Tuesday, 24 December 2013

X77: Glasgow - Ayr


The X77 is a coach/bus hybrid connecting Scotland's biggest city with Robbie Burns' hometown by the sea. See a full route map here. It runs every 30 minutes Mon-Sat daytimes and hourly evenings and Sundays. There is also an hourly all-night service on Friday and Saturday nights. Click here to discover other bus routes in Scotland.


The section between Glasgow and Kilmarnock also has route X76 which combines with the X77 to give a higher combined frequency. They are both operated by Stagecoach.


Ayr

Scotland's first parliament was held in Ayr. But it is probably even better known for being the birthplace of the poet Robbie Burns. You can even visit the cottage where he was born.

Creative commons, via Wikipedia

There's not just a cottage, but also a museum nearby.


To get to the museum, use Stagecoach 8 from Ayr High Street, but note the different route numbers in use in the evenings and on Sundays.

On weekday mornings, a couple of X77 journeys pass nearby the Burns Mueseum:

The blue star is Ayr bus station.

Click for other things to see and do in Ayr. Most of the X77's journeys from Ayr start from stance (that's the scottish word for 'stop' or 'stand') 11 at the bus station:


Here's the route the X77 then takes towards Glasgow:

The blue star is Ayr Bus Station.

Prestwick

Prestwick was once a separate town but is now a suburb of Ayr. It's best known for its airport, which goes by the name of Glasgow Prestwick.

The X77 uses these stops on the A79 beneath the covered footbridge that connects the airport terminal with the airport's railway station:


Kilmarnock

The X77 only serves Kilmarnock in the evenings and very early on Saturday mornings. During the day, Kilmarnock is connected to Glasgow by the X76. The town is known for being the birthplace of Johnnie Walker whisky. While here, why not visit Dean Castle Country Park?

Here's the way the X77 goes. Both routes are shown on this map: daytime services by-pass and evening journeys serve Kilmarnock:


Those journeys that do run through Kilmarnock use this route through the town centre:


Here's the bus station, where the X77 calls in the evenings:


Fenwick

Fenwick is a tiny village, famous for its Weavers' Society, regarded by many as the world's first co-operative. It's a lot prettier than Rochdale, I'll give it that! It lies just before the end of the M77 motorway, which the X77 takes all the way to Glasgow.


The X77 stops not in the village centre, but at unmarked stops right by the motorway...


Most buses on the X77 come off the motorway to serve Fenwick. The only ones that stay on the motorway and don't stop are weekday morning peak journeys towards Glasgow and weekday evening peak journeys away from Glasgow. Southbound journeys stop on this slip road directly off the M77:


... and northbound journeys stop on the other side of the bridge and right at the roundabout on the A77:


As an alternative, Stagecoach route 4 runs through the village centre, but it takes longer to get to Glasgow than the X77 does.

Glasgow

Glasgow City Chambers. Image by Kim Traynor, published on Wikipedia and used under creative commons.

Those with taste regard Glasgow as Scotland's real capital. You won't be bored here: here's three to see:




Click here for more ideas of things to see and do in Glasgow. The X77's route in the city centre runs like this:


The blue arrows mark the route of the few journeys in the weekday peaks that terminate at the university of Glasgow:


All other journeys serve Buchanan Bus Station, one of the biggest in the country. The X77 leaves from stance 4.


If you'd rather not negotiate the bus station, you can also catch the X77 from the stops on Bath Street:


... Wellington Street:


... and Waterloo Street:


Times

You can see the full timetable for the X77 on Stagecoach's website.

Here are your links for live scheduled departure boards at major stops towards Glasgow:



...and back towards Ayr:



Fares


The only day ticket that really allows you to explore the towns along the X77's route is the SPT Daytripper. It's valid after 9am weekdays and all day at weekends and gives you complete freedom of all trains and most buses (including those of Stagecoach, who run the X77) plus the Glasgow Subway in the area shown on this map, which includes the whole of route X77. It costs £11.20 for one adult and up to two children or £19.80 for two adults and up to four children. It can't be bought on the bus though, only from staffed rail stations, online or from SPT Travel Centres, including the one at Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow.


Single and return fares are available to buy on the bus. Some fares are listed here.



Ayr Plusbus tickets are valid on the X77 between Ayr and Prestwick Airport.

Connections

Major connections from Ayr with Stagecoach:

  • 8 to The Loaning for the Burns Museum
  • 14 to Troon and Irvine
  • 58/60/358/360 to Girvan and Stranraer
  • 585 to Greenock


Major connections from Kilmarnock with Stagecoach:

  • X16 to Hamilton
  • X76 to Cumnock


Major connections from Glasgow with First:

  • 24, X39 to Stirling
  • 27, X27 to Falkirk
  • 1B to Helensburgh

... plus there's McGill's X7 to Greenock

The X77 passes by the following railway stations. Click the station name for a scheduled departure list:


Here's how the X77 (marked in red) fits in to the Central Scotland rail map:


It also passes near to Buchanan Street station on the Glasgow Subway.

Alternatives

Between Ayr and Kilmarnock, you can also use routes X16, 4 and 444.
Between Kilmarnock and Glasgow, you can also use routes X76 and 4.
The 4 serves the full length of the X77's route, but with some variations and it doesn't use the motorway, so a journey to or from Glasgow will take a lot longer and won't cost you any less. All of these buses are operated by Stagecoach.

The other alternative is the train. See the rail map above for an idea of exactly where the trains go. Find timetables here and fares here. The SPT Daytripper ticket is also valid on the train, so you could get the bus one way and return by train or vice versa. If you want to use the train only, an anytime adult single is currently £7.80, an off-peak (after 0900 weekdays) adult day return is £10.40 and an anytime adult day return is £14.00.

