Malaconotus wrote: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?
Sorry, it's an old thread but you did ask and I still need the therapy.
On a recent return trip from Skipton to Berwick my train journey was made so stressful by rules, regulations, and procedures that even the staff involved don't understand, that I now do the trip by bike.
Booked an open return in advance at Skipton. No booking available for bike from Skipton to Leeds, guards discretion! Compulsory booking for bike from Leeds to Berwick.
This journey was ruined by a jobsworth of an aggressive guard, resulting in my breaking the journey at Durham to change trains and hope for a guard who wasn't ex hitler youth.
That paled into insignificance when it came to booking my open return journey. Because I had initially booked at a station, none of the online or telephone companies could help. I was told to book at the station although I was currently staying 35 miles away from Berwick station. When I telephoned Berwick station I was told that I could book my own ticket there but not the bike reservation because the train was run by a different company. I would need to go to Edinburgh to book my bike on a train from Berwick! After numerous circular phone calls, a ruse was devised whereby I should present at Berwick station at least one hour before my train left its departure station. The staff at Berwick would then phone Edinburgh, the originating station, and book my bike place.
Needless to say, after arriving at Berwick over 2 hrs before my train, the staff there would have nothing to do with this scam devised by some now anonymous person on the phone. I simply had to wait the 2 hours with no booking for my bike hoping that the dragon guard of my outward journey was on a day off. The guard was in fact sympathetic and let me and the bike on with repeated utterances about not being supposed to.
The next problem was when I realised that I would have to change at York. Another risk of an unbooked cycle space. However it turned out not to be a problem as the York to Leeds train was run by a different company and did not require cycle booking. That didn't make the journey problem free though. While waiting on the platform, I walked approximately 10 - 15 steps to look at the overhead information display. Within 3 minutes there was a dire warning over the tanoy that the unattended bicycle on platform X would be taken away and destroyed if it's owner didn't return immediately. I hadn't even moved away enough to warrant locking it. Surely they would ask the person nearest the bike before such an overreaction. Anyone concerned could have easily recognised me as the likely owner, Bright shell jacket with hivis stripes, right trouser leg tucked in sock. Anyway I convinced the goons homing in on my bike that I was not Al Qaeda on tour. When I asked about the over 1,000 unattended cycles in racks on the opposite platform they explained that they were not unattended but were parked. It's good to know our security is in such dependable hands.
As the train entered the station I was again accosted by another rail employee who shouted as he ran past that if I wanted to get "that thing" on this train, I should get a bloody move on. I ran down the platform after him and asked what the problem was. He said that they had to change refreshment trolleys and didn't have time to mess about. It's a pity that the train driver didn't realise this as he failed to stop soon enough and the guards van doors ended up beyond the platform. The guard on the platform and another one from the train manhandled the food (?) trolleys over those slats the railways use to prevent easy walking and disappeared saying passengers could not use that door as it was unsafe and they would be trespassing.
As trespassing seemed a minor misdemeanor after my recent status of suspected terrorist I lifted my bike overhead, panniers and all, and trespassed my way to the door. (doesn't anger give you strength?) With no platform to stand on it was a long way up but I managed to get it in and climbed up after it.
Like I said... I now cycle the 250 mile round trip to visit my parents. It's far easier.
Let the train take the strain? yea right