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TRAVEL

Bus Travel
Where is the bus stop? Where is the bus stop? Online bus stop enquiry service - just input your location, road or post code, for a list of bus stops within 1000 meters, select the stop and receive the next ten buses timetabled. The description and the map indicate which side of the road the bus stop details relate to. This site also has by far the most useful bus mapping - it works, no script or flash required- unlike those below- and shows all bus stops within a km of your location (or a specific stop if you prefer). Use the location flag symbols in preference to the blue Google bus stop markers which may be slightly off-place.

Enter a post code, street and town, or bus stop name or sms stop code (eg manjdmgp):

Bus times 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 - use the bus stop location service above for a plain no-script map. Traveline will also offer a PDF form of map.

Online general mapping services now link to UK travel information but require javascript (use the link at the top of the page for none javascript bus stop maps).
Google maps uk -zoom in and then click the blue bus stop icon. Google can offer walking routes as well as bus services select the option Directions. Somewhat imperfect- in 2015 suggested I walk for 30 minutes instead of taking a direct bus due in a few minutes.

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 2nd Jan 2017 and SMA were operating 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:
From: To:
I want to on
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      
Do try not to call Travelines 0871 telephone number which is a premium call- as at 7/15 it cost 12p per minute PLUS the operators charge which may be over 40p per minute- total over 50p per minute! Definitely a premium charge. And they couldn't assist me when I was waiting for buses that never came either. saynoto0870

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)  || 

A useful site is tfgm - formerly GMPTE- timetable page covering all buses in Greater Manchester (timetables in pdf format)- these are the official timetables and you will see that the high frequency services still have the restrictions i "at least every 10 minutes" (no detailed data) and ii No part route services within those ten minutes.
Many South Manchester buses are operated by Stagecoach and some by First, - but their own web sites are utterly unusable. (Incorrect use of css and javascript and images). Regretfully the times of Stagecoach Manchester buses 3rd-6th January 2017 were secret, not available from ANY source- Stagecoach stated "holiday service" which is useless when no details can be found!

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 West inc Chester no longer has its own bus timetables in accessible format. Cheshire East including Crewe and Macclesfield - Most East and many West Cheshire timetables are on other sites and may not be accessible.
Derbyshire Timetables || Lancashire also no longer have their own accessible bus timetables. Flintshire bus timetables

Bus route maps Maps of bus services: Cheshire West local area maps || Cheshire East does not believe in transport maps at all.
Derbyshire || Greater Manchester bus route maps - the large area is split into several overlapping maps.

Lancashire have now joined Cheshire East and ceased to make bus route maps readily available on their web site. They have a javascript only web map that I am unable to use.

Free buses in Greater Manchester::- Important Note: Manchester roads are subject to wholesale closure for tram works, 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. Diversions are usually not indicated on stops. Treat the online maps as indicative and be ready for a long walk.
There are three free buses around Manchester centre, called metroshuttles. NOTE: Route 3 is changing January 2017. Enhanced Christmas services for all routes cease after Christmas.
There is one free circular bus in Bolton, one free circular shuttle bus in Stockport.
tfgm metroshuttle maps

Travelling in Manchester? Note that the tram and rail networks are subject to significant works. The tram service between Piccadilly Station and Victoria Station has been cut back to one tram every 12 minutes (Route Bury-Etihad, Line G) but is augmented by Metroshuttle bus 2 which runs daytime only every 12 minutes. 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. It is best to avoid Manchester or assume an extra hour on your journey and note it is often faster to walk due to severe traffic congestion. Public transport across Manchester in 2017 is not very good.

Twitter feeds for: Stagecoach Manchester    ||   High Peak buses   

UK Train times and fares: CARE- There are a lot of engineering rail closures especially at weekends - and none of the following sites are fully up to date as the track owner is not telling the operators in time. 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 four hours (discovered the hard way...).

When travelling, beware of using the so called "information points" at railway stations. Some of these are operated by National Rail and will only make a time restricted telephone call to their 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. Only the current timetable. The calls are automatically disconnected, usually before you receive any information. After our own nightmare we heard of a family in Norfolk similarly stranded with a no-help-at-all help point who were forced to call the police for assistance when stranded with a young family for several hours and an entirely unhelpful off-shore call-point service. Use a mobile phone or phone kiosk to call the station operator- the number may be on a poster at or near the station.

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.
There are now so many ticket restrictions that National Rail and the train operators themselves are no longer able to cope and the railway computer systems may force train staff to sell you more expensive tickets. Note that a ticket price may only cover one particular train booked at one location at one instant!
It is often cheaper (by a tenner or more sometimes) 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. eg For one particular train from Manchester to Derby, you can save ten pounds by buying a return ticket Stockport-Sheffield and a separate return ticket Sheffield-Derby. After 4pm a Virgin-only return ticket Stockport-Manchester is half the cost of an "any train" return.
On times, be sure to use "check for updates" or "bulletins" for the most recent information. If it goes wrong, remember: if delayed over 30 minutes, have the guard stamp your ticket, keep your ticket, and apply for "compensation", which starts at a minimum of 20% for an hours delay, and depending on operator, may be 100% or rarely more. You may need to contact "Passenger Focus" to resolve problems. The official National Rail (Mobile) website HAS a mobile version but will redirect most devices to the none-mobile site if it doesn't think you really are using a mobile phone.

Enjoy reading Today's UK train delays-and Cleared incidents- note that the 2004 revamp of the site seems to have caused it to miss a lot of serious delays, or report them later. Local North West delays seem almost never to appear. Northern Rail have now contracted out their own journey problem reporting to Journeycheck but they don't always show a resumption of services. Current service updates may be well down the page- search for "service update".

WALES: Also having cancellations not always listed on Nationalrail are Arriva, whose passenger information displays are often wrong, whose information points have none, and whose web site is unuseable. They are also overwhelmed with passenger complaints, in 2015 taking sometimes over six months to respond, well outside their ten working day target. Travel by train in Wales at your own risk! 2016- However... an email to their web supplier seems to have resulted in this Arriva train disruption page. Note however that despite Arriva Wales SAYING they will improve passenger information on disrupted services, they have in reality actually reduced that information and you will often 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.

UK Live Arrival and Departure Boards has the web equivalent of the tv monitors you see at railway stations, giving arrivals and departures in the next few hours. NOTE a train shows as NO REPORT until it passes a reporting point.
From NationalRail but you do need the absolutely correct station name (or code).
Beware of duplicated station names! Do you want Adlington (Lancs) or Adlington (Ches)! Adlington in Lancashire is tlc ADL. Get the three letter code from the site below:

An interesting site with details of booked train paths including freight and steam specials! - this details trains booked to use the line. The train may not run or may be delayed or cancelled. Generally, engineering works will be allowed for a day or two before the journey, but not emergency works. 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.

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. .

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.

"Any permitted route" appears on a lot of tickets - but what routes ARE permitted? Not easy to find out and not all obvious routes are permitted while some odd ones are- 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 permitted. Unfortunately permitted routes seem to be changeable without notice and apparently without any formally recognised procedure.

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


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:
  smart Place OS Grid (E/N)  

Note: Streetmap allows you to enter the OS Landranger reference eg TL356142 using the default smartsearch option. To use the Easting/Northing OS NGR convention eg 535626, 214182 you should select OS grid button above.
Google maps without javascript Google maps without javascript: The image size 640x640 is the maximum, and you cannot move. Zoom level 17 shows bus stops.
Input post code or location with comma separators eg st anns square,manchester or town
Zoom: |
Unfortunately Google maps have seriously out of date and erroneous information- hospitals that closed over a decade ago, roads which on the ground have gates across them, paths with vertical sections... as with satnavs, use with caution. I tend to now use openstreetmap I use the Linux program Marble to access the openstreetmap database.

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.

LINKS TO ART GALLERIES The emphasis here is to link to pages which load fairly quickly and have useful content. And no Javascript or Adobe(tm) obstacles.
Royal Academy || Bolton UK artworks || Manchester UK artworks   ||   artcyclopedia  ||    Victoria and Albert

UK Portrait Gallery    |    Search Wikimedia:

Detroit Publishing Co has a collection of old photos mostly of the USA and is a part of the wider collection at the Library of Congress.

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