Train reservations

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
PH
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Re: Train reservations

Postby PH » 18 Dec 2018, 3:34pm

Oldjohnw wrote:Been on the GWR site and this is what they say (which is the same as LNER):

You can reserve a bike space, at the station or over the phone, at any time before your train arrives. We suggest you do this as early as you can. Storage is limited and bikes can't be kept in the areas by the doors.

Don't know where that comes from, or the context, but when I go to book a LNER ticket on the GWR website I have no problem, just checked it in case there's been a recent change, this is ready to pay for...
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Train reservations

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Dec 2018, 3:58pm

I see now.

I used GWR's search to find this.

One of the things I came across in the summer was the contradictory information on a single site.

Thanks again.
John

Cycling and recycling

PH
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Re: Train reservations

Postby PH » 18 Dec 2018, 4:08pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I see now.

I used GWR's search to find this.

One of the things I came across in the summer was the contradictory information on a single site.

Thanks again.

You're welcome.
It isn't anything like as straightforward as it could and should be, I've been a frequent user of train with bike for a couple of decades and some things still take me be surprise!

Oldjohnw
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Re: Train reservations

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Dec 2018, 4:13pm

Summer was my first time and I was almost put off for ever!

Most grateful to you.
John

Cycling and recycling

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Train reservations

Postby The utility cyclist » 18 Dec 2018, 5:54pm

Oldjohnw wrote:Last summer I had a nightmare trip. My journey involved three separate trains to reach Pitlochry. I could not book online so made the reservations on the phone.

Unfortunately they omitted booking the bike on the first (LNER) part of the journey. They refused to allow my bike on the train thus rendering all my other tickets useless. I was able to book again at the station but of course paid top price, and I arrived 4 hours later than my original plan which put quite a bit of pressure on me. LNER did refund my costs eventually and even gave me a £25 voucher. Unfortunately, the voucher expired on the day of travel, some two months before I received the voucher.

Clearly I need to book at the station in future. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot get the best fares.

The say they encourage bike travel: their facilities say otherwise.

I've refused compensation vouchers as this is restrictive and is supposed to be a payment to compensate for the hassle and stress of them (Virgin and Northern rail) messing up, also you couldn't use the voucher online in any case. In the end I got a BACS transfer for the comp as well as for the refund of the ticket price for the outward journey.

I now book my bike over the counter at my local station, it's obvious the system is a mess, as it takes them ages to do it, I'm lucky that I can travel off peak so rarely are there bikes on the East coast train but it's still a fag all round as well as being bloody cold waiting at Doncaster station in winter :lol:
On top of that since they changed the timetable it's far quicker to drive the 155 miles.
Cycle to Stevenage station - 25 mins + 15 mins in case of puncture/make sure to be on the platform and letting staff know you're getting on with bike.
Stev- Donny - Hull, now 2hrs 55 (was 2:16), then the 20 mins to cycle along the awful roads of the city to the outskirts to maters.

So next year I'm putting the car back on the road (Car free for 14 months to date), it'll cost me more overall but it'll avoid all the stress and rigmarole, having to book trains at very specific times to get the cheapest tickets and the journey is 3 hours (door to door) regular as clockwork without having to gun it. In over 250 trips by car in the last 29 years there's been three times when there were delays/incidents on the A1 or A46.

For me it'll be worth the extra overall cost, I can't see anything that the train companies/government will do to change my mind.
Last edited by The utility cyclist on 19 Dec 2018, 4:42pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TrevA
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Re: Train reservations

Postby TrevA » 18 Dec 2018, 6:09pm

If you're a regular train traveller isn't it worth investing in a Brompton? Then there's none of this hassle of booking your bike on the train.Taxing, insuring and servicing a car would be half the cost of a Brompton before you've even driven the thing.

We are currently a 2 car family but I'm seriously thinking of getting rid of one and getting a Brommie instead.

brynpoeth
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Re: Train reservations

Postby brynpoeth » 18 Dec 2018, 6:34pm

I would certainly not un-sorn my vehicle for utility cyclists trip, does everything have to be measured in money and time? Even at Christmas - No! And what about the extra emissions?
I am a railway enthusiast and would be glad to have some time on Doncaster station, there must be a bit to see there :wink:
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Train reservations

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Dec 2018, 6:49pm

I use public transport wherever even remotely possible.
John

Cycling and recycling

brynpoeth
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Re: Train reservations

Postby brynpoeth » 18 Dec 2018, 7:10pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I use public transport wherever even remotely possible.

Or walk or cycle :wink:

I though GWR and LNER went in 1948 :?

It is worth spending some time getting to know the timetables and websites, some are so clever, they see that you have checked times but not booked and may offer a better price if you look again later. For Pitlochry I would try to do most of the journey on a long-distance train that stops there, there could be alternative routes with different prices

Before 1923 there were dozens of TOCs train operating companies, until 1948 there were four, they had to work together, could be parallels but now it is more complicated with the interweb :?
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love the three Es: enforcement, enforcement & enforcement

Oldjohnw
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Re: Train reservations

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Dec 2018, 7:14pm

I though GWR and LNER went in 1948 :?


