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Journey by Journey => Wales local journeys => Topic started by: grahame on August 21, 2019, 09:30:52 pm



Title: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: grahame on August 21, 2019, 09:30:52 pm
From the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/seven-adventures-days-wales-cardiff-holyhead-hitching-train-express-a9070716.html)

Quote
Normally, the hitchhiker takes it all in his or her chauffeur-driven stride. But yesterday I was a man with a mission, which did not allow for towing-related snarl-ups. My Monday adventure was a race against the train.

At 7.21am, the first end-to-end train across Wales departs Cardiff Central, destination Holyhead. I was there to wave it off. Wales’s answer to the Trans-Siberian is the longest train ride in the country, and takes an average of five hours.

Because of the way that the web of railways in Wales was reduced to a skeleton in the Sixties, the 7.21am takes a preposterously long route – I calculate almost 250 miles, compared with under 200 miles for the most direct road journey, using the A470.

A fascinating comparison ...


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Merthyr Imp on August 21, 2019, 10:01:39 pm
So what would have been the most direct route from Cardiff to Holyhead prior to the 'reduction to a skeleton'?

Possibly via Merthyr Tydfil then the Mid-Wales line to Moat Lane Junction. Change there for the  Cambrian Coast route to Afon Wen, then to Bangor and Holyhead?

May be more direct on the map but I suspect it would take more than 5 hours. At least nowadays no changes are necessary.

 


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 21, 2019, 10:13:39 pm
Quote from: Merthyr Imp
So what would have been the most direct route from Cardiff to Holyhead prior to the 'reduction to a skeleton'?

Possibly via Merthyr Tydfil then the Mid-Wales line to Moat Lane Junction. Change there for the  Cambrian Coast route to Afon Wen, then to Bangor and Holyhead?

May be more direct on the map but I suspect it would take more than 5 hours. At least nowadays no changes are necessary.

Likewise, Cardiff-Carmarthen-Aberystwyth-Dovey Junction-Afon Wen- Bangor and Holyhead would have taken very much longer than 5 hours.

For some reason when I saw the title of this thread I thought "Hitch-hikers Guide to the Wales. Mostly harmless." I am sure there are some on here old enough to know why... ;)


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: grahame on August 22, 2019, 07:08:46 am
For some reason when I saw the title of this thread I thought "Hitch-hikers Guide to the Wales. Mostly harmless." I am sure there are some on here old enough to know why... ;)

Use of the word "the" in the subject line was meant to encourage that!

So what would have been the most direct route from Cardiff to Holyhead prior to the 'reduction to a skeleton'?

Stupid question time ... why do so many people want to go from Cardiff to Holyhead (of all North Wales places!) ... is it for the ferries, for other major businesses there, or for political reasons because it's as far as you can get and still be in Wales?


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: martyjon on August 22, 2019, 07:11:56 am
.... end-to-end train across Wales ....


I thought an end to end train across Wales would run Fishguard Harbour to Holyhead.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: bignosemac on August 22, 2019, 09:07:16 am
Stupid question time ... why do so many people want to go from Cardiff to Holyhead (of all North Wales places!) ... is it for the ferries, for other major businesses there, or for political reasons because it's as far as you can get and still be in Wales?

Perhaps Holyhead is where you'll find The Restaurant at the End of the Anglesey.
 
I thought an end to end train across Wales would run Fishguard Harbour to Holyhead.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fishguard.

And then it's back to Cardiff where you'll find Life, the University of Wales and Everything.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Celestial on August 22, 2019, 11:09:40 am
Presumably the services would be listed in Table 42.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: grahame on August 22, 2019, 11:16:47 am
Presumably the services would be listed in Table 42.

Love it.   Bit of re-arrangement needed though table 42 (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/nr_timetables/Table%20042.pdf) is Leeds to Settle, Carlisle and Morcambe.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Western Pathfinder on August 22, 2019, 11:21:52 am
Probability of being able to rearrange table Fourty Two is infinite?..


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 22, 2019, 11:32:10 am
Probability of being able to rearrange table Fourty Two is infinite?..

But I think you'd need a really really hot cup of tea to do that...

But leaving the Douglas Adams puns to one side for a moment, the facts of the matter are that the railways that were built in Wales were primarily interested in getting to and from England or the Welsh ports rather than going north to south.

I came across this railway map on Flickr some time ago, dating from c.1959 so pre-Beeching. Youthful reporters writing newspaper articles might do well to study it. It's better to look at it of Flickr rather than reproduce an image here because over there you can click on it to zoom in:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93936890@N02/41085827862/


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: SandTEngineer on August 22, 2019, 12:01:37 pm
Probability of being able to rearrange table Fourty Two is infinite?..

But I think you'd need a really really hot cup of tea to do that...

But leaving the Douglas Adams puns to one side for a moment, the facts of the matter are that the railways that were built in Wales were primarily interested in getting to and from England or the Welsh ports rather than going north to south.

I came across this railway map on Flickr some time ago, dating from c.1959 so pre-Beeching. Youthful reporters writing newspaper articles might do well to study it. It's better to look at it of Flickr rather than reproduce an image here because over there you can click on it to zoom in:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93936890@N02/41085827862/

I think I have a copy of that map in my archive somewhere.  Isn't it amazing how well we were all interconnected by public transport in those days.  Where did it all go.......


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: grahame on August 22, 2019, 12:11:28 pm
Probability of being able to rearrange table Fourty Two is infinite?..

But I think you'd need a really really hot cup of tea to do that...

But leaving the Douglas Adams puns to one side for a moment, the facts of the matter are that the railways that were built in Wales were primarily interested in getting to and from England or the Welsh ports rather than going north to south.

I came across this railway map on Flickr some time ago, dating from c.1959 so pre-Beeching. Youthful reporters writing newspaper articles might do well to study it. It's better to look at it of Flickr rather than reproduce an image here because over there you can click on it to zoom in:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93936890@N02/41085827862/

I think I have a copy of that map in my archive somewhere.  Isn't it amazing how well we were all interconnected by public transport in those days.  Where did it all go.......

The railway map at https://www.systemed.net/carto/New_Adlestrop_Railway_Atlas.pdf gives a superb, zoomable Wales (and the South West too) and I commend it to you.  And add a big THANK YOU to our modest moderator who put it together.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Gordon the Blue Engine on August 22, 2019, 12:14:30 pm
Odd, there's a few omission on that map [edit - ie the Flickr map], eg Coventry - Kenilworth, Oxford - Abingdon, Cholsey - Wallingford.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Celestial on August 22, 2019, 01:41:54 pm

Stupid question time ... why do so many people want to go from Cardiff to Holyhead (of all North Wales places!) ... is it for the ferries, for other major businesses there, or for political reasons because it's as far as you can get and still be in Wales?
Not at all stupid, and I think you've answered your own question there Grahame.

 


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: froome on August 22, 2019, 04:20:34 pm

Stupid question time ... why do so many people want to go from Cardiff to Holyhead (of all North Wales places!) ... is it for the ferries, for other major businesses there, or for political reasons because it's as far as you can get and still be in Wales?
Not at all stupid, and I think you've answered your own question there Grahame.

 

There probably aren't that many travelling the full journey, but IME there certainly are large numbers travelling from Cardiff or Newport to Bangor, and many others travelling to Chester or the north Wales resorts.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: SandTEngineer on August 22, 2019, 04:25:31 pm
Odd, there's a few omission on that map [edit - ie the Flickr map], eg Coventry - Kenilworth, Oxford - Abingdon, Cholsey - Wallingford.

Speculation Alert: Because those lines closed prior to, or were proposed to be closed, to passenger services before the map production date?...........


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 22, 2019, 04:59:58 pm
Odd, there's a few omission on that map [edit - ie the Flickr map], eg Coventry - Kenilworth, Oxford - Abingdon, Cholsey - Wallingford.

Speculation Alert: Because those lines closed prior to, or were proposed to be closed, to passenger services before the map production date?...........

If you look at the comments below the map you will see that we explored the apparent idiosyncrasies in some detail. Your suggestion of outstanding closure proposals might be a possibility, but I think I'd put it down to less than precise cartography!

However, in respect of lines in Wales (which is the reason I highlighted it on this thread) the map appears by and large correct. That said, some of the lines that are shown as main lines (eg Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, the Central Wales and Neath and Brecon to Hereford) might be stretching that description a little


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: grahame on August 22, 2019, 05:04:23 pm
Odd, there's a few omission on that map [edit - ie the Flickr map], eg Coventry - Kenilworth, Oxford - Abingdon, Cholsey - Wallingford.

Speculation Alert: Because those lines closed prior to, or were proposed to be closed, to passenger services before the map production date?...........

If you look at the comments below the map you will see that we explored the apparent idiosyncrasies in some detail. Your suggestion of outstanding closure proposals might be a possibility, but I think I'd put it down to less than precise cartography!

However, in respect of lines in Wales (which is the reason I highlighted it on this thread) the map appears by and large correct. That said, some of the lines that are shown as main lines (eg Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, the Central Wales and Neath and Brecon to Hereford) might be stretching that description a little

I've been looking too, Robin ... Severn Rail Bridge absent, so map dated after 25.10.1960; Ruthin shown as having purely the stub service, so before 4.4.1962.   In spite of label saying circa 1959.  Agrees with how Melton Contable is shown - as a branch from Sheringham, 1959 to 1964.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Celestial on August 22, 2019, 05:09:53 pm

Stupid question time ... why do so many people want to go from Cardiff to Holyhead (of all North Wales places!) ... is it for the ferries, for other major businesses there, or for political reasons because it's as far as you can get and still be in Wales?
Not at all stupid, and I think you've answered your own question there Grahame.

