02 September 2007

Ballingry, Fife

The Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review is a publication assembled and written by voluntary members; some of whom have the responsibility of producing the magazine and compiling it, whilst others are happy to write occasional articles and to supply news and fleet information while only receiving the 6 copies a year. As it is fundamentally an enthusiast publication, the collective knowledge between all members and the Committee is likely to be vast; each having their own personal preferences and hobbies within the sector. Mine is the current-day bus scene, much of which I keep updated with using trade magazines and online Internet communities, though there's nothing like getting out there and sampling new areas of the UK by local bus to see for oneself exactly what you've been reading about over the past few weeks/months/years.

A friend is leaving Grimsby and moving to Ballingry in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland - it's about 15 mins drive north-east of Dunfermline, a place I'm getting to be quite familiar with. As an employee of the Stagecoach Group plc I'm entitled to a free Staff Pass for travel on practically all their bus services throughout the UK, with the exception of their low-cost
Megabus.com operation. Whilst visiting this friend for the last time before he moves to Scotland, he threw down the challenge to me to travel to his new address using Stagecoach local bus services only, thus making my journey free of charge. I've never really made a concerted effort to do this before - often I'll have thought that, say, Grimsby-Oxford by Stagecoach local buses is possible, but never put pen to paper (or cursor to website). This evening I did and below is how it is possible to get from Grimsby-Ballingry for free using by Stagecoach Staff Pass:

Day 1 (yes, it involves an overnight stay in the centre of Lancaster)

0640 Grimsby bus station - Stagecoach Connect 3
0825 Lincoln City bus station

0900 Lincoln City bus station - Stagecoach service 46
1018 Newark bus station

1055 Newark bus station - Stagecoach service 29
1204 Mansfield bus station

1230 Mansfield bus station - Pronto, operated jointly between Stagecoach & trent barton
1300 Chesterfield New Beetwell Street

1330 Chesterfield New Beetwell Street - Stagecoach service 17
1405 Matlock bus station

1437 Matlock bus station - trent barton Transpeak (Stagecoach passes valid)
1645 Manchester Central coach station

1745 Manchester Central coach station - Stagecoach service X61
1900 Preston bus station

1925 Preston bus station - Stagecoach service 40 (changing to 42 at Garstang)
2032 Lancaster bus station

Day 2

1020 Lancaster bus station - Stagecoach service 555
1256 Keswick bus station

1325 Keswick bus station - Stagecoach service 554
1435 Carlisle bus station

1530 Carlisle The Courts - Stagecoach service 179
1703 Dumfries Whitesands

1720 Dumfries Whitesands - Stagecoach service 974
1925 Glasgow Buchanan bus station

1945 Glasgow Buchanan bus station - Stagecoach service X26
2053 Dunfermline bus station

2100 Dunfermline bus station - Stagecoach service 19
2147 Ballingry bus turning circle

Highlights of the route include the very picturesque Service 17 between Chesterfield-Matlock (I used to drive this route in 2000) and the 'LakesLink 555' service between Lancaster-Kendal via the Lake District - a route I've hitherto travelled on. I understand a Neoplan decker is often used on Stagecoach Western's service 974 and that Volvo B7R coaches are used on most journeys on service X26; the B7Rs being a chassis I've never travelled on and Dumfries a place I've never been to before.

It's quite a two-day jaunt and probably better to do in the summer months with the longer days. The relevance to the LEYTR area? None, though it will be quite an interesting journey to look back on so if I undertake it I'll add it to this blog.