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TRAVEL       

IMPORTANT: Frequent timetable changes are causing difficulties for online sources. The operators own website should be up to date but may not be very accessible. Stagecoach will be reducing and cancelling a number of services from 1st September.

FACE COVERING IS "MANDATORY" FROM 15/6/2020- Manchester Trams can issue on the spot fines. Buses can do nothing. Observe whatever guidelines may be in place on the day and in the place.

Bus Travel

Bus times

IMPORTANT- MARCH 2020: Bus services subject to further changes. Online journey planners are struggling to keep up to date. . Buses may display "BUS FULL" and fail to stop when around 50% of seats are occupied. FACE COVERINGS MANDATORY FROM 15/6/2020.

Most buses now accept the use of contactless cards for payment.

Jump to Timetables links
Most regionalised "Traveline" sites to the South of Cheshire offer national cross boundary journies by using the data sets from other regions. The main none-regional "traveline" front page now offers a javascript only minimized experience (without notice to the regional sites).

I have included a form to use for National journies. Most of the journey data is fairly up to date but some elements (bus stop locations) may not be refreshed for some months. Live bus journey problems are only covered by individual operator web sites or twitter feeds.

Many map services require javascript. Traveline will also offer a PDF form of map.

Immediately below, an input form for East Midlands England traveline for journeys to and from anywhere. They have restricted fare and timetable information. See next section for other timetables. Warning Beware the "towards" indications from Traveline, to travel from Stockport to Stepping Hill they suggest a bus "towards Manchester" - WRONG! Try "away from Manchester" instead. Traveline depends upon data supplied via a national arrangement and some sources may supply incorrect or corrupt files from time to time. Few operating SMA (Manchester) buses were listed for January and there were top secret timetables Jan 3rd to 6th- not even available on their own website leaving many people waiting for buses that were not running. Many bus diversions occur (sometimes for weeks) without any local notice or advice to Traveline.

National Journey Details National coverage from Traveline East Midlands: NOTE: May not be current due to short notice timetable changes at this time. Train services probably NOT correct.
IMPORTANT: traveline INSISTS on giving you train times when you don't want them, and prioritising them to bus times. If you see a train service, there may also be unreported bus services. sigh.
From: To:
I want to on (NOTE date format!!)
at
You can plan journeys from and to a postcode, postal address, town or village, named station or stop, or point of interest, but do NOT include the name of the County.
Means Of Transport      

BUS TIMETABLES
A lovely html (scrapable) format of timetable is available from the regional traveline websites, but only for their area, not nationwide. Here are some timetable resources:
East Midlands (places South of Cheshire and Yorkshire excluding TfL London area) - NOTE: May not be current due to short notice timetable changes at this time. 

Bustimes.org My primary timetable source- kept remarkably up to date but still struggling with the "emergency" changes- on 18th July it refused to believe there was a TP bus from Buxton to Matlock! (Timetable was available on the operators website).

Transport for Greater Manchester:
Bus route numbers and times displayed at bus stops in Greater Manchester are extremely unreliable at this time. Due to restricted server configuration in March 2020 I can no longer see TfGM web pages here directly. NOTE: Travelling in Manchester late December/early January? Reduced bus service, timetables known only to operators! NOT public.
Many South Manchester buses are operated by Stagecoach- but their own web site is mostly unusable, no accessible options and javascript required.

The old county of Cheshire was split in two in 2009 (on 1st April no less) and subsequently subsidised bus services virtually disappeared, notably journies to neighbouring counties almost ceased.

Cheshire no longer has its own bus timetables in accessible format. There are almost no buses anyway. Vast swathes of the the UK now have no buses at all, many only one a week!
Derbyshire Timetables || Lancashire also no longer have their own accessible bus timetables. Flintshire bus timetables

Bus route maps Maps of bus services (NOTE These maps may not show the latest route or service changes.):
Cheshire no longer has bus route maps in accessible format (very hostile council).||  Derbyshire is considerably out of date! Most buses marked no longer run.
Greater Manchester area bus route maps are split into large areas, the maps are enormous (7MB plus) pdf documents. May also be a month or so out of date. If you know the bus route number, the timetable (SEE ABOVE) includes a rough map.