All of the information in this post is correct at the time of writing, but please check the relevant links before travelling.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

10: Newcastle - Hexham


Route 10 connects the city of what feels like a thousand bridges with a pretty town not far from Hadrian's Wall. Buses run every half an hour Monday to Saturday daytimes and hourly evenings and Sundays, but parts of the route nearer to Newcastle have a more frequent service. It's operated by Go North East and is one of their flagship routes. Click here to discover other bus routes in the North East.



The full route diagram can be seen on Go North East's website, but here are extracts of the sections in Tyne & Wear:


... and Northumberland:


Newcastle


In my mind Newcastle vies with only Bristol for the title of England's best looking city. To be honest Newcastle just about pips it on the strength of its bridges over the Tyne and the splendour of Grey Street.


While here, why not catch a film at the famous Tyneside Cinema or visit the Discovery Museum?


The 10 departs from stand D at Eldon Square Bus Station in the heart of the city.


Metrocentre


One of the biggest out-of-town shopping centres in the UK, check out Metrocentre's website to see what you can do there. The centre has its own bus and rail interchange, with the 10 using stand E towards Hexham and stand L towards Newcastle.


Blaydon

Blaydon is known for its races. The 10 stops at the bus station, stand B towards Hexham and stand D towards Newcastle.


Ryton

Ryton is a relatively wealthy commuter town. The main bus stop is on Main Road at Ryton Church. Buses towards Hexham stop by Coffee Johnny's. Why not stop for a cup?:


... and buses to Newcastle stop opposite the Post Office:


Crawcrook

In Crawcrook, the 10 stops outside the Fox & Hounds.


Prudhoe

We've now left Tyne & Wear (for which Nexus no longer produce any bus route maps) and entered the county of Northumberland (bus map of this corner of the county here) as we arrive in Prudhoe. If you fancy a splash then get off the bus here for Waterworld.


The 10 towards Hexham stops on Front Street outside The Chair Centre:


... and towards Newcastle it stops outside G&S Electricals:


Mickley


Mickley is home to Jiggery Pokery, a shop and tea room. The 10 towards Hexham stops right outside (see the bus stop flag to the left of the shop), towards Newcastle it stops opposite.


Stocksfield

Photo by Jack Pearce, found on Wikipedia. Used under Creative Commons

Rowan Atkinson of Mr Bean fame used to live in Stocksfield and probably used the 10 a few times. He probably used to wait at this stop on the A695 opposite the railway station for buses towards Hexham:


... or over the road at this one for buses to Newcastle:


Corbridge

After passing through Riding Mill, we come to Corbridge, which was first settled by the Romans. You can still visit the remains of the Roman town, which are looked after by English Heritage.


The 10 pops north of the Tyne briefly to stop on a one-way loop outside the Off The Wall gallery on Hill Street in both directions:


Hexham

At long last we arrive in Hexham, where there is plenty to see and do. How about a look around the Abbey?


Hexham bus station is on Priestpopple, right in the centre of town. The 10 back to Newcastle goes from stand A.


Times

See the full timetable for the 10 on one of these sites:
Here are your links to live timetable departure boards for major bus stops towards Hexham:


...and back towards Newcastle:


Fares


The cheapest day ticket that is valid throughout route 10 is the Go North East all zones Buzzfare at £7.60 for an adult. It is valid on all Go North East buses. Cheaper versions are also available, but they are limited to certain zones. One that covers only the Tyne & Wear section of the 10 (Go North East's Purple zone) costs £4.65.


If you also need to use buses of other operators, then you should ask for a North East Explorer ticket, which is £9.30 for an adult.


If you've only travelling within Tyne & Wear but also want to use other operators' buses, then use a Day Rover Ticket at £6.80.


If arriving in the region by train, then Plusbus tickets can be bought with your train ticket. See full details on the Plusbus website. The Newcastle Plusbus is valid on the 10 from Eldon Square to Stella. The Hexham Plusbus is not much use on the 10 as it's only valid for a few stops from the Bus Station.

Connections

Diagram of route 10 and major connecting bus routes. Not to scale, vastly simplified. Red routes operated by Go North East, green routes are run by other operators.

From Newcastle City Centre you can connect with buses in all directions. These are just a few of the most major routes:


Eldon Square, where the 10 terminates in central Newcastle is not far from Monument station on the Tyne & Wear Metro.

The 10 then passes Newcastle Central station, which has trains in all directions (live departures, departure list, fares) in addition to being a station on the Metro.

From the Metrocentre Interchange, you can catch the following major bus routes:


The Interchange also contains a railway station on the Newcastle to Carlisle line. The 10 passes near to many stations on the line, including the one in Hexham. Here's a map of the train line with the stations on or near the 10's route highlighted:


See the full timetable for this rail line here. Details of rail fares to and from any station in Britain can be found here.

Use the following links for live railway departure boards:


Use these links for a full list of the day's scheduled rail departures from the following stations:


From Hexham Bus Station, connect with the 685 to Carlisle operated jointly by Arriva and Stagecoach.

Also calling at Hexham is the AD122 Hadrian's Wall tourist bus, which only runs during the summer months. When it does run, it links Hexham with Carlisle via various major tourist destinations along Hadrian's Wall.


Alternatives

As we've just seen, the train provides an alternative way of getting between Newcastle and Hexham. An adult single ticket is £6.40, off-peak day return £6.90 and a peak return is £7.70. Two adults can travel off-peak for just £10.30 day return with a Northern Duo ticket. Full fare details here.

There are a few other bus services that also run between Newcastle and Hexham, but via different routes:
All of the information in this post is correct at the time of writing, but please check the relevant links before travelling.