Saturday 3rd September 2022
I know; it’s not a mid size town in its own right; not even a small size town come to that. More just a crossroads in Flintshire’s sprawling Deeside conurbation but ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ when it comes to awkward letters in my fortnightly A-to-Z visiting odyssey.
The town gained its Queensferry name on Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837 having previously been called Kingsferry. Unsurprisingly its origins come from the ferries that at one time crossed the River Dee at this point.
Queensferry in its own right has a population of just 2,000 people but nearby Shotton to its west and the large residential area of Connah’s Quay makes for a much more populous area.
The town lies six miles west of Chester, six miles east of Flint and six miles north east of Mold.
Queensferry hasn’t got a rail station but nearby Shotton, a short distance along the B5129 High Street, is one of the few towns to enjoy a split level station with two different rail lines crossing at right angles with two platforms on each.
The east west line links Chester with towns along the north Wales coast and Holyhead while the north south line crossing over the former links Wrexham with Bidston for connections to Merseyside. All stopping trains are run by Transport for Wales with Avanti West Coast currently running a restricted service between Crewe and Holyhead as part of its reduced timetable.
There’s currently an hourly service on both lines with destinations on the North Wales coast line including Manchester Airport, Birmingham International and Llandudno.
There are aspirations to increase the frequency of the Bidston to Wrexham line to half hourly, but there’s also been aspirations to run Class 230 former London Underground D stock trains too, but these have still not entered service. Now it seems plans have changed and the plan is for a mixed fleet of Class 230 and Class 197 trains. In the meantime Class 150 trains keep on performing.
It’s about a 15 minute walk from what might be regarded as the ‘town centre’ of Queensferry to Shotton station which is quite handy but passengers just nipping over the border to Chester …
…. can get there quicker by using Arriva routes 10/10A which run every 15 minutes between Flint/Connah’s Quay (each half hourly) and Chester with a journey time from Queensferry of 17 minutes.
As you can see routes 10/10A are operated by Sapphire branded buses – the ones with very comfortable seats.
Although some are showing their age.
It’s a strange route to allocate such luxuriously appointed buses with an end to end running time of around 45 minutes, whereas route 11 which also runs between Chester and Flint before continuing to Holywell uses standard double deckers but has a longer 75 minute journey time as it takes a more circuitous route between Chester and Queensferry (via Broughton) taking 40 minutes instead of the aforementioned 17.
The third and final Arriva operated bus route serving Queensferry is hourly route 5 which sees single deck buses running between Ellesmere Port and Mold.
P&O Lloyd operate a few local routes which pass through Queensferry including three shuttle type routes numbered D1, D2 and D3 which link the local area to the extensive Deeside Industrial Park located north of Queensferry. These routes run to an odd timetable with long gaps in the morning and afternoon, presumably fitting in with employees travel needs. They primarily link the large Connah’s Quay residential area and just happen to pass through Queensferry.
P&O Lloyd also operate the three journeys a day route 8 which provides a link to Mold, and five journeys a day route 9 which links Broughton with Queensferry and parts of the area not served by Arriva’s routes.
Numbers travelling on all these routes were depressingly low. I made a couple of journeys on route 10/10A and observed other journeys for a couple of hours and didn’t see any bus with more than half a dozen on board.
Even more depressing is the state of Queensferry’s retail and hospitality offering.
Even the careers office looks as though it’s closed down.
And this is before the recession hits.
The lead shop on the retail parade seemed to be Get Cash Quick.
Worse still was seeing Flintshire Council’s complete abrogation of any responsibility for bus shelter presentation and the provision of bus information.
It really is truly awful.
As I walked from an area called Garden City (it isn’t) lying to the north of Queensferry along the main road – now downgraded to a B road (B5441) and called Welsh Road – I passed shelters in a deplorable state.
No timetable cases were displaying any information.
If I hadn’t seen buses pass by I’d have thought bus travel had long ago packed up in this area.
When I reached Queensferry’s main bus stops in its ‘town centre’ (ie by the crossroads) I found a fairly decent departure listing displayed on one side of the road ….
…. except it was dated 2017 and looked well out of date to me.
…. while on the other side of the road you could take your pick of which of three out of date versions you creaked your head to look at.
I spotted some passengers consulting this display which would have totally misled them.
Further on by Shotton rail station I found an explanation for the absence of timetable information – blame it on Covid.
I wonder how long that excuse will continue.
Another thing I noticed was the blatant disregard for yellow lines and clearway markings at bus stops by motorists popping into the betting shop or the Authentic Turkish Barber. Perhaps they also thought public transport had been abandoned.
It turns out Q has not been the brightest letter in the alphabet.
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