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Train vs. car travel in Wales

Pittsburgh...
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Train vs. car travel in Wales

We are flying into Birmingham International Airport and staying in Goodwick, Wales.

I'm having quite the time trying to figure out if it is wiser to take a train or to rent a car at the airport. We prefer train travel, but the train times from BIA to Goodwick are not good. We arrive at 7:00am and the first train isn't until after lunch.

There is an early train to Swansea, where we can rent a car to drive to Goodwick, but getting to Goodwick from there via train will also add a lot of time to the trip.

Can anyone help with the best way to travel in Wales? We always take trains in Italy and France and prefer trains to cars.

Liverpool, United...
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1. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

What date are you travelling on and what website are you using for the train times.

Using www.nationalrail.co.uk and picking a random date in September (not a SUnday though!) there are trains leaving BIA at 8.05 and 8.13 which require changes at Birmingham New Street. You then have the option of getting a train to Newport or Bristol Parkway and changing trains again there.

Whichever route you go you will arrive into Fishguard & Goodwick station at 13.17.

Suffolk, United...
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2. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Hi Murry and welcome,

It depends on what you want to do in Wales.

I love to visit fairly remote places and walk on the hills. A car is essential

If, after arriving in Goodwick you intend to explore just The South Coast then train is fine.

Hiring a car from Birmingham to leave it in Goodwick will mean a hefty one-way fee if it is possible.

Just a few points but no real answers!

Bob

Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Thanks for the responses, travelbob31 and matt_pool. We are arriving 13 Sept. I've been looking at the National Rail site and Arriva Trains. You've both been helpful.

I learned that we can rent a car in Fishguard for day drives here and there, which would work.

None of us have ever driving on (our) wrong side, (your) right side of the road, so I'm considering that a long car drive after an overnight flight would not be the most logical thing!

Are the trains nice? Is it worth upgrading to first class? We usually don't bother.

Oakham, United...
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4. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

But if they miss the 8.13 due to their arrival time, the next one is not until 13:17 - a long wait!

Alas, the fast train routes in the UK are predominantly north/south from London. Cross country routes are often slower and more painful.

This page shows your problem. Fishguard station is small, experimental, and hardly has any trains:

http://fishguardtrains.info/?page_id=143

Here's a map of the rail network which may help too:

nationalrail.co.uk/css/OfficialNationalRailm…

There's another option of train to Aberystwyth and then drive from there.

You coudl probably get a coach/bus as well for the last leg if you wanted?

Cardiff, United...
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5. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Hi Murry08,

Train times from 'Birmingham International to Goodwick' are not your issue. There are regular trains from Birmingham to South Wales which could get you to Cardiff or Swansea in quick order. But there are only seven services per day on the Fishguard branch line which generally connect with ferries arriving at Fishguard.

Don't think you really want to be hiring a car at Birmingham after (presumably?) an overnight transatlantic flight as your arrival time will then put you straight on the M42 in rush hour and that's pretty much a recipe for insanity and/or causing an accident. Whether a car would be desirable for whatever you want to do once in Goodwick depends what that actually is (which you haven't told us, but suspect that you will want one if you want to do anykind of exploration of the area).

You could consider a train from Birmingham to perhaps Cardiff or Swansea, having a day and an overnight stay to relax and recover from the initial tiredness then picking up a car the next morning.

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6. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

You will find life a lot easier with a car and the roads are easy to drive around. There are bus services in Pembs of course and those that follow the coast in summer to link up with the coastal path are v.good; however, they are a lot less frequent in the winter and you will have to accept that the buses may not go to everywhere you want to.The only train line in that part of the world runs East-West between Goodwick and Swansea and Goodwick is the end of the line.

However, you may not be in much of a state to drive after an overnight flight and that is a long drive even for a well-rested driver, so I would either work with the confines of the limited train timetable or add in an extra night's stay no more than 2 hours from the airport if hiring a car. If you look here, it is possible to get there slightly earlier by taking an earlier train to Swansea, taking another local train to Havefordwest and then picking up a local bus service to Goodwick, but you would only save about 2 hours and would expend a lot of sweat lugging cases around.

http://www.traveline-cymru.info/

Even if you did drive, by the time you have passed through immigration, picked up the car, fought your way through early morning traffic, driven for 2 hours, stopped for lunch, and driven another two hours (minimum) you would be unlikley to arrive much before 3pm, so the extra time to get there on the train will not be a lot.

So maybe take the train and hire a car in Goodwick if you feel you need one once you are there.

Pittsburgh...
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7. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Thank you for the insanity information!

I don't even like Pittsburgh's rush hour traffic and it is a small city!

Yes, I am now looking at a train to Swansea, which is a town we wanted to visit anyhow. Once at our vacation cottage in Goodwick we mostly want to walk as much as possible so we can eat as much as possible! We are all four interested in history, so lots of that will take place. None of us care for shopping.

It seems trains from Swansea to Goodwick are easy enough.

Cardiff, United...
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8. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Cross posted with the two above. Aberystwyth is another good shout, and you can get direct trains there from Birmingham International.

Pittsburgh...
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9. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Thank you so much for all that information!

I think everyone's answers have cinched it for taking the train from BIA to Swansea and another from Swansea to Goodwick and just renting a car whatever day we feel the need.

Cannot WAIT to get to Wales!

Pittsburgh...
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10. Re: Train vs. car travel in Wales

Thank you for the helpful information!