Free buses in Greater Manchester::- Important Note: Manchester roads are subject to wholesale closure for road works and special events. The shuttle buses divert without notice (in one case for 5 months) and without any indication of diverted routes. Cessation of routes for events may be marked on stops. but diversions are usually not indicated on stops. Treat the online maps as indicative and be ready for a long walk.
Manchester- from 20/7/2020, Three circular routes with complex timetabling!. Piccadilly to Victoria BLUE (2), Victoria back to Piccadilly GREEN (3)- route 3 does not run on a Sunday and is not as frequent as the tram. Generally you need to pay for tram travel, there are exceptions.
Route 1 (Pink) Every 10 mins Mon-Sat (Sunday 12 mins) til 7.15 (Sunday 6pm).
Route 2 (blue): Daytime every 10 mins (Sunday 12 mins), til 7pm. Late evening (not Sunday) every 20 mins (Sat 15 mins) til 11.30pm.
Route 3 (Green)- Mon-Fri every 20 minutes til 11.30pm, Saturday every 15 mins til 11.30pm. .
Manchester Centre tfgm Free Bus inc map   
There is one free circular bus in Bolton, Mon-Sat every 15 mins, 9am to 5pm, details are on TfGM - Bolton . NOTE: Stockport's free bus cancelled from 28/4/2019.

Travelling in Greater Manchester there are several special offers available to: holders of train season tickets; holders of old-age passes when issued in Greater Manchester and an annual supplement is paid (trains and trams within the county, ten pounds a year); the Greater Manchester Child Concessionary fare (5-15) requires proof of age AND residence, which must be provided by an I-go plastic card ticket. Don't shout at the bus driver- it is a TFGM rule!

Trams are subject to frequent bus replacement which is not always clearly indicated or signposted. The tram web site can be wrong. Additionally, there are frequent road closures and bus diversions in Manchester (the Council close the city centre frequently for any reason at all!). It is best to avoid Manchester or assume an extra hour on your journey and note it is usually faster to walk due to severe traffic congestion.

Twitter feeds for: Stagecoach Manchester    ||   High Peak buses    ||   Metrolink trams

Manchester Trams    manchester metrolink fare zones map.    ||   Metrolink accurate map (geographical instead of stylistic).
Zonal fares are based on all the zones you travel through so Altrincham to Bury is 1+2+3+4. "Return" tickets are now all day tickets you can use as often as you wish.
NOTE that some tram routes differ on a Sunday or if there is disruption or work- the info at stops almost tells you this but Manchester Metrolink are spectacularly poor at communications. Some routes shown are part time only, and again the details are a closely guarded secret.
There are no return tram fares from Jan 2019, tickets valid all day are only a few pence more than a single if you buy them after 9.30am and there are weekend tickets (from 6pm Friday) and family tickets which are good value. Fares are zoned 1-2-3-4. Actually getting onto a tram can be difficult sometimes.
6/4/2020: Trams run Mon-Sat every 10 minutes from 22nd June 2020 (less frequent Sundays and evenings). FACE COVERINGS MANDATORY FROM 15/6/2020. On the spot fines may be issued to anyone not masked. Observe distancing guidance.

If using "contactless" cards for travel, you must use the same card/device to start and end your journey- otherwise it may cost you £14. If you fail to start your journey using contactless, and are checked by staff mid journey, the cost is £30, but the staff will not know and not be able to tell you. Contactless is ONLY for travel on one day and using paper tickets or the app may be cheaper if weekend or regular travel is involved. NOTE: ONLY paper tickets can be used if you are paying for more than one person.

ANIMALS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON METROLINK TRAMS (except very special prebooked medical journies) - you can usually take your dog on a bus or train, but they are not allowed on the trams. Assistance dogs are permitted but may find the often highly crowded conditions unduly stressful. Consider alternatives if you have any travel difficulties.

