Trivia: Rail services duplicated entirely by bus routes

PTR 444

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A thought the other day about the implications of integrated bus and rail travel got me thinking: How many rail services are there in the UK which also have a bus route running alongside it for its entire length? To qualify, the bus route must run in the same general direction as the rail route, although it does not exactly have to serve every single settlement that the train serves.

The best example in my area is the Island Line, as not only do Southern Vectis routes 2 and 3 serve all the settlements that the railway does, but the buses even stop right next door to the majority of the stations and the rest (except Smallbrook Junction) are within walking distance.

Currently the bus and train compete against each other, although there has been a lot of talk on the forum suggesting that the Island Line should be integrated with the Southern Vectis bus network. While this is good in theory, I do wonder whether such a move would make the bus service unviable between Ryde and Shanklin, as it would not be serving anywhere different to the train.
 
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RailUK Forums

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A couple of buses run from Liverpool to Southport and apart from a handful of places they aren't miles apart. I expect there's a few on Merseyside such as Liverpool to New Brighton, to West Kirkby, Ormskirk etc.
 

HughT

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So far as I can remember, not having been up there since early March 2020 (!), Fort William-Mallaig (operated by Shiel) fits your criteria.
 

zwk500

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The Brighton-Lewes Shuttle is paralleled by Brighton & Hove Buses number 28/29. The bus goes from Churchill Square and doesn't serve Brighton Station (about 10-15 mins walk apart), it also avoids London road station but does serve the Moulscombe area as well as Falmer and Lewes itself. After Lewes, the 29 goes to Uckfield and some run through to Tunbridge Wells serving the same towns as the train between Uckfield and Eridge (although it's pretty far from the line on this section).
 

Jurg

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Several bus services running along the Coventry - Bedworth - Nuneaton axis, and several running on the Coventry - Kenilworth - Leamington axis.

These days the two rail services have been joined together Monday to Saturday, and there's no regular bus serving the whole corridor. The rail services are however still split at Coventry on Sundays, and compete with the buses.
 

rob.rjt

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Windsor to Slough and return is duplicated by Courtney Buses route 2. The bus is slower, taking 17 minutes to cover what the train does in 6, but the journey start and end points are almost entirely equivalent.
 

Taunton

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One of the issues that led to the end of local rail services around Taunton was the only bus routes at the time from the town that were regular interval was those which paralleled the railway - to Wellington, Bridgwater/Highbridge, Wiveliscombe, etc.
 

Mat17

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There used to be the X32 bus which ran from Sheffield-Leeds via Barnsley & Wakefield, just like the train service (the bus was at times quicker as it ran direct down the motorway between Barnsley & Meadowhall, beating the stopper train service). Then Northern arrived and introduced an express train service and the bus service eventually got canned.

So I guess rail doesn't always lose out to road.
 

Bletchleyite

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A couple of buses run from Liverpool to Southport and apart from a handful of places they aren't miles apart. I expect there's a few on Merseyside such as Liverpool to New Brighton, to West Kirkby, Ormskirk etc.

The 311 (number may have changed) sort of duplicates the Ormskirk line but moves a fair way away from it at a number of points, particularly as it gets closer to the city centre but also around Maghull and Lydiate, so still does have value.

The Conwy Valley is a decent example - the X19/T19 is basically an additional train diagram or two but with a bus.
 

plugwash

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Buxton to Manchester used to have the TP bus running pretty much paralell. But the Manchester to Buxton section of the TP seems to have been cut and the 199 while paralleling most of the route turns towards the airport at stockport.
 

alangla

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Citylink’s 900 from Glasgow to Edinburgh stops either outside or a (relatively) short distance from: Glasgow Queen Street, Easterhouse, Edinburgh Park, Haymarket and Edinburgh Waverley. It passes right by Uphall station but it’s on the M8 & can’t stop. That’s roughly the same route as the Glasgow to Edinburgh via Airdrie route.
 

61653 HTAFC

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There used to be the X32 bus which ran from Sheffield-Leeds via Barnsley & Wakefield, just like the train service (the bus was at times quicker as it ran direct down the motorway between Barnsley & Meadowhall, beating the stopper train service). Then Northern arrived and introduced an express train service and the bus service eventually got canned.

So I guess rail doesn't always lose out to road.
Indeed there used to be the 503 from Huddersfield to Bradford via Halifax, but this now terminates at Halifax. I'm not sure if it ended because of the new rail service starting, but they happened around the same time. The bus served Elland which had its station cancelled due to costs, but didn't serve Brighouse which did reopen.
 
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197 passes East Croydon and Norwood Junction. For a while it ran only between Croydon and Norwood Jct, in effect little more than 1 stop on the train. It now makes its way north and is not too far from Anerley, Penge West and Sydenham and right next to Forest Hill. The 312 passes both stations as well (passes E Croydon and stops at Norwood Jct) and is not far from South Croydon.

There will be plenty of others in London, though my favourite is the 77 which serves Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clpaham Junction and Earlsfield via a number of intermediate spots.
 

RT4038

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A thought the other day about the implications of integrated bus and rail travel got me thinking: How many rail services are there in the UK which also have a bus route running alongside it for its entire length? To qualify, the bus route must run in the same general direction as the rail route, although it does not exactly have to serve every single settlement that the train serves.

The best example in my area is the Island Line, as not only do Southern Vectis routes 2 and 3 serve all the settlements that the railway does, but the buses even stop right next door to the majority of the stations and the rest (except Smallbrook Junction) are within walking distance.

Currently the bus and train compete against each other, although there has been a lot of talk on the forum suggesting that the Island Line should be integrated with the Southern Vectis bus network. While this is good in theory, I do wonder whether such a move would make the bus service unviable between Ryde and Shanklin, as it would not be serving anywhere different to the train.
However, the bus serves many more stops than the train (many a fair distance walk from a railway station), so isn't it really the train service that is superfluous?

Generally speaking railways do not do local services very conveniently and economically outside of fairly dense urban areas.
 

Sleepy

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All the branch lines in Norfolk have comparable bus routes, Great Yarmouth station being 10 minute walk to town centre loses custom to First bus for travellers only going to Norwich. The opposite applies to mainline from Norwich - Diss / Ipswich with much faster journey times the Norwich - Ipswich bus route disappeared quite a few years ago. Sheringham line quite interesting - large no. of free bus pass aged folk seem to use it regularly.
 

Andyh82

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Indeed there used to be the 503 from Huddersfield to Bradford via Halifax, but this now terminates at Halifax. I'm not sure if it ended because of the new rail service starting, but they happened around the same time. The bus served Elland which had its station cancelled due to costs, but didn't serve Brighouse which did reopen.
Well no, because the route was completely different to what the train service does now, and nobody would have used it to go Huddersfield to Bradford or probably Halifax to Bradford for that matter.
 

Glenn1969

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It went to Bradford via Ovenden, Illingworth and Thornton

The 549 mirrors Huddersfield to Halifax via Brighouse though
 

Cardiff123

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The Cardiff Central to Penarth branch is replicated by the Cardiff Bus 92/93/94 bus routes (which all run on exactly the same route between Cardiff & Penarth), and it's followed almost exactly by the buses between Grangetown & Penarth.
The bus and rail routes are so identical that during times of disruption and engineering works, ATW used to, and now TfW often don't bother putting on rail replacement buses and just agree ticket acceptance with Cardiff Bus.
 

London Trains

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In south London:

The 155 parallels the Northern Line between Tooting Broadway - Tooting Bec - Balham - Clapham South - Clapham Common - Clapham North - Stockwell - Oval - Kennington - Elephant and Castle.

The 470 stops at Sutton, Cheam, Ewell East and Epsom stations.

The 213 stops at Kingston (bus station next to the station), Norbiton (close enough) and New Malden stations.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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First’s D1 linking Salisbury with Bath calls at both stations plus stops close to Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon stations. Only Dilton Marsh, Avoncliff and Freshford are missed out.

Faresaver’s X31 serves both Bath Spa and Chippenham stations.
 

tspaul26

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263 between Altrincham and Piccadilly Gardens runs parallel to Manchester Metrolink for most of its route.

X38 between Stirling and Edinburgh.
 

lancededcena

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In Essex, the 71 from Colchester to Chelmsford runs alongside the GEML between Colchester (Town) and Chelmsford stations stopping at every settlement served by the train line.
 

