THE NORTH WALES COAST
RAILWAY: TRAVEL INFORMATION
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Updated April 2014
A service run by National Rail offers on-line 'station-boards' for all stations which include all Train Company services. You can send the name of a station as a mobile phone text message to 84950 to receive a list of the next planned and actual departures from that station; there is a charge of 25p.
The Service Disruptions page, also by National Rail, supplements this by giving a regularly-updated summary of any problems and delays which are occurring on the national network.
For the times of trains, you can use the National Rail on-line journey planner.
The German Rail timetable website is also useful, especially as it can produce a very handy list of departures for any station, including British ones.The Arriva Trains Wales Website also includes downloadable PDFs of the timetables of each route (with smartphone-friendly QR codes for each download) and details alterations to timetables for engineering works
The tables from the National Rail Timetable book can be downloaded in PDF format from the Network Rail website. The tables most relevant to our area are:
Table 75 Cambrian lines and Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Birmingham
Table 81 North Wales Coast to Chester, South Wales and Manchester
Table 102 Conwy Valley
Table 101 Wrexham - Bidston
We are often asked the fares to and from North Wales Coast stations: on British railways this is a complicated and difficult subject, as many fares depend on which trains you are using and how far in advance you can reserve your seat. The system is also riddled with anomalies: various online booking sites exist (including Arriva Trains) which will tell you the fares for the journeys you require, and also allow you to order a ticket.
The North Wales area is very well provided with Rover and
Ranger tickets, which thanks to enlightened local authorities are in
most cases valid on buses as well as trains, although in some cases use
of trains is only allowed after 09:00 or 09:15 on Mondays - Fridays,
although travel at any time is allowed at weekends.
It should be noted that
there is a great deal of out-of-date information on the Internet about
these tickets, even on some 'official' websites.
The Arriva Trains Wales website has
a page listing the tickets that are available. They include various day
and evening rangers for the Cambrian lines. Some tickets, notably the
Conwy Valley evening ranger, have vanished from the list, and others
have had their availability restricted, so check before travelling.
Note: The 4-in-8 rover
tickets, now re-named 'Explore Wales Pass' and 'Explore North
and Mid-Wales Pass' which previously were valid for free travel on
the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, now entitle holders only to
a 50% reduction in fares. (From what we can discover, this discount
applies on all 8 days, not just the four 'rail' days.) Even so, they
are exceptionally good value for anyone staying in the area for a
This is a day pass that replaces the previous North and Mid Wales Day Ranger and the Tocyn Taith. It costs £9, £14 or £25 (2012 fares) depending on the number of Zones (see map) - the all-zones (£25) is the only one that allows travel on the Gobowen to Machynlleth section. It is also valid on buses, and trains all day, with no morning peak restriction. However, it is no longer valid the direct Crewe - Shrewsbury line. The all-zones version offers 50% discount on the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways, according to the 2012 leaflet.
To use the Ffestiniog Railway as part of a day's circular journey, there is the Ffestiniog Round Robin ticket, which has options to travel from Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool, or start your journey from within the circuit.
For a tourist guide around the North Wales circuit: The Cambrian Rail Cruise