Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

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gct320
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Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby gct320 » 9 Mar 2018, 1:12pm

On January 3 2018 I called to book 3 bikes on the Virgin West Coast service from Watford Junction to Shrewsbury in June. After giving all my details and then waiting a few minutes I was told that the reservations would not be possible until mid-March. Today, March 9th, I went through the same process only to be informed that the reservations would not be possible until the end of April! Could anyone who has successfully booked bikes on the Virgin West Coast service let me know roughly how far in advance you were able get reservations? I cannot see why it seems such a secret when bike reservations are possible.

bikepacker
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby bikepacker » 9 Mar 2018, 3:01pm

You should be able to book 3 months in advance but you may have a problem with 3 bikes. On that route Virgin use a Voyager train (no overhead lines after Wolverhampton) and they only officially take 2 bikes. Changing trains at Birmingham and using West Midlands Trains (formally London Midland and no bike reservation needed) would be my chosen option without a reservation.

There are a couple of train websites that allow booking of bikes I generally use Scotrail and I think Trans Pennine still book online.
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gct320
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby gct320 » 9 Mar 2018, 3:10pm

Many thanks for the info - I will try again next week which will be 3 months before our return date.

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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby mercalia » 9 Mar 2018, 4:48pm

and good luck with that :twisted:

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gct320
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby gct320 » 20 Apr 2018, 2:10pm

I have now successfully booked 3 bikes on Virgin West Coast trains from Watford to Shrewsbury in June. Fortunately the price was cheaper than January! Also I logged an official complaint and have received an email apologising for not replying but giving me 2 1st class tickets on any Virgin West Coast route.

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vsmith1
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby vsmith1 » 2 Jul 2018, 3:37pm

I have been trying, and failing, to get a booking for me and my bike. I was also told 12 weeks in advance was the earliest I could get them check and make bicycle reservations. Having waited for the 12 weeks, now it appears that it is a Network Rail delay on a set of revised timetable/schedules and I need to try in 6 weeks. Nevermind I have booked and paid for a ferry, Eurostar (with bicycle) and some accommodation, travel insurance etc. I bet that any attempt to claim that back from NR or VT on the event of having to change the rest of my plans.

Of course, silly me, why don't they just put that fact up on all of the rail websites, then we wouldn't spend time on hold on the phone trying to reserve something at a time when we cannot. :!:

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mjr
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby mjr » 2 Jul 2018, 3:57pm

vsmith1 wrote:I have been trying, and failing, to get a booking for me and my bike. I was also told 12 weeks in advance was the earliest I could get them check and make bicycle reservations. Having waited for the 12 weeks, now it appears that it is a Network Rail delay on a set of revised timetable/schedules and I need to try in 6 weeks. Nevermind I have booked and paid for a ferry, Eurostar (with bicycle) and some accommodation, travel insurance etc. I bet that any attempt to claim that back from NR or VT on the event of having to change the rest of my plans.

I think you'd have to claim from your travel insurance if it covers such operator malpractice as stupidly late timetable finalisation.

I'm astonished that train timetables being finalised only 2 weeks ahead in some cases (Virgin Trains West Coast as of 3pm today isn't confirmed for 21st July, for example) isn't a national scandal that has resulted in more heads rolling.
vsmith1 wrote:Of course, silly me, why don't they just put that fact up on all of the rail websites, then we wouldn't spend time on hold on the phone trying to reserve something at a time when we cannot. :!:

You mean like National Rail Enquiries - Buying Advance tickets and reserving seats? Yes, they should have a page like that on the rail websites ;)
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby merseymouth » 2 Jul 2018, 4:00pm

Hi there, My experiences have me to simply book my rail journey, through Raileasy, then just walk up to the Virgin desk at Lime Street Station and get them to give me tricycle space reservation! Never failed.
Sometimes I've even walked up to the booking office at a station such as Preston and bagged a booking for my trike to hop on a Virgin Train to Wigan, instead of waiting for a Northern Trains route.
My disabled pass may help, but I do not see why? TTFN MM

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vsmith1
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby vsmith1 » 5 Jul 2018, 10:46am

Unfortunately, to get to London, with no changes from the NW England, I have to use VT. So hopping on another train eg TPE or Northern ( :evil: ) is not really a useful option for me. If I was heading north then yes most definitely!

I will have a loaded tourer and do not want to be getting around Crewe or Manchester or Birmingham. And as I go south there are likely to be more people trying to get the limited spaces.

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RickH
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Re: Booking Bikes on Virgin West Coast Trains

Postby RickH » 7 Jul 2018, 5:40pm

vsmith1 wrote:Unfortunately, to get to London, with no changes from the NW England, I have to use VT. So hopping on another train eg TPE or Northern ( :evil: ) is not really a useful option for me. If I was heading north then yes most definitely!

I will have a loaded tourer and do not want to be getting around Crewe or Manchester or Birmingham. And as I go south there are likely to be more people trying to get the limited spaces.

I wouldn't be panicking. I've been catching virgin trains (doing the hop between Wigan & either Warrington or Crewe or return) on a more-or-less weekly basis (occasionally up to 3 time in a week) for 4 years on a "turn up & buy a ticket on the day" basis & have only not got a bike reservation on the next train to arrive (so had to wait for the one after) a couple of times each direction in that time.

When you do book, do allow plenty of time to get your ongoing connection as sometimes there can be problems causing an hour or more delay. (But then I've spent an hour or more waiting in a traffic jam or for a delayed flight too so I don't think rail is particularly worse.)