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German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 8:35pm
by Confusedbycycling
I am German and I feel helpless to understand to go by train with a unfolded bicycle in the UK.

In this year I want to make a cycle journey in Wales. So I try to get train tickets from Manningtree to Newport (South Wales)

This are my problems.

1. Getting a bike reservation for the train Manningtree to London Liverpool. Greater Anglia told me, that I have first to buy a ticket, than I can make a reservation. But they did not explain me, what is happening, if the reservation is not possible. Whether they refund the ticket or not? It seems like roulette to me.

I founded https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... -on-trains. But I could not figure out, whether every train from Norwich to London Liverpool is a intercity service or only some. What do you recommend me to do?

2. Going from London Liverpool to London Paddington. Is it allowed to go with a unfolded bike the
Hammersmith & City Line?

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 8:52pm
by horizon
Confusedbycycling wrote:I am German and I feel helpless to understand to go by train with a unfolded bicycle in the UK.



Don't worry, we all feel helpless about it too and we're English (etc).

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 9:23pm
by gbnz
Have you tried to make a bicycle reservation with Greater Anglia (NB. The train company)? I'd accept that you have to lie about having bought a ticket and focus on making the bicycle reservation. The bicycle reservation is free of charge and if you then find you can't buy an actual ticket for the service you've reserved a bike for, merely make another free of charge bicycle reservation and then attempt to buy a ticket.

Greater Anglia; Reservations on the mainline Intercity service can be made by calling our Customer Relations team on 0345 600 7245 and selecting option 8. You must provide at least 24 hours in order to make a reservation. Spaces are subject to availability, on a first come, first served basis

* I had precisley the same issue three weeks ago and as ever, found the best approach was to approach station staff directly. Such an option may not be available to you, unless you're prepared to possibly hang around in Essex for 24 hours. It used to be so easier 10-12 years ago, when the then main operator up North allowed a bicycle reservation space to be booked by ticking a box, when buying a ticket online :roll:

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 9:34pm
by horizon
gbnz wrote:Have you tried to make a bicycle reservation with Greater Anglia (NB. The train company)? I'd accept that you have to lie about having bought a ticket and focus on making the bicycle reservation. The bicycle reservation is free of charge and if you then find you can't buy an actual ticket for the service you've reserved a bike for, merely make another free of charge bicycle reservation and then attempt to buy a ticket.



I don't understand this. if you go on-line and book, the bicycle space will come up if available. If not, you just cancel the process. Of course, it would be nicer to know which train is OK and then book. But my experience is that a space is usually available and the OP should just try it.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 10:14pm
by JohnW
horizon wrote:
Confusedbycycling wrote:I am German and I feel helpless to understand to go by train with a unfolded bicycle in the UK.



Don't worry, we all feel helpless about it too and we're English (etc).


Horizon is absolutely right. Some operators are better than others - I've found that those in the 'Arriva' groups seem to be easiest to deal with - they're a German company, which probably explains it. Cyclists are better respected in Germany! Come to the North - Northern Rail is easier - again an Arriva company. I don't often include rail in my cycling nowadays, but from time to time I include a leg of a journey by catching a 'Northern' train to avoid particularly dangerous roads and, off-peak I get get on and off without fuss.

If this is going to be your first experience of cycling on English roads don't expect the kind of respect and consideration from drivers here that several of my friends who have cycled in Germany report.

I really hope you enjoy your tour here - please let us know your experiences.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 10:32pm
by mjr
Confusedbycycling wrote:I am German and I feel helpless to understand to go by train with a unfolded bicycle in the UK.

In this year I want to make a cycle journey in Wales. So I try to get train tickets from Manningtree to Newport (South Wales)

This are my problems.

1. Getting a bike reservation for the train Manningtree to London Liverpool. Greater Anglia told me, that I have first to buy a ticket, than I can make a reservation. But they did not explain me, what is happening, if the reservation is not possible. Whether they refund the ticket or not? It seems like roulette to me.

I founded https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... -on-trains. But I could not figure out, whether every train from Norwich to London Liverpool is a intercity service or only some. What do you recommend me to do?

Greater Anglia (basically NS Netherlands Railways) are lying to you if they said that. They might not sell you bike reservations with tickets but their competitors can!

Book journeys online through London-South Wales operator http://www.GWR.com because they reserve bikes online. Every train from Norwich to London Liverpool St is an intercity service, but those don't visit Harwich - you change at Manningtree onto those. There are also a few direct Harwich-London services leaving after the ferry arrives and not requiring reservations.

2. Going from London Liverpool to London Paddington. Is it allowed to go with a unfolded bike the
Hammersmith & City Line?

Yes, and the circle, 0930-1600 and 1900-0730. See the tube map at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cyclin ... ntcmp=2366

It's actually a fairly nice 40ish minute bike ride but the first bit may be a bit of a scary introduction to UK cycling: leave Liv St station and find Old Broad St sort of ahead right. Follow that, turning right at end, to go through the Bank of England junction that's now closed to private cars, second left into Queen St (also closed to motors) and right onto a cycleway called CS3 which takes you along the historic Embankment with views of bridges, the National Theatre, the big wheel and the old county hall, then past Big Ben, across Parliament Square, through St James Park, past Buckingham Palace, through the Wellington Arch, through Hyde Park and out to Paddington. https://cycle.travel/map/journey/18801

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 7:33am
by Oldjohnw
Yesterday I tried GWR to travel from Berwick to Newcastle. Each time I tried to add my bike it told me 'none available'. There are over 20 trains each way and it seems I have to try each train, one at a time, until I get a positive.