UK Train times and fares: Face coverings mandatory from 15/6/220. Some services are booked seats only. Do not sit in seats marked as out of use.
The text first then the links will follow- JUMP to the links:

Dark Nights: Carry a torch as many stations maintained(???) especially by Northern are frequently without any lighting. Also a number of lifts are often out of order for months at a time.

Penalty fares are in place at many stations and on many routes. In some places you are required to use a card to purchase a ticket (ticket machines have no cash slots) and some tickets can ONLY be purchased with smart phones.. Some operators require or advise seats are booked.

CARE- Treat all sources of information with doubt especially if your journey is more than a week in the future! Take plenty of food and drink as even a local one hour journey could end up taking six hours (discovered the hard way...). Train services are now highly unreliable.

Check shortly before travelling and assume regular cancellations. Do not rely on making any connections. Don't expect information or help. In the event of an incident affecting travel it is sometimes best to wait a while as management decisions made immediately may be changed several times in a half an hour- cancelled trains are sometimes reinstated or special services found. Some initial advice may not be the best- if told to catch a taxi at your expense, push for something better but expect to wait.

When travelling, beware of using the so called "information points" at railway stations. Calls are a time restricted telephone call to an off-shore call centre, where English is poor, and information is less than is available on line. They can offer no assistance if you need help and no information on any operating problems. The calls are automatically disconnected, usually before you receive any information. Try a mobile call to the station operator- the number may be on a poster at or near the station. Expect to be stranded.

Note that in 2018/19 operators have been avoiding reporting cancelled trains by simply reissuing the timetable a few hours beforehand, you need to check and recheck.

You could find yourself on a bus you didn't know about (or standing on a platform as a replacement bus whizzes past outside!) or stranded in the middle of uninhabited countryside with no assistance.

Note that a ticket price may only cover one particular train booked at one location at one instant! It may be cheaper to split your ticket, especially if you can move a portion of the journey out of peak hours, reduce cross county boundary journeys, or take advantage of greater discounts for shorter journies. NOTE travelling by train within Greater Manchester 1. there is both a morning and evening (4-6.30pm)peak, and 2. Greater Manchester has a secret child train fare of 80p for any journey for a child (5-15) with a full-fare paying adult.

If it goes wrong, remember: if delayed over 15 minutes (newer franchises only eg Wales and Northern- minimums vary), apply for "compensation", which starts at a minimum of 20% for an hours delay, and depending on operator, may be 100% or rarely more (our record is 600%). You may need to contact "Passenger Focus" to resolve problems (we have had to). Update 11/18: Passenger Focus decisions were not enforceable- therefore a binding arbitration procedure has been introduced for SOME problems after 1st December which remain unresolved after 8 weeks with a possibility of £2,500 maximum compensation. They will deal with any complaint under the control of the operator- which will include failure to honour delay repay conditions, but NOT penalty fares (there is separate arbitration for those).


To resolve most railway travel problems (not penalty fares) see the arbitration procedure from the Rail Ombudsman.

NORTHERN RAILWAYS EMERGENCY TIMETABLES - the most up to date available.

March 2020 Train services are reduced and subject to further reduction / cancellation for the duration. Check on the day of travelling. Is your journey essential?- please observe NHS guidance.

To access the official railway data, no javascript or cookies required- use Accessible UK Train Timetables which has the full official data -as up to date as exists for times- but for fares, there are severe problems with the web site for some journeys.

Today's UK train delays which only covers major disruption -and Cleared incidents-

UK Live Train Arrival and Departure Boards gives arrivals and departures in the next few hours. NOTE a train shows as NO REPORT until it passes a reporting point. From Traintimes -as NationalRail website is discriminatory.
Beware of duplicated station names! Do you want Adlington (Lancs) or Adlington (Ches)!

Check your trains progress::
With details of booked train paths including freight and steam specials from Realtimetrains. The train may not run or may be delayed or cancelled or rerouted. The headcode (eg 1G45) indicates the class of train- starting with a 1 or 2 for passenger, and 4,6,7,8 for freight while 5 is empty carriages. The Ind code may be Working TimeTable(WTT), Variation (VAR), Short Term (special- generally needs up to an hour to be passed around the system once started) (STP), or CANcelled. Click on the headcode for route information. Enter a station, site or junction name. Pass means it passes the point without stopping. NR means No Report- if you see this at a station the train is meant to stop at, the train may have been diverted at short notice.

As an alternative, requiring javascript to work but with more data than the above- Open Rail (Charlwood House) live rail - requires TIPLOC code or station 3 letter code for best results (see next link). The best for tracking route diversions- you need to locate the train on its scheduled route then select the train to find out where it really went.

Twitter feeds for: Northern Rail    ||   Metrolink (Manchester)

The official National Rail website

Station codes - eg three letter station (TLS) codes used for example by manual ticket office or train crew machines, useful if you are told they can't issue a ticket to a station. For example in Manchester a ticket to TLC/CRS/NRS MCZ (which may print on the ticket as Manchester CTLZ) includes travel on central zone Metrolink trams from your central Manchester rail station of choice to the city centre. TLC codes originally referred (as CRS or NRS) to Reservation Systems and are now used under the generic title "three letter codes" for station locations.
The NLC code for Manchester with central Metrolink travel is 0451 (sometimes as 045100), compared to Manchester Stations which is 0438. Link to Phil's web site with list of CRS (aka TLC and also NRS), NLC, TIPLOC and STANOX codes. .

Here is a use where three letter station codes are used in a URL:
http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/timesandfares/SOP/PBL/tomorrow/1600/dep
format: Three letter codes from /to. tomorrow or today. Time starting. dep or arr.

Railway fares in the UK are a nightmare, and very often the headline price - the one you will probably be charged- is not the cheapest fare available, despite regulations to the contrary. You can also lose a lot of money in penalty fares if you accidentally get on a train not appropriate to the fare you have paid- and it is very none obvious. While I don't like linking to sites that require javascript, hurrah for a US based website that gives FULL details of ticket restrictions and fares.

What routes ARE permitted? Not easy to find out and not all obvious routes are permitted while some odd ones are- in theory if National Rail suggest a route and DO NOT say separate tickets are required, a route is permitted- but the usual dislocations may amend this for short periods of time! Official ATOC routeing guide to the rescue. A set of PDF files which, if you work through them carefully and as directed will tell you just how complex routeing really is - and what is and isn't permitted. Be sure to check the "easements" section as some are negative easements, forbidding journeys more generally or logically permitted. Unfortunately permitted routes seem to be changeable without notice and apparently without any formally recognised procedure.


If you are in the UK and going abroad, an extremely useful - essential- web site to look to is the UK Foreign Office travel advice section - (free FO publications).

MAPS A map always comes in handy.
streetmap.co.uk Try this friendly and fast no-javascript option:
(No Javascript navigation: You move the map by clicking the arrows around the borders, zoom using clicking the different lengths of white line: shorter line= zoom in!)
  Post Code Place OS Grid (E/N)  
To use the Easting/Northing OS NGR convention eg 535626, 214182 you should select OS grid button above.

Mapping with javascript required and footpaths well shown from Opencyclemap.org
The icon in top right of the map allows you to change the appearance of the map tiles.

Still requiring Javascript is viamichelin
Note- footpaths will appear when the scale logo at bottom left shows 300m or less.

In 1998, 2002, 04, 06,08, 10 and 2012 holidays were in North Wales. Be sure to check out a lovely listed building at risk- Castle Lodge, Ludlow

If you are looking for UK tourist information, best of luck, there are many content-less web sites out there with just a few really useful ones for specific localities. Generally I find the various UK tourist information centres something of a waste of space, the useful TIC is a rarity to be treasured.


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