The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

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cidermartin
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby cidermartin » 23 Apr 2011, 9:02am

Basically I always follow the train company's policy: a reservation for my bike. I usually have a ticket for that specific train (because it's cheaper) and therefore cannot get on the next train. Surely the train company has a legal contract, or whatever the expression is, with me and if they fail to keep it will have to provide an alternative. I could be talking about £190 worth of ticket from the southwest to Aberdeen. Presumably the station manager will put me and my bike in a taxi to Aberdeen!

The Mechanic
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby The Mechanic » 23 Apr 2011, 9:48am

This is the potential problem I have. My tickets are for specific trains. If I can't get on the right one at Brid I will miss the Donnie to Aberdeen train and then what? I think I will just not think about it and deal with it on hte day. Hopefully there will be no problem.

The "get on the train at Bempton" wheeze may be the answer.
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Cunobelin
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby Cunobelin » 23 Apr 2011, 10:26am

cidermartin wrote:Basically I always follow the train company's policy: a reservation for my bike. I usually have a ticket for that specific train (because it's cheaper) and therefore cannot get on the next train. Surely the train company has a legal contract, or whatever the expression is, with me and if they fail to keep it will have to provide an alternative. I could be talking about £190 worth of ticket from the southwest to Aberdeen. Presumably the station manager will put me and my bike in a taxi to Aberdeen!



The contract is to deliver you from the start to the end of the journey without injury or harm.... there is no time limit so long as you eventually get there.

Malaconotus
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby Malaconotus » 23 Apr 2011, 10:40am

cidermartin wrote:Basically I always follow the train company's policy: a reservation for my bike. I usually have a ticket for that specific train (because it's cheaper) and therefore cannot get on the next train. Surely the train company has a legal contract, or whatever the expression is, with me and if they fail to keep it will have to provide an alternative. I could be talking about £190 worth of ticket from the southwest to Aberdeen. Presumably the station manager will put me and my bike in a taxi to Aberdeen!


The small print of the bike reservation does allow them to refuse the bike. If they do, are you allowed to take the next train even if you have a ticket for a specific train?

The experience of taking bikes on trains does seem to vary significantly by train company, and perhaps by rail company or station employee. As the OP is using Northern and Transpennine, he shouldn't be at all worried based on my fairly substantial experience. Actually, is there anyone with a horror story about travelling by train with bike in the north of England? The negative stories seem to have a southern bias?

vernon
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby vernon » 23 Apr 2011, 1:44pm

I've done the CTC three times and have used the Leeds - Carlisle - Whitehaven train routes. The Northern Rail services cannot be booked but the staff are very relaxed about the presence of bikes.

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matt2matt2002
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby matt2matt2002 » 23 Apr 2011, 5:27pm

I have done the Glasgow to Oban and Fort William trip twice.
nae problemo amigo

Only slightly worrying moment was on the first trip when I realized that I had to hang up my bike by it's back wheel.
I needn't have worried about having a wobbly wheel - everything held together :wink:

£8.80 Glasgow to Oban! Now that's what I call a bargain :)
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Starfire
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby Starfire » 24 Apr 2011, 11:01pm

When I did LEJOG in 2009 my journey to Penzance was from Oxenholme station in the Lake District. Due to signalling problems near to Glasgow my train arrived 50 minutes late. I informed the station staff that I had a cycle reservation for my journey and with my train being late would I be allowed to continue and catch later conections with my bike. I was told that because the delay was through no fault of my own I was ok to continue. Every time I boarded a train I explained my predicament to the guard and most of them went out of their way to help me. I eventually got to Penzance 30 minutes later than I would have done if my original train had been on time.

bealer
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby bealer » 24 Apr 2011, 11:20pm

If it's start of the line, I always make sure I'm there first. Every time I reserve a bike space they always overbook and on too many occasions I was having to wedge my precious carbon fibre bike in between the other bikes.

Always book obviously. And I liked to lock our bikes up if possible, although on many occasions haven't and it's been ok. Aside from booking and being early, I find there's not much else you can do.

thelawnet
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby thelawnet » 25 Apr 2011, 1:06am

Cunobelin wrote:
To cap it all the new SouthWest Trains leaflets now state that bikes must be folded and placed in a luggage rack. THe only ones available being overhead... difficult and too small even for a Brompton,so an effective ban!


This is not accurate. Folding bikes are allowed on all services 'provided there is space for it to be safely stowed and it doesn't cause an obstruction.' This is open to interpretation, but generally I would suggest you board with said Brompton, sit anywhere, and then negotiate with the guard about stowage if the question arises.

