Greater Anglia and bikes

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
nez
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby nez » 13 Jun 2019, 2:19pm

With no sarcasm at all I bow to your obviously superior knowledge but that’s not what GA said to me when I rang them quite recently. I feel this exchange proves they’ve made a first class muddle of it.
mjr wrote:
nez wrote:However if you cycle on to Colchester - about 12 miles, there are trains originating from Clacton and Walton. Thèse are not intercity trains and if you avoid the rush hour these do not need booking for a bicycle. Use the south entrance to Colchester station and you don’t need to carry the bike up and down any stairs.

There are more trains at Colchester and it's mostly a fairly pretty back-road ride but Manningtree is also served by commuter trains originating in Ipswich which do not require reservations. I think they don't have bike spaces so you either occupy one of the wheelchair spaces if no-one's using it (or the folding seats in it) or spend an hour seated by a door holding the bike up in half the wider aisle. You can see a walk-through of the current usual commuter trains at 3 minutes into this video: https://youtu.be/Ouj3VFVAw60?t=180 - these 30-year-old trains (class 321, known as "bins" after the mascot of 1980s quiz show 3-2-1) are scheduled for replacement 2019-2020 but I don't think the new commuter trains (Aventras) have been specced with proper bike spaces either, unlike the new Anglia Regional and Intercity trains (Flirts) which have proper bike spaces not shared with wheelchairs.

Here is a list of all Manningtree-London services, click "Later" until you get to the right time of day (same trains run every weekday I think - or use the form on https://traintimes.org.uk/ to get the exact day) and then the "show stops/details" to see the times in Manningtree and which are "from Ipswich" (OK to use) and which are "from Norwich" (no good). Generally the ones taking 1h12 are from Ipswich and the 1h ones are from Norwich.

If you are arriving at Harwich International at about 8am on a weekday, I think the first train you can use to arrive in London with a bike is the 08:33 Harwich International to Manningtree arriving 08:50, ignoring the reserved-bikes-only 08:53 departure and changing onto the 09:08 Manningtree to London, arriving 10:10.

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mjr
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 13 Jun 2019, 3:29pm

nez wrote:With no sarcasm at all I bow to your obviously superior knowledge but that’s not what GA said to me when I rang them quite recently. I feel this exchange proves they’ve made a first class muddle of it.

Well, I think "first class muddle" quite accurately reflects the gibberish that GA's call centre has been telling people and the absolute mess that GA have been posting on National Rail Enquiries. Another forum has a recent discussion where GA's call centre told someone that some Cambridge trains now require bike reservations which at least two of us are pretty sure is nonsense. I do try to keep track of this for the local cycling campaign because GA services are our connections east from Ely and to Harwich.

However, I could be wrong, as I've not actually used Ipswich-area trains with a bike since my May 2017 tour - but the trains involved are still the same as then and GA's bike policy is basically still the same as then (and agrees with what I wrote). If I was doing it tomorrow, I'd take my bike as I'd outlined above.

Also, I think I'm not actually contradicting what you posted - the Intercity services do require reservations. I'm just pointing out that a few (1-3 each hour) commuter trains call at Manningtree and don't require bike reservations.

Ultimately, other than things like the peak-time London ban, the guards have the final decision on the safety of the train, including whether bikes can be carried safely.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Confusedbycycling
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby Confusedbycycling » 14 Jun 2019, 8:32am

mjr wrote: (class 321, known as "bins" after the mascot of 1980s quiz show 3-2-1) are scheduled for replacement 2019-2020 but I don't think the new commuter

Thank you for your help.

My ticket is bound to a specific train. Departure 10:19 Manningtree.

You recommended some weeks ago this site: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/L ... 1/advanced . This information has led me to make the decision for the train mentioned above.

If I am remembering right, there is a change the "operational Information".

Now the train type is "Electric locomotive, trailing load 350 tonnes".

So I am worried, that there is a change of trains and the situation is different now.

The main issue is, that the British timetables do not tell, whether a train is a commuter trains or a intercity. But I have to admit, I am searching in a German way for this information.

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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby Vorpal » 14 Jun 2019, 9:11am

10:19 is an Ipswich train, so you don't need a reservation.
the timetable is here
https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/sites/d ... _2_web.pdf
found from this page https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... timetables

The information about whether it is a commuter or intercity, and whether bike reservations are required is confusing enough to locals, let alone someone from another country!
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2019, 9:34am

Confusedbycycling wrote:
mjr wrote: (class 321, known as "bins" after the mascot of 1980s quiz show 3-2-1) are scheduled for replacement 2019-2020 but I don't think the new commuter

Thank you for your help.

My ticket is bound to a specific train. Departure 10:19 Manningtree.

You recommended some weeks ago this site: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/L ... 1/advanced . This information has led me to make the decision for the train mentioned above.

If I am remembering right, there is a change the "operational Information".

Now the train type is "Electric locomotive, trailing load 350 tonnes".

So I am worried, that there is a change of trains and the situation is different now.

The main issue is, that the British timetables do not tell, whether a train is a commuter trains or a intercity. But I have to admit, I am searching in a German way for this information.

I recommended that site for finding train type. I did write in viewtopic.php?p=1344949#p1344949 that every Norwich-London service is an intercity. There are ways of figuring out what is intercity and what is commuter but it's awkward and not completely reliable, so you are effectively correct and it is not as simple as DB's RB/RE/IC/EC/ICE written on the timetable. It's one of the many problems with our under-regulated privatised fragmented railway.

