2019 marks the centenary of the bus service from Ruthin to Mold
2019 marks the centenary of the bus service from Ruthin to Mold. This was the first Crosville route into Denbighshire, write Peter Daniels and Ron Hughes.
Both Crosville Motor Services and Ruthin Borough Council had their sights on a bus service from Ruthin to Mold but for the intervention of the First World War. In 1918, the mayor was “strongly of the opinion that motor traction had come to stay”.
First Loggerheads (from 1908) and then Llanferres (1909) had benefited from a motor omnibus service from Mold. Both were suspended at the outbreak of war.
There were great celebrations when in July 1919 Crosville Motor Services began its Ruthin to Mold service. Initially, Crosville felt it would be seasonal. Its managing director stated, “We shall do our level best to provide a service right through” which, in fact, Crosville managed.
Initially, there were two trips from Ruthin at 1035 and 1600; and an additional third on Saturdays and Fair Days (the first Tuesday), at 2030, from outside the Castle Hotel. The journey time was 70 minutes and the single fare 2s/2d (11p).
Direct daily services from Ruthin to Birkenhead via Mold began in 1924. The single fare to Birkenhead was 7s/6d (38p). Meanwhile, from Mold, Crosville reached Llanarmon yn Iâl in 1928 and Eryrys in 1930. By 1929, most Mold - Ruthin journeys continued to Denbigh although, over the next 70 years, this extension was more off than on.
By the 1930s, vehicle technology had improved, with pneumatic rather than solid tyres. In the 1930s, buses were progressively converted from petrol to diesel fuel. The journey time between Ruthin and Mold reduced to 45 minutes.
In the 1930s, there were up to 13 departures each weekday between Ruthin and Mold. These were more than halved during the Second World War
In 1942, Crosville progressively began painting their vehicles green, a colour in one shade or another associated with Ruthin’s buses for over 55 years.
It was in 1949 that Crosville operated the first through Ruthin - Mold - Chester service. This was initially one return journey on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. Meanwhile, from 1951, Ruthin departures for Mold were back up to 13 a day.
The 1919 timetable is reproduced with permission of the Flintshire Record Office (ref FC/C/6/240)
Over the years, the terminus has moved. In 1937 it became Market Street. In 1957, it moved to the rail station. Back it went to its current location, Market Street, in 1965. It was also in 1965 that the first through Ruthin - Llanarmon - Mold journey operated. From 1970 onwards, most Ruthin to Mold services operated via Llanarmon.
Other than at school times, when double deckers were required, during the 1960s and early 1970s, the bus service progressively became driver-only. By 2007, double decks were withdrawn.
The 1970s and 1980s seemed to have round upon round of bus service cuts and fares increases, as the private car took the bus service’s passengers. It was in 1971 that both Denbighshire and Flintshire began financially supporting the service, as remains the case today.
In 1986, successor Crosville Wales took over what was now a tendered bus service. The direct Chester service was withdrawn but subsequently reintroduced, withdrawn, introduced and withdrawn again several times before being reintroduced from 2010
In June 1998, Crosville Wales lost the tender to GHA Coaches, who operated the service till 2016. Thereafter, Stagecoach took over till M & H Coaches, in March 2018. In 2018, M & H invested in the service, the first time all departures operated by brand new vehicles—other, of course, than in 1919!
The current 1/X1/2 service is operated by M & H Coaches of Trefnant.
Here is Managing Director Margaret Owen and Business Support Manager Ryan Owen, alongside one of the new Wrightbus Streetlites used on the service.
More on this will be available towards the end of May at http://www.1919.cymru/
With thanks to the Ruthin and District Civic Association for the article.