D6130

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In West Yorkshire/Lancashire/Greater Manchester the Calder Valley lines are paralleled by the First Halifax route 590 (Halifax-Todmorden-Rochdale) and 592 (Halifax-Todmorden-Burnley) which, although they don't serve Sowerby Bridge or Smithy Bridge, stop less than five minutes walk from the other stations on the lines. As a minor point of historical interest, the local bus services in Todmorden used to be operated by a joint committee comprising the local council and the LMS Railway (latterly BR). This led to the early closure of some of the smaller stations such as Eastwood, Cornholme, Portsmouth and Walsden....although the latter was subsequently reopened under the auspices of West Yorkshire PTE in the 1990s.
 

brad465

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The 261 bus route in London more or less runs alongside the Bromley North branch from that station to Grove Park on its way to Lewisham. I believe this service's existence alongside the branch was one reason the Class 466s could keep a derogation to operate on their own on this branch in 2020, despite not having full PRM compliance.
 

IceBlue

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Derby to Matlock has the trentbarton 6.1, which stops near all stations bar Ambergate and Whatstandwell. It takes 40 mins longer than the train to Matlock but I'd imagine most people coming into Derby on a TB bus would pick the bus over the train, considering the capped daily fares and the distance from the bus to the train station.
 

Fawkes Cat

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A couple of buses run from Liverpool to Southport and apart from a handful of places they aren't miles apart. I expect there's a few on Merseyside such as Liverpool to New Brighton, to West Kirkby, Ormskirk etc.
Windsor to Slough and return is duplicated by Courtney Buses route 2. The bus is slower, taking 17 minutes to cover what the train does in 6, but the journey start and end points are almost entirely equivalent.
These happen to be areas I know about. The timings for Slough to Windsor are explained above (just shy of 200% longer by bus) For Southport to Southport the train takes 45 minutes while a 47 bus takes 1 hour and 21 minutes (something like 70% longer by bus). To my mind, these differences are enough to suggest two different markets are being served: trains are (compared to buses) limited stop so a typical user will have to walk to find the station: buses stop much more frequently so a convenient bus stop will be easier to find but at the expense of journey time. So there aren't all that many cases where bus and train are in direct competition without journey time / customer walk coming into play.
 

Roger1973

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If we are talking about 'entire train services' rather than a few stations on one railway line, then possibly not so many.

If we are allowed London Underground lines, then there are a few London bus routes that link Waterloo and Bank, and several (and until 1952 a tram subway) that parallelled the now closed Holborn - Aldwych branch.

If Lincoln - Newark is allowed (there are - or were - some trains that just ran Lincoln to Newark Northgate without continuing on to Nottingham) then there are Lincoln - Newark bus routes although not via the exact same combination of villages served by the railway.

There are a few bus routes linking Ealing and Greenford via various routes, some closer than others to intermediate stations than others, although they end up at the 'Red Lion' at the southern end of Greenford rather than Greenford Station.

Arriva Buckinghamshire route 37 more or less follows the Maidenhead - Bourne End branch, but then follows the continuation of the line to High Wycombe that closed in 1970, rather than the Marlow branch.

Arriva bus 321 links Watford with St Albans, and is also longer than the railway line, as it continues to Luton.
 

Alex365Dash

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South Western Railway’s local Portsmouth & Southsea - Southampton Central service is also duplicated by First Solent’s X4 service between The Hard Interchange (for Portsmouth Harbour) and Southampton WestQuay (a 13 minute walk away from Southampton Central).

The bus starts at The Hard Interchange (by Portsmouth Harbour station), heading straight into the city centre by Portsmouth & Southsea before splitting off the railway alignment by taking the quicker route up the M275, meeting the railway alignment again just south of Paulsgrove (between Cosham and Portchester). It then follows it up to Fareham, taking a detour around Titchfield before meeting the railway alignment again at Park Gate, just south of Swanwick, following it over the River Hamble where the railway alignment curves down to pass Netley whilst the X4 takes a direct route past Bursledon to Sholing where it briefly meets the railway alignment again before diverging at Woolston to cross the Itchen Bridge straight into the city centre of Southampton, whilst the railway alignment curves round to pass the west side of Bitterne and meet the South Western Main Line at St Denys before heading straight south into the city centre at Southampton Central.

The X4 bus (from the City Centre, not its start point at Portsmouth Harbour) takes 1 hour and 29 minutes, and the South Western Railway stopper service takes 58 minutes, but both serve different markets.
 

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