Outside of peak trains to/from London you can carry any bike you like, subject to space being available.

cidermartin
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby cidermartin » 25 Apr 2011, 12:49pm

Despite all the gloom and doom on this thread, I too have never had any problem travelling on a train with my bike. I have completed many long-distance tours, all starting with a train journey. However, what always concerns me that at no time have I ever been asked to show my cycle reservation. If train managers checked cycle owners about to board, explaining that a reservation is required (and, hopefully letting those on without said reservation but stating that they may be asked to remove their bike etc if a person with a reservation boards) then I for one would be much less concerned.

The rules are sensible, given the limited space available; the rules are the train company's rules. I just wish they would understand the anxiety it causes by them not visibly applying them. If they did we would all know where we stand: no reservation/no bike and I could stand there as the train comes in knowing I will be allowed to board.

cycloret
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby cycloret » 27 Apr 2011, 9:50am

I've found out that they only allow folding bikes on the Tyne and Weir Metro. I was planning to use this service to get me from Seaburn Metro Station (Sunderland) to Newcastle after completing my C2C. For Sunderland to Newcastle there are only a few trains which allow normal bikes. Fortunately Grand Central also have a service from Sunderland which I will use to take me to York.

fimm
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby fimm » 27 Apr 2011, 11:26am

cycloret wrote:I've found out that they only allow folding bikes on the Tyne and Weir Metro. I was planning to use this service to get me from Seaburn Metro Station (Sunderland) to Newcastle after completing my C2C. For Sunderland to Newcastle there are only a few trains which allow normal bikes. Fortunately Grand Central also have a service from Sunderland which I will use to take me to York.


The Metro is a Light Passenger Transport System, rather than a train... it has very restrictive rules on bikes as they have not provided any places to put a bike in the carriages. The only kind of bike you may take on is a folding bike where the chain goes inside the fold (like a Brompton) - bikes with the chain on the outside of the fold are not allowed. I know this because I investigated using the metro to get bikes to my parents' home in the Newcastle area.

That having been said, I have bike-train-bike commuted from Edinburgh to Livingston with a Brompton for a few years now and like it - my perception is that the regular commuters with full-sized bikes get on without issue over 99% of the time - but of course it is the less than 1% when you have problems with a train/too many bikes/a jobsworth that everyone remembers and talks about...
Of course it's a race...

alicej
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby alicej » 27 Apr 2011, 11:52am

We came back to Leeds from Nottingham the other day (with 3 bikes) on a train we knew was going to be replaced with a bus from Wakefield. We figured we'd get off the train at Wakefield Kirkgate and cycle to Westgate where we'd pick up the train again to Leeds.

"Bus" turned out to mean a big coach which already had one bike lying on its side in the luggage space under it. We asked the driver for directions to Westgate, but he just let us put all three bikes in another big space under the coach and drove us all the way to Leeds with everyone else. No problem, very patient, dead friendly.

I've had loads of really good experiences with taking bikes on trains, it's such a great way to travel!

Malaconotus
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby Malaconotus » 27 Apr 2011, 4:45pm

cidermartin wrote: If train managers checked cycle owners about to board, explaining that a reservation is required (and, hopefully letting those on without said reservation but stating that they may be asked to remove their bike etc if a person with a reservation boards) then I for one would be much less concerned...

...If they did we would all know where we stand: no reservation/no bike and I could stand there as the train comes in knowing I will be allowed to board.


Problem with this is that hereabouts train travel is used for short hops and the hassle of a reservation isn't warranted or necessary. We've got a really good network in West Yorkshire which is reasonably priced where a train can be used one way to get back from a day ride or even to cut out a few big hills. If you rode out to Ilkley from Leeds and wanted to get the train all or part of the way home, you wouldn't want to be committing yourself to a particular return train, or to be phoning call centres before setting off. It's important that you can just ride to a station and hop on with your bike; services are so regular that planning isn't warranted and waiting for the next train isn't too much of a problem.

The case is rather different for inter-city trains, and when making connections with longer distances, but here the local trains often are the inter-city ones, e.g. Hull - York-Leeds-Manchester-Liverpool. I'm very happy with the flexibility of Northern Trains, who don't generally offer reservations. Fortunately at the moment demand isn't such that there's a problem, and guards seem happy to accommodate three or even four bikes for a few stops.

Graham

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Swallow
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Re: The basics of taking a bike on a UK train

Postby Swallow » 27 Apr 2011, 6:24pm

I have just bought tickets for myself and my bike to get me to the ferry port at Plymouth, only a 60 mile trip each way but no problem at all. Spaces reserved for me and the bike and only £5 return, absolute bargain. Also booked a seat in the carriage next to the guards van for a quick get away. Only drawback is I get to the ferry port a couple of hours early but better that than cutting it fine.
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