LNER was revived thus year when Virgin East Coast handed the franchise back. The third time it had been handed back. LNER is a public not-for-profit body. It seems private enterprise cannot run railways, or at least this one.k

For Pitlochry I would try to do most of the journey on a long-distance train that stops there, there could be alternative routes with different prices
unfortunately, the only train that stops both at my station and Pitlchry is the most expensive. I know train travel well having worked all over the UK travelling by train. Just not with a bike.
John

Cycling and recycling

AMMoffat
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Re: Train reservations

Postby AMMoffat » 19 Dec 2018, 9:05am

The problem with booking LNER tickets from another website to be able to get the bike booking online is that you don't get the cheapest prices which are only available through the LNER website.

Whilst not ideal, when I needed a bike reservation on LNER earlier this year, I phoned them to make the bike reservation whilst I was online. I chose the trains I wanted, then rang to check that bike spaces were available on my chosen trains. They did the bike reservation on the requested trains over the phone and sent me the bike tickets in the post for free whilst I booked my tickets online at the same time, as the best prices are also not available by phone. You don't need to have bought your ticket before making the bike reservation.

It would of course be even more convenient if they reinstated the bike booking facility to their website, but the method above worked well enough.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Train reservations

Postby Oldjohnw » 19 Dec 2018, 9:41am

Of course my problem was because they missed out one leg of the journey, making the entire journey unviable.
John

Cycling and recycling

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mjr
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Re: Train reservations

Postby mjr » 19 Dec 2018, 9:57am

The utility cyclist wrote:So next year I'm putting the car back on the road (Car free for 14 months to date), it'll cost me more overall but it'll avoid all the stress and rigmarole, having to book trains at very specific times to get the cheapest tickets and the journey is 3 hours (door to door) regular as clockwork without having to gun it. In over 250 trips by car in the last 29 years there's been three times when there were delays/incidents on the A1 or A46.

For me it'll be worth the extra overall cost, I can't see anything that the train companies/government will do to change my mind.

You are lucky to have such a reliable route. Last week, I started my crosscountry car-full present-delivery drive by pulling out of my lane onto the A10 and straight into a jam shuffling miles to the junction with the A47! Then the A47 was slow but moving through embankment rebuilds near Wisbech and I also hit another full jam on the A46 but waited that one out by having dinner in a pub. And that's a good drive in my experience! I would do it by train+bike if I wasn't moving so much stuff, although simpler cheaper tickets would help too.

And then there's all the faff of keeping a car on the road, which I think is more noticeable if you don't use it much. Not just the paperwork, periodic servicing and annual test, but the little mechanicals. This drive, I discovered the rear wiper's perished and one of the brake shields is rubbing on full lock again.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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PH
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Re: Train reservations

Postby PH » 19 Dec 2018, 10:35am

It can be frustrating when things don't go to plan on a train journey - Coming back from London on Saturday the train got to within a couple of miles of my stop, then was delayed for 10 minutes by some unknown problem. This seemed to be an unmitigated disaster for some of those who'd already put their coats on, but I don't lead such an important life and just read another couple of pages of my book. They'd announced they were holding the only connecting train.
I've never had to commute by train and seeing some of those that do I wouldn't want to. I do use it a lot for leisure, it's coming up to twenty years since I owned a car and I haven't travelled any less than I did before that. I haven't kept count of train trips, but as an estimate I'd say four a month with half using more than one train, so round figures about 1,500 trains, pretty evenly split between - no bike, folding bike and full bike - There's been good trips, bad trips, those where I've had a carriage to myself, those where I've had to stand, some have cost extortionate amounts some peanuts, sometimes I've had to take a different route, sometimes that's been my fault! Twice my bike has been on a replacement bus service, one of those times I had to wait for the second bus as the first refused, I've come across the occasional rude staff and some who've gone beyond expectation. Once and only once, I've been unable to get to my destination (Home) and that was the June floods a few years ago when there were no trains running South of Doncaster (They'd also closed the M1) There were staff on the station helping people make alternative arrangements or accommodation, I saw it as an opportunity for an unexpected night ride.
Have I been extraordinarily lucky? I don't think so, it's more to do with attitude, the one I sometimes see from train travellers, that it's critical everything goes exactly to plan, is the same one that makes the roads so unpleasant to drive on.

thirdcrank
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Re: Train reservations

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Dec 2018, 10:47am

IMO the irony here is that competition is supposed to drive down prices while improving things for customers as suppliers - in this case the train operators - compete for custom. This is a failing market, like the transport secretary with overall responsibility. Customers need good information to make their decisions but service providers are permitted to avoid providing it.