I shall be going to the station to book.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 8:30am
by Jamesh
Oldjohnw wrote:Yesterday I tried GWR to travel from Berwick to Newcastle. Each time I tried to add my bike it told me 'none available'. There are over 20 trains each way and it seems I have to try each train, one at a time, until I get a positive.

I shall be going to the station to book.


Tell me about it John a right pain!

Cheers James

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 8:32am
by mjr
Oldjohnw wrote:Yesterday I tried GWR to travel from Berwick to Newcastle. Each time I tried to add my bike it told me 'none available'. There are over 20 trains each way and it seems I have to try each train, one at a time, until I get a positive.

I shall be going to the station to book.

When for? That's another important point: reservations are only released at most 12 weeks ahead. Current release dates listed on http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_far ... 44703.aspx

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 8:37am
by Oldjohnw
mjr wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Yesterday I tried GWR to travel from Berwick to Newcastle. Each time I tried to add my bike it told me 'none available'. There are over 20 trains each way and it seems I have to try each train, one at a time, until I get a positive.

I shall be going to the station to book.

When for? That's another important point: reservations are only released at most 12 weeks ahead. Current release dates listed on http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_far ... 44703.aspx



Six weeks. I know how booking works having spent the last 15 years of my working life travelling all around the outrage.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 9:33am
by Sweep
I sympathise with you confused.

Yes it's a terrible situation.

As some have suggested the best bet is to find a ticket office (not too busy) with a skilled and helpful staff member.

A lot are helpful and are willing to ignore a sometime directive from above to see the ticket for person carriage before issuing the bike ticket.

The bike booking system at ticket offices is a pig though and it is possible that the staff member (through no fault of their own - blame management and lack of will and training for staff) won't be able to jump through its hoops.

Sorry I can't be more help.

One positive bit of news - yes that planned tube journey of yours with an unfolded bike should be OK as long as not in weekday peak hours - 7.30 to 9.30 or 16.00 to 19.00. I have a copy of the bikes on the tube map on my PC - there is an online version somewhere - will post the link if I can quickly find it.

edit - here you are - up to date info on non folded bikes on the "tube"

(reason your planned journey is OK is that it's not strictly "tube", ie deep tunnels, mostly victorian or very old cut and cover tunnels)

https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cyclin ... his-page-0

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 10:26am
by horizon
Oldjohnw wrote:Yesterday I tried GWR to travel from Berwick to Newcastle. Each time I tried to add my bike it told me 'none available'. There are over 20 trains each way and it seems I have to try each train, one at a time, until I get a positive.



So did you try all 20*, as a matter of interest? It can be that all trains are booked (e.g. first week of holidays London to Cornwall) but it is possible that the computer is wrong. If you do get a booking on a train you had already tried or find that no booking was possible for some reason, can you report back?



* BTW It isn't brilliant that that is what you have to do (but the train companies do have profits to make you know, they are not there to serve customers) but it doesn't often happen IME.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 10:41am
by mjr
Oldjohnw wrote:
mjr wrote:When for? [...]

Six weeks. I know how booking works having spent the last 15 years of my working life travelling all around the outrage.

Bicycle space 1 is still available on Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle Depart: Wed 29 May 2019 13:13 but it's fine if you don't want to be specific about which day so others can check it's not a booking fart. You probably already know that the LNER trains have more bike spaces than the XC ones on that route.

Oh and GWR.com seemed to be on a go-slow this morning. Their sister companies SouthWesternRailway.com and HullTrains.co.uk can also book bikes online.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 1:33pm
by LinusR
Confusedbycycling wrote:I am German and I feel helpless to understand to go by train with a unfolded bicycle in the UK.

In this year I want to make a cycle journey in Wales. So I try to get train tickets from Manningtree to Newport (South Wales)

This are my problems.

1. Getting a bike reservation for the train Manningtree to London Liverpool. Greater Anglia told me, that I have first to buy a ticket, than I can make a reservation. But they did not explain me, what is happening, if the reservation is not possible. Whether they refund the ticket or not? It seems like roulette to me.

I founded https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel- ... -on-trains. But I could not figure out, whether every train from Norwich to London Liverpool is a intercity service or only some. What do you recommend me to do?

2. Going from London Liverpool to London Paddington. Is it allowed to go with a unfolded bike the
Hammersmith & City Line?


Don't worry, nothing works properly in this country but we somehow muddle through despite the chaos and death threats from motorists. Do you have a time in mind to depart Manningtree? Let us know what time train you need and we can check to see if you need a reservation or not, and if you do we'll tell you how to do it. [edit] And depending on when you are planning to arrive in London I may be able to meet you and guide you across the city to Paddington. London is like a building site and there are road works everywhere to challenge the most patient cycle tourist. When I last visited Germany plenty of local cyclists went out of their way to help me when I needed it. Time I returned the kindness.

Re: German wants to reserve bikespace

Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 2:23pm
by gbnz
Sweep wrote:As some have suggested the best bet is to find a ticket office (not too busy) with a skilled and helpful staff member.


Yep, that's how I got tomorrows ticket booked (NB. Having decided at 07.00am that I fancy a change of scene, the station manager and myself scrolling through services between 06.00am-11.30am to find the cheapest), though not sure yet whether it'll be a one day 120 mile journey home, or two or three days passing through the Dales/Lakes et al)

Only problem being that even in 1847, the train company tried to deter passengers (Nb. Never mind cyclists). They built the towns station four miles out of town :wink: