Trivia: High altitude bus routes

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Whisky Papa

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I think Queensbury should figure somewhere in this conversation? Around 340m on the main road (First's trunk 576 between Halifax and Bradford) with an extra 25m or so in the settlement of Mountain just to the NW, served by the 526 of Yorkshire Tiger. The former Mountain Eagle used to be listed as the highest pub in a built-up area in England in the Guinness Book of World Records - I'm sure this is the building now occupied by Bradford Sub Aqua Club, which has more than a hint of irony to my mind!
 

Brooke

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Assuming they still run, a couple of South Pennine Community Transport Saturday-only routes:

- 351 Holmfirth-Glossop is over 500m at Holme Moss
- 352 Holmfirth-Uppermill is approaching 500m after Isle of Skye
 

Mcr Warrior

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Assuming they still run, a couple of South Pennine Community Transport Saturday-only routes:

- 351 Holmfirth-Glossop is over 500m at Holme Moss
- 352 Holmfirth-Uppermill is approaching 500m after Isle of Skye
Be around about 524 metres at Holme Moss top.
 

nw1

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This could get a bit like a bus related list of the Munros of any service above 304.8m/1000 ft :lol:

In Swaledale, there are summer services over Buttertubs Pass which is 526m above sea level and I have traveled it in the past. However, it did have an all-year-round service at one stage. Otherwise, it now terminates at lowly Keld at just 317m ASL. Weardale MS has a service to Killhope which is 450m ASL, though that may be seasonal. However, Wright Bros at Nenthead (438m) has a service three days/week and it's home to Wright's depot so doubtless the highest garage!

Just creeping into the "busMunros", I had a trip last Wednesday to Tow Law courtesy of an Arriva Sapphire e400 and that is 306m ASL and it was stunning. Clear day, could see for miles, and it is a service that is regularly operated by deckers and has been for years; the Inkerman terminus is also in line for being one of the bleakest places to catch a bus.

One of the highest in Wales all year round ones might be the X51 that runs from Denbigh to Wrexham via Bwlchgwyn which is 333m ASL. There are seasonal ones in Snowdonia such as over Pen y Pass (359m)

Mjnd you 305m/1000ft isn't that high for a bus to go. In the eighties the humble 274/294 (Hindhead to Guildford) reached at a guess close to 250m in deepest Surrey as it went round the rim of the Devil's Punch Bowl, and even today the remaining routes through Hindhead must get almost that high...

Staying in the southern half of the country, the 173 Bath-Wells must get close to 300m as it passes across the ridge of the Mendips, and I wouldn't be surprised to see routes out of Cheltenham across the Cotswolds get to similar elevation.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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Staying in the southern half of the country, the 173 Bath-Wells must get close to 300m as it passes across the ridge of the Mendips, and I wouldn't be surprised to see routes out of Cheltenham across the Cotswolds get to similar elevation.
Not quite as high as that - the top of the Horringtons (173) and Pen Hill (376) are about 240m/250m above sea level
 
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I can’t work out where the highest point of the route is but D&G route 16 Buxton extensions of the Hanley - Leek route pass near or through Flash (461m) or is it higher in Buxton?
 

johnnychips

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I can’t work out where the highest point of the route is but D&G route 16 Buxton extensions of the Hanley - Leek route pass near or through Flash (461m) or is it higher in Buxton?
It actually hits the 500m contour on Axe Edge then drops a bit towards Flash.
 

iantherev

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Not even close! Bwlch Bryn Rhudd (376m) on the A4059 (T6 Brecon to Swansea). Nowadays hourly however back in the 1980s operated by Bristol VRs. Aberdare to Maerdy on the 172 (403m) with Bristol REs back in the day and Storey Arms on the T4 (brecon to Merthyr) (435m) every hour pre Covid but now back to every two hours as it used to be with coach REs back in the day.
Sorry but if a T6 gets anywhere near the A4059 it's lost or it's on a fairly hefty diversion. It uses the A4067 from Sennybridge.
 

John Webb

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Assuming they still run, a couple of South Pennine Community Transport Saturday-only routes:

......- 352 Holmfirth-Uppermill is approaching 500m after Isle of Skye
Seems to be a major diversion! Or is it a local pub? (If this is the A635 there are several spot heights of 492m along this road.)
 