If I were you, I would call them on +44 345 600 7245 and select option 8 and ask to reserve a bike space on the service your ticket is bound to. If it is a recent change of train type or service type, there should still be a space. If not, there are other options but they bend a rule or cost extra, unless anyone else has a bright idea?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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mjr
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2019, 9:39am

Vorpal wrote:10:19 is an Ipswich train, so you don't need a reservation.
the timetable is here
https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/sites/d ... _2_web.pdf
found from this page https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... timetables

The information about whether it is a commuter or intercity, and whether bike reservations are required is confusing enough to locals, let alone someone from another country!

Are you sure? The presence of a R (reservations recommended) at the top of column makes me think it is a Norwich intercity. A diamond (reservations possible) would mean the same.

I agree completely about confusing!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby Vorpal » 14 Jun 2019, 10:06am

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:10:19 is an Ipswich train, so you don't need a reservation.
the timetable is here
https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/sites/d ... _2_web.pdf
found from this page https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... timetables

The information about whether it is a commuter or intercity, and whether bike reservations are required is confusing enough to locals, let alone someone from another country!

Are you sure? The presence of a R (reservations recommended) at the top of column makes me think it is a Norwich intercity. A diamond (reservations possible) would mean the same.

I agree completely about confusing!

My apologies! You are correct, mjr. I checked the Norwich timetable & didn't find it (the first time), but then I found it on the Ipswich timetable, so I assumed it was an Ipswich train. But I must have been looking at the wrong timetable when I checked the Norwich one, because I found it easily enough the second time :oops:

That said, when I was using the trains there (7 years ago, now!), I never once booked & never had any problems taking my bike on the train.

I didn't usually buy tickets for a specific train, though.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 14 Jun 2019, 10:17am

Vorpal wrote:That said, when I was using the trains there (7 years ago, now!), I never once booked & never had any problems taking my bike on the train.

I think the rules on the Norwich-London services have been tightened up in preparation for the new trains. Whereas the current locomotive+carriages trains basically have bikes strapped into a big luggage area (and so the limit of 6 may be relaxed by the crew if some people tie their bikes together), the new ones have Dutch-style folding seat areas in the passenger carriages (similar to https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... iler-1.jpg but 3 seats not 4 - different train type), so 6 will mean 6, else they'll obstruct the aisle.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Confusedbycycling
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby Confusedbycycling » 16 Jun 2019, 1:05pm

Thank you for all replies.

I already have a bike reservation.

My main issue is, how to recognize standing at the platform where is bicycle space?

Is there reliable order of the waggons at this IC, so one can say, in the third or first waggon will be the bike space?

I am a little bit worried, because IC can be very long in Germany. So the trick with standing in the middle of the platform is very risky.

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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 16 Jun 2019, 10:57pm

It is fairly reliable and usually a class 90 electric locomotive (connected to the overhead lines) with the bicycle spaces in the driving van trailer at the opposite end. They are usually the same way round but I can't remember which it is. I think the van is normally at the north end (back of a train towards London). Trains are I think 7-9 coaches long these days.
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backnotes
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby backnotes » 17 Jun 2019, 12:15am

Yes, the Inter City trains to London that stop at Manningtree always (well, I never saw one the other way round in 30 years) have an electric locomotive at the front / London end, and the space where bikes go is never in the middle and always right at the other end. If you are changing trains from the Harwich line at Manningtree, it is very simple in the London direction as you are already on the other side of the correct platform so there is no need to cross to the other side of the station using steps / ramp. You are also roughly in the right place on the platform, but the station staff can tell you where it is best to stand. It's wherever the last carriage of the train stops.

Getting the reservation is the hard part and you seem to have done that. The change of trains at Manningtree is very simple, and the train guards / conductors are helpful and there is no need to panic about the train leaving without you. There's even a real pub on the same platform, but I have found that going in there is one thing that can lead to missing a train!

Have a good trip.

backnotes
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby backnotes » 17 Jun 2019, 7:58am

I may have confused you because the thread is confusing and I hadn't read it all. I had assumed you were arriving at Manningtree by train from Harwich. If you are arriving by bike to catch an Inter City train to London, the answer is nearly the same. You cycle up the road off the A137 to Manningtree station, wheel your bike through the ticket office on a level with no steps, turn right onto the platform, and the luggage van will be at the back of the train when it arrives. Again, very simple, with no steps or ramps to negotiate.

Confusedbycycling
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby Confusedbycycling » 17 Jun 2019, 12:04pm

Many thanks to all, who answered and helped me.

Do I have from this bike space direct through access to the seats or do I have get out to the platform and enter the train again?

backnotes
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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby backnotes » 17 Jun 2019, 12:14pm

You get out and get in the seating area on the train through another door. The guard / conductor will ask where you are getting off again, and everything waits for you when you get there. It is all a lot less stressful than it sounds on paper. If you are going to London Liverpool St, that is the end of the line anyway so the train isn't going anywhere else anytime soon, so there is even less reason to feel a need to hurry. So just relax and watch the North Essex countryside through the window!

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Re: Greater Anglia and bikes

Postby mjr » 17 Jun 2019, 12:33pm

backnotes wrote:If you are going to London Liverpool St, that is the end of the line anyway so the train isn't going anywhere else anytime soon, so there is even less reason to feel a need to hurry. So just relax and watch the North Essex countryside through the window!

I wouldn't relax too long once it arrives, as the door of the van containing your bike may well be open and it's a den of thieves, that London! ;)
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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