 

There probably aren't that many travelling the full journey, but IME there certainly are large numbers travelling from Cardiff or Newport to Bangor, and many others travelling to Chester or the north Wales resorts.
Agree absolutely, but it's always Holyhead that is mentioned, which of course shows the speed of the service in it's worst light. Chester of course is not in Wales, though perilously close on the outskirts, so if you listened to those who want a service that doesn't go into England, wouldn't even get a service.

(Actually, thinking about it, I'm not sure there will be much holiday/leisure traffic from South East Wales to the North Wales resorts, as there are equally attractive destinations much closer.  The North Welsh coast is more attractive to North West England so I would expect Mancunian and Liverpudlian accents to be more often heard there than Cardiff ones. )


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 22, 2019, 07:55:35 pm
Quote from: grahame
I've been looking too, Robin ... Severn Rail Bridge absent, so map dated after 25.10.1960; Ruthin shown as having purely the stub service, so before 4.4.1962.   In spite of label saying circa 1959.  Agrees with how Melton Contable is shown - as a branch from Sheringham, 1959 to 1964.

It's not that simple Graham - in fact the map is quite a bit of a mess!

As you say, the Severn Bridge was redesigned in October 1960, but initially it was planned to repair it. The link below takes you to a scan of he timetables for 1959 and 1964, the latter one still advertising the line as temporarily closed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/93122458@N08/28605810524/

You will also notice that the section between Berkeley Road and Sharpness remained open until final closure in 1964 so, if the absence of the Severn Bridge is taken as proof that the map was produced post-October 1960, it still doesn't explain the Berkeley Road to Sharpness omission. And especially when, not too far away:-

Coaley Junction to Dursley showing on the map, closed in September 1962
Ross on Wye Monmouth Chepstow - not showing on the map, closed in 1959
Chippenham to Calne not showing on the map, closed in 1965
MSWJ Cheltenham to Andover showing on the map, closed in October 1961

There are plenty of other examples that simply do not make chronological sense.





Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 23, 2019, 11:54:33 am
So what would have been the most direct route from Cardiff to Holyhead prior to the 'reduction to a skeleton'?

Possibly via Merthyr Tydfil then the Mid-Wales line to Moat Lane Junction. Change there for the  Cambrian Coast route to Afon Wen, then to Bangor and Holyhead?

May be more direct on the map but I suspect it would take more than 5 hours. At least nowadays no changes are necessary.
The old Merthyr - Brecon route was itself a little circuitous, with some rather tight curves that I imagine would make the service frighteningly slow if it were reopenned. I do wonder whether, with electric traction, a train could handle the gradient of a new line built following the A470 up to Storey Arms. The other side is more problematic, since the mountains seem to fall off rather more steeply than on the south side (I'm using Google Earth); perhaps a tunnel through the highest bit would make the gradient manageable.

Rhayader - Llanidloes and Porthmadog - Afon Wen - Bangor were also rather circuitous routes, so if you were serious about linking Cardiff and Bangor/Holyhead by rail without going via England new, shorter, routes would be needed there too. Even then, the train would still have to share the busy ValleyLines network south of Merthyr so would probably have to be part of the Metro, serving all stations, so to avoid sending a tri-mode FLIRT all the way to Holyhead a change of train would still be required. I would suggest Brecon as the best place for the FLIRT to terminate and the class 158 service to Bangor/Holyhead to begin. It probably wouldn't be particularly great for Cardiff-Bangor travel, but would be transformational for a wide variety of journeys starting and/or finishing in various parts of mid Wales. You could also have a 158 running from Brecon to Wrexham via Newtown, Welshpool and Oswestry to make more use of the new Brecon-Newtown line.

The more-widely discussed option of Carmarthen-Aberystwyth has its own slow, twisty, problem and would also require passengers to change train on route. The most obvious option would see changes required at Aberystwyth and Dovey Junction. You could cut that to one change by having the train from Cardiff reverse at Aberystwyth to form the service to Birmingham, but you'd need a new bridge over the Dovey to make a through service between Aberystwyth and Bangor work and that would prevent the Holyhead/Bangor service contributing to a roughly hourly service from Porthmadog to Machynlleth.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: eightf48544 on August 23, 2019, 03:22:17 pm
It doesn't seem to be mentioned but I thought the Cardiff Holyhead service was for Welsh Assembly members to get back to their constituencies/home.


Title: Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wales
Post by: infoman on August 23, 2019, 03:32:58 pm
I would have thought the plane would be a better option between Cardiff Airport and RAF Valley with a journey time of 50 minutes.

If your quick it would cost forty quid



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