Mcr Warrior

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Seems to be a major diversion! Or is it a local pub?
Site of a former public house of that name. Demolished some time after 1956. Once claimed to be the highest public house in Yorkshire at 450 metres above sea level.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Thanks - closed in the 1940s, according to this photographer:
Isle of Skye Inn
Almost certainly a decade or so later than that. See link below...

 

John Webb

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Almosr certainly a decade or so later than that. See link below...

Many thanks - have driven along here on many occasions when on holiday in Yorkshire and never noticed the remains!
 

DimTim

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I have a distant memory of being sat in an Alexander (Northern) centre entrance single decker in about 1967/8 at Glenshee Ski slopes. This was a church youth group skiing trip staying at the Youth Hostel in Glen Isla. In sub zero temperatures at New Year the bus had struggled up the original Devils Elbow each day we were there. (not the much easier approach now). My memory is of sitting in the bus trying to get warm rather than continuing skiing as the outside temperature was so cold!
 

Jordan Adam

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I'm not sure whether the UK's highest public road (670m or 2198 feet) has a bus service these days or is planned to have one later in the year, but I went that way by bus in July 2014, at which time there was one bus per day from Braemar to Blairgowrie for a few weeks in summer.

The Cairngorm Ski Centre, which according to Wikipedia is served by Scotland's 4th highest road at 610m or 2001 feet, still has a bus service, albeit not as frequent as it used to be (three buses per day according to the Stagecoach website; my recollection is that it was hourly when I used the lower part of the route in July 2009).
The service 31 from Aviemore to the Ski Centre usually runs hourly or better, but is running a reduced timetable due to Covid.
I didn't realise that there was a bus service that went over Glenshee. Having driven that route by car a couple of years ago, I can imagine that trying to get a bus over there must be a bit of a challenge.
From 2006 to 2010 Bluebird, Rapsons & Deveron Coaches operated the "Heather Hoppers". These were the 500 from Cullen to Cairngorm Ski Centre via Elgin & Tomintoul, 501 from Ballater to Aviemore/Inverness via Tomintoul and 502/503 Aberdeen to Aberfeldy(502) or Perth(503) via Glenshee.

The 500 was operated by Deveron Coaches and ran once per day at weekends, 501 was joint run by Bluebird/Rapsons with 2 to 4 runs per day, while the 502/503 operated once per day Monday to Saturday (502 Mon/Wed/Fri, 503 Tue/Thur/Sat). To add to that the 502/503 were often operated by a 709D, much to the delight of any possible passengers i'm sure!

The services were withdrawn after the 2010 season however from 2014 to 2016 they did see some revival with a new 501 operating Ballater to Blairgowrie twice per day joint operated by Bluebird and Strathtay.
 

Caboose Class

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There's a once-a-week service (the Wrights 889) between Alston and Hexham. According to the timetable it runs via Nenthead and Carshield, which means it must run over Black Hill, which has a spot height of 609 m according to the OS red map.
I have just checked this out and agree 100% with you. The service https://bustimes.org/services/889-hexham-alston still runs and reaches an altitude of 608 metres asl on the road from Nenthead to Ninebanks. Definitely the highest bus route in England!
 

Ken H

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I have just checked this out and agree 100% with you. The service https://bustimes.org/services/889-hexham-alston still runs and reaches an altitude of 608 metres asl on the road from Nenthead to Ninebanks. Definitely the highest bus route in England!
not the easiest to read timetable
(Link goes to the Wrights timetable page.)
 

Caboose Class

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not the easiest to read timetable
(Link goes to the Wrights timetable page.)
Have also just checked out (using https://www.freemaptools.com/elevation-finder.htm) the current highest bus route in Scotland and it is indeed the Stagecoach 31 service (4 runs per day) from Aviemore to Cairngorm Upper Car Park which is situated at 632 metres asl. This qualifies as the Highest Altitude Bus Route (HABR) in the UK.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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not the easiest to read timetable
(Link goes to the Wrights timetable page.)
I understand that a certain poster (not me) may well have been enjoying that self same journey today
 

RELL6L

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I understand that a certain poster (not me) may well have been enjoying that self same journey today
Ah, I think that would be me! Yes, I did enjoy the delights of the Wright Brothers 888 on Tuesday from Hexham to Penrith. I will post a fuller report on the Go Ahead thread in due course as I used this operator for more journeys than any other (unless we can have a 'trips out' thread). I thought I was going to miss the 888 as I got the 689 from Consett to Hexham through the mist (having been sunny earlier in Durham and Consett) and we were eight minutes late - for a six minute connection. But when I looked at BusTimes as we hit the road approaching Hexham I saw the 888 was still in Corbridge so I made it. And BusTimes was accurate as to the timing but not the vehicle, in fact it was FJ13EAC, a Volvo B9R Caetano Levante ex DeCourcey used on National Express work. £18 single to Penrith - and worth every penny! About 20 of us on board, including four others who boarded at Hexham, which was very pleasing since it only started for the season on 24 August. A few got off along the way but I suspect there were many going to Keswick. After about 15 minutes we suddenly got out into open country and sunshine and never saw another cloud. I haven't got the map with me but I think we got to 522m height, which is not as high as the 689 but higher than the Kirkstone Pass (508). One of the delights is a 20-30 minute stop outside the Wright depot in Alston, just time to wander around the beautiful town centre - except it was partly fenced off with contractors doing something! Going on again you get to the summit with fabulous views to the west and then come down a long descent with zig zags, then into the valley and through beautiful villages at Melmerby and Langwathby to Penrith.

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TheGrandWazoo

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Ah, I think that would be me! Yes, I did enjoy the delights of the Wright Brothers 888 on Tuesday from Hexham to Penrith. I will post a fuller report on the Go Ahead thread in due course as I used this operator for more journeys than any other (unless we can have a 'trips out' thread). I thought I was going to miss the 888 as I got the 689 from Consett to Hexham through the mist (having been sunny earlier in Durham and Consett) and we were eight minutes late - for a six minute connection. But when I looked at BusTimes as we hit the road approaching Hexham I saw the 888 was still in Corbridge so I made it. And BusTimes was accurate as to the timing but not the vehicle, in fact it was FJ13EAC, a Volvo B9R Caetano Levante ex DeCourcey used on National Express work. £18 single to Penrith - and worth every penny! About 20 of us on board, including four others who boarded at Hexham, which was very pleasing since it only started for the season on 24 August. A few got off along the way but I suspect there were many going to Keswick. After about 15 minutes we suddenly got out into open country and sunshine and never saw another cloud. I haven't got the map with me but I think we got to 522m height, which is not as high as the 689 but higher than the Kirkstone Pass (508). One of the delights is a 20-30 minute stop outside the Wright depot in Alston, just time to wander around the beautiful town centre - except it was partly fenced off with contractors doing something! Going on again you get to the summit with fabulous views to the west and then come down a long descent with zig zags, then into the valley and through beautiful villages at Melmerby and Langwathby to Penrith.

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What a view! You really are on the tops of the Pennines there.

Very envious as I've never managed to do that journey; I have had to make do with the 685. In fact, I don't think I've even driven it, having tended to go from Carlisle to Haltwhistle, then Alston and over the top into Weardale.

Fabulous scenery and looks like the mist cleared to reveal a stunning Northern panorama. Will look forward to hearing all about it on the Go NE thread.

ps appreciate there's a trip report/trip planning sub-forum but that tends to be for stuff on rails rather than buses.
 

DunsBus

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A couple from from my area, mere tiddlers though compared to some of the others mentioned on here.

Soutra Hill at 368m (1207ft), which is scaled by Borders Buses services 51 and 52 (Jedburgh/Kelso and Edinburgh). The 52 has been suspended for the last 18 months due to the pandemic, though Borders Buses are hoping to bring it back soon.

Middleton Moor, at 270m (885ft) and over which the X95 runs.
 
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TUC

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I wonder what the highest urban bus route is (defining that as a route that's wholly or mainly in a built-up area). The route to Lodge Moor on the western edge of Sheffield appears to reach 295m at one point, which is nearly 1000 feet. Buxton is higher than that, but maybe not big enough to have any services which don't go outside the town.
The terminus for the 542 service at Norton Tower in Halifax is 323m above sea level. Is that the highest urban bus stop in England?
 

randyrippley

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The Bus Vannin X3 gets to 422 metres as it crosses Snaefell via the mountain circuit.
 
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vlad

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Sadly suspended at the moment due to Covid, but summer service 100 between Crook and Alston must be in with a shout. It climbs over Killhope Cross on the A689, a mere 630 metres high!

(Link to timetable is below)
http://www.cartogold.co.uk/durhampt/pdf/WCT_100.pdf

Given that that's the highest A-road in England it won't be easy to find somewhere higher.

I was looking for somewhere over Killhope Cross when I found the 889 as I mentioned earlier. Presumably the fact the 100 isn't running at the moment is why I couldn't find it!
 

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