New bike restriction on Eurostar

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travelling
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby travelling » 17 Mar 2013, 1:01pm

I suspect this is nothing more than their earning potential having plateau'd and they have seen just how much money the airlines are making from luggage charges
I have the lightest bike in the world....then I put my fattest body in the world on it...the only pounds that have been lost are from my bank account

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robgul
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby robgul » 17 Mar 2013, 1:14pm

I mentioned up-thread that I needed to get 13 riders and bikes from Paris to London - process couldn't have been simpler :

1 Phone Eurostar group bookings and make a provisional passenger booking for 1613 train

2 Phone Eurostar baggage service and book bikes - check bikes in at 1330 - 6 on the 1513 train, 7 on the 1613 train - collect at St Pancras

3 Call back to passenger bookings and confirm/pay the group passenger booking

... and the whole cost (with bike) is less than the normal single fare price - and between checking in and getting on the train we can have lunch at the brasserie opposite the Gare du Nord!

I'll report back in June on the experience.

[Having been on Eurostar quite a few times I have to say that the luggage space provision has been under-estimated in the design of the carriages ... perhaps they didn't anticipate people taking so much stuff??

Rob
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Barrenfluffit
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby Barrenfluffit » 17 Mar 2013, 2:08pm

Barrenfluffit wrote:
andymiller wrote:Just in case the point gets lost, you can still take bikes by Eurostar,


to Paris or Brussels. Not sure you can take them to an intermediate point and if you wanted to take your bike on the summer service to Avignon (which would be excellent) or the winter service to the alps its not possible.

Ebe exists for a reason...


Just to rub it in the bike bit of the sncf website advertises that you can now go south on its TGV's from Lille. I suspect they will be disappointed at the volume of bike toting eurostar derived traffic !

The good news is that there is also a direct train from Paris to Moscow which takes bikes. Which might be an easier option for people heading to Poland etc as the route suggested by seat61 include ICE's and changing at frankfurt.

finknottle
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby finknottle » 18 Mar 2013, 2:04pm

I am planning to cycle from London to Paris in the summer and then catch the Eurostar home. If using their registered baggage service do bikes have to be bagged up or will they accept them without a bike? More importantly... will they look after them if they're not bagged up and protected?!?

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robgul
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby robgul » 18 Mar 2013, 3:26pm

finknottle wrote:I am planning to cycle from London to Paris in the summer and then catch the Eurostar home. If using their registered baggage service do bikes have to be bagged up or will they accept them without a bike? More importantly... will they look after them if they're not bagged up and protected?!?


No bag (that's the whole point!) - you wheel the bike to the check in at the back of the Gare du Nord and see it again at St Pancras (I understand that if you travel on the same train as the bike .. that can usually be arranged - you can collect the bike on the platform at St Pancras)

... as for care etc ... I'll tell you after 18 June!

Rob
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Cytech accredited mechanic . . . and woodworker

finknottle
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby finknottle » 18 Mar 2013, 3:31pm

robgul wrote:
finknottle wrote:I am planning to cycle from London to Paris in the summer and then catch the Eurostar home. If using their registered baggage service do bikes have to be bagged up or will they accept them without a bike? More importantly... will they look after them if they're not bagged up and protected?!?


No bag (that's the whole point!) - you wheel the bike to the check in at the back of the Gare du Nord and see it again at St Pancras (I understand that if you travel on the same train as the bike .. that can usually be arranged - you can collect the bike on the platform at St Pancras)

... as for care etc ... I'll tell you after 18 June!

Rob


Thanks Rob - I assumed that would be the case but couldn't find anything to confirm and didn't like the repeated use of the word "baggage" when describing my bike!

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robgul
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby robgul » 18 Mar 2013, 3:59pm

finknottle wrote:
robgul wrote:
finknottle wrote:I am planning to cycle from London to Paris in the summer and then catch the Eurostar home. If using their registered baggage service do bikes have to be bagged up or will they accept them without a bike? More importantly... will they look after them if they're not bagged up and protected?!?


No bag (that's the whole point!) - you wheel the bike to the check in at the back of the Gare du Nord and see it again at St Pancras (I understand that if you travel on the same train as the bike .. that can usually be arranged - you can collect the bike on the platform at St Pancras)

... as for care etc ... I'll tell you after 18 June!

Rob


Thanks Rob - I assumed that would be the case but couldn't find anything to confirm and didn't like the repeated use of the word "baggage" when describing my bike!


If you call 020 7843 7526 and speak to Spencer or Victoria one of them can help you (you should be able to make a provisional bike booking for a specific train, then book the passenger ticket online for the train, and then go back and confirm/pay for the bike)

As I said up-thread - we booked for 13 of us with consummate ease!

Rob
E2E http://www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk
HoECC http://www.heartofenglandcyclingclub.org.uk
Cytech accredited mechanic . . . and woodworker

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Cunobelin
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby Cunobelin » 18 Mar 2013, 6:54pm

Isn't it bizarre that it is now often easier (and cheaper) to fly with a bike than catch a train?

jonsear
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby jonsear » 19 Mar 2013, 5:51pm

If the policy is "Every passenger can take up to 2 medium-sized items (85cm at their maximum length)" presumably that means you could take a cardboard box 85cm3
If so a 120cm long folded bike should just about fit diagonally in the box.
Anyone know a source of 85cm3 boxes?!

dave holladay
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby dave holladay » 5 May 2013, 6:24pm

At last something to report

http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-in ... YPx9RwVlgs

In some ways I overcooked it and have to rebuild my previous relations with a specific contact at Eurostar, and have been advised to ease off whilst others made efforts to get the issues sorted out. This week I got a nod that the website would be changed for 5th May and there it is.

The new details are now on the web page and the system will now be that oversize bikes in bags will be accepted as booked baggage by Eurodespatch (London St Pancras) Geoparts (Paris Gare du Nord) and SNCB (Brussel Zuid). Baggage is loaded & unloaded at Lille and the impression I get is that a bike in a bag will be bookable to/from Lille. This needs to be confirmed as various conflicting answers have been received to date. Part of the delay was apparently getting all of the concessionaires (Eurodespatch is not Eurostar) to agree the charges and conditions, these are £10 or €15 for each bagged bike. I'd hope that the limits of space that restrict each (old) train to 8 bikes don't create problems for bagged bikes. Note that the guidance for delivery of the Third Railway Package legislation detail on cycle carriage suggest a maximum charge of €15 per journey (full journey)

From personal experience and feedback from other users, the best service on all fronts seems to come from the Brussