Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

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Jdsk
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby Jdsk » 7 Mar 2019, 9:29am

Just received an answer from South Western Railway.

Jonathan

We welcome cyclists and their bikes on our trains, but as safety is important to us, we do have some restrictions because space is limited at busier times. You can find out more at:

https://www.southwesternrailway.com/tra ... ith-a-bike

Even when there isn’t a restriction, we can’t guarantee that your bike will be accepted, as space is allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Our staff have the right to refuse it if there is no space for it to be transported safely. You can take a small folding bicycle on any of our trains if there is space for it to be stowed away safely, where it won’t cause an obstruction. Non-folding bicycles aren’t allowed on rail replacement bus services at any time – so please check for engineering work before you travel. Small folding bicycles are accepted if fully folded.

To reserve a space for your bike, you can do this:

· when you book your ticket online;

· at any staffed station; and

· by contacting our Customer Service Centre on the number below.

Please book at least 24 hours before you travel. Let me know if you need any further information.

Address: Freepost: SWR CUSTOMER RELATIONS
Email: customerrelations@swrailway.com
Phone: +44 (0) 345 6000 650
Last edited by Jdsk on 7 Mar 2019, 9:38am, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby Jdsk » 7 Mar 2019, 9:34am

I'm sure that they're trying to be helpful. But it doesn't answer my question... how do I book this journey that involves two train operating companies?

At the moment I'm considering either booking online with each operator and trying to reserve bike spaces with each or booking online with GWR and then 'phoning SWR.

Jonathan
Last edited by Jdsk on 7 Mar 2019, 10:05am, edited 1 time in total.

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mjr
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby mjr » 7 Mar 2019, 9:46am

Jdsk wrote:I'm sure that they're trying to be helpful. But it doesn't answer my question... how do I book this journey that involves two train operating companies?

At the moment I'm considering either booking online with each operator and trying to reserve bike spaces with each or booking online with GWR and then 'phoning SWR.

Book online with GWR and tick the "reserve a bike" option and it will book all bookable trains for you.
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st599_uk
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby st599_uk » 7 Mar 2019, 10:37am

Jdsk wrote:I'm sure that they're trying to be helpful. But it doesn't answer my question... how do I book this journey that involves two train operating companies?

At the moment I'm considering either booking online with each operator and trying to reserve bike spaces with each or booking online with GWR and then 'phoning SWR.

Jonathan



No need to phone SWR, they have bike bookings on London Waterloo to Salisbury/Exeter/Bristol trains - all others are First Come First Serve.

See: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/tra ... ith-a-bike

You should also keep an eye on https://www.southwesternrailway.com/pla ... provements
Bikes aren't carried on rail replacement services.
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gbnz
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby gbnz » 21 Mar 2019, 8:29am

Whata joke of a company.

Was about to book a ticket for Monday, have now spent 28 minutes trying to reserve a space for a bicycle. Have had to go via facebook and at the end of the day, have decided to either give it a miss or book on LNER

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Sweep
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby Sweep » 21 Mar 2019, 10:10am

Astrobike wrote:Agreed X C are not the best ,that said traviling with a loaded touring bike with any train company in this country is always going to be a fraught experience .s

Generally agree but from a recent experience can recommend london northwestern if their routes suit. Slower than some trains but perfectly nice and comfortable.
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby PH » 21 Mar 2019, 11:47am

mjr wrote:I think XC Voyagers on that route have small bike cupboards between coaches D and F, visible on https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/on ... our-trains seating plan.

I think that'd be my choice despite the far from ideal cycle storage. I've used it several times from Birmingham and not had any major issues, nor am I aware of any cyclist not being able to get on at intermediate stops.
As has been said it can be fraught, but I like to give myself time to deal with any issues that may arise. With a journey like the OP, if it was possible I'd try and get a luchtime train and spend the afternoon having a look around Portsmouth. The stress of having a crucial connection to make is too much for me, even though I have no experience of missing one.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 21 Mar 2019, 12:20pm

It's worth noting that you can do Oxford to Portsmouth without booking any trains - slightly slower but it'd be my first-choice option (and probably will be when I start my trip to France this summer!).

Oxford-Reading: catch a GWR stopping train (either operated by a two/three-coach 'Turbo' throughout, or a Turbo to Didcot changing onto an Electrostar there).

Reading-Basingstoke: catch the GWR local service.

Basingstoke-Portsmouth: catch a South Western Railway service.
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RickH
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby RickH » 21 Mar 2019, 12:50pm

I used to use the old East Coast website before they messed around with it. I must admit since then I've generally gone "old school" & just go to one of my local stations (preferably when I'm going to going that way) & get tickets there. You can find out if there is a bike reservation available (if needed) before you book & you don't even have to be travelling to or from that station, or even using the services of the train company running the ticket office (for instance I've bought tickets at Bolton for travel from Wigan to Leamington Spa & back).

I remember one time I wanted a particular cheap fare (I think I was heading for Glasgow) & the guy had trouble getting a bike reservation but said "hang on a minute while I try something". He pressed a few buttons (I don't know exactly what he did) but, hey presto, he was able to book my bike on.

Apart from a few special offers, where you have to use the train company's booking service (are they actually supposed to be able to do that?), you can get tickets for any journey from the ticket office of pretty much any station (TfL run stations being the exception, I can't think of any others).

gbnz
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby gbnz » 21 Mar 2019, 5:21pm

RickH wrote: I must admit since then I've generally gone "old school" & just go to one of my local stations .


Yes, apologies for the fact that I was "hacked off" :wink:

Over breakfast this morning, I had the chance of an astonishing cheap, one way fare to Berwick upon Tweed (£3.50). A full days cycling on the Scottish Borders was available, followed by a 40 mile hack back home.

Looked fantastic, but the fact that Cross Country don't want bikes on their trains was evident, with absurd* systems put in place to prevent bikes being booked on. I had a quick run down to the local station (12 miles round journey), obviously they couldn't offer super cheap fares (NB. Which negated the fantastic offer available). (* Absurd; though makes commercial sense).

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RickH
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby RickH » 21 Mar 2019, 6:08pm

gbnz wrote:
RickH wrote: I must admit since then I've generally gone "old school" & just go to one of my local stations .


Yes, apologies for the fact that I was "hacked off" :wink:

Over breakfast this morning, I had the chance of an astonishing cheap, one way fare to Berwick upon Tweed (£3.50). A full days cycling on the Scottish Borders was available, followed by a 40 mile hack back home.

Looked fantastic, but the fact that Cross Country don't want bikes on their trains was evident, with absurd* systems put in place to prevent bikes being booked on. I had a quick run down to the local station (12 miles round journey), obviously they couldn't offer super cheap fares (NB. Which negated the fantastic offer available). (* Absurd; though makes commercial sense).

Although if you've got evidence that you have tickets (preferably the actual ticket) you can do any cycle reservation booking at the station (but that is subject to availability)

For example I do a regular trip to Chester & one of the options is Virgin to Warrington then Warrington to Chester. I never make a reservation for the return trip until I'm on my way back (even though I'm usually on the same trains), either before I get on at Chester or during the connection time at Warrington. It's never a problem (unless there aren't any spaces - which has only happened once in nearly 5 years that I was going to have to wait 1.5 hours to get on a train - in that instance I just cycled home from there).

Jdsk
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby Jdsk » 30 Mar 2019, 5:36pm

Thanks, everyone.

I booked us from Oxford to Southampton Central with bike reservations on GWR, and from Southampton Central to Portsmouth and Southsea without on SWR.

Jonathan

brianleach
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Re: Oxford to Portsmouth: how to book trains

Postby brianleach » 3 Apr 2019, 3:59pm

I think that is the best you can do but as I live in Winchester I might have changed trains there. SWR should not be a problem and if you are lucky you may not even need to remove panniers.

Cross Country trains are always a lottery leaving aside having to take everything off the bike to hang it. Getting two bikes on will always be a challenge even if you've book two spaces. I stood from Sheffield to Winchester last year holding my bike even though I had reserved a place!!