15. Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester are all within reach. And connections at Carmarthen are fine – none are too tight, and all are under half an hour, mostly around 10 minutes.
Of course two journeys stand out – the express boat train from Cardiff at 10:54 and from Fishguard at 13:30. But they have a secret weapon – the Swansea District Line – a subject so important that it deserves a whole campaign of its own. More of that in future posts.
So finally, here is Spad’s Fishguard timetable, version 1.0: