Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Scenic and great value day out by train

Arriva Trains Wales have re-introduced their 'Club 55' offer which a couple of us used earlier this year to travel the scenic Heart of Wales line (see this blog, 30th March). The offer is open to anyone of 55 years or older to travel to anywhere on the ATW network for £18 (£16 with a senior railcard). Peter and I decided to travel to Shrewsbury, onwards though mid Wales to the Cambrian coast, then enjoy the coastal trip right around Cardigan Bay from the Dovey estuary to Pwllheli.

First stage, the 07:46 train rolls into Wilmslow on time, where we board it.

The day started with the 07:46 from Wilmslow, a Manchester to Camarthen train which took us as far as Shrewsbury. Bright sunshine in Wilmslow, but across rural Shropshire between Nantwich and Wem radiation fog which had yet to burn off at this early hour hid the view.

We had a fifty minute wait at Shrewsbury for our next train, the 09:27 to Aberystwyth which originated in Birmingham and we will take as far as Macynlleth. Time to photograph a couple of trains!

Class 66 on a train of tank wagons awaits the road in Shrewsbury station this morning

This single-unit class 153 is being prepared to form the 09:00 Shrewsbury to Swansea train via the amazingly scenic Heart of Wales line, the trip Peter and I did this March and is reported on the blog

Our class 185 multiple unit arrived on time from Birmingham, and soon we were speeding through mid Wales, through Welshpool and Newtown, to Macynlleth, arriving at 10:46.

Our class 185 whizzes though mid Wales, somewhere near Newtown.

Having arrived at Macynlleth, we spy our onward train, the 11:00 to Pwllheli waiting in the siding before pulling forward into the station.

The 11:00 to Pwllheli moved into the station from the siding, and we set off along the Dovey estuary and around the coast of Cardigan Bay. The weather had turned cloudy, so the best photographs were of the return journey down the coast; by then it was a gloriously sunny day in West Wales.

Bit of a dull day on our outward journey around Cardigan Bay. This is Barmouth.

The only flat crossing of a narrow gauge railway and standard gauge in UK. The Ffestiniog Railway's Welsh Highland Line crosses the Cambrian Coast line near Porthmadog.

End of the line. Our train reaches Pwllhelli on time at 13:14

Pwllheli town... not a lot to see!

The train arrived at Pwllheli at 13:14 before returning down the coast at 13:42, so there's not much time to see the town. But then, in Pwllheli, there's not a lot to see!

By the time we were headed back along the coast the sun was shining. Here, passing Pwllheli harbour.

Time for a spot of lunch now the sun is out!

The Rhinogs from west of Criccieth

Black Rock Sands

Crossing the Glaslyn near Minfford

Across the Glaslyn, Portmeirion nestles against the hillside (for a closer look a
Clough Williams-Ellis' surreal village, click twice on the image; and please do the same with any of these pictures for a full-size view).

Barmouth Bridge

View across Barmouth estuary to Fairbourne point

Looking back to Fairbourne and Barmouth

Along the Dovey estuary

After passing the lonly station of Dovey Junction which has no road access, and coupling up with the train from Aberystwyth at Macynllth, we speed back though mid Wales to Shrewsbury.

We were back in Shrewsbury on time at 17:23 in plenty of time for the Milford Haven to Manchester train that would take us home to Wilmslow, where we arrived at 19:00.

Not a bad day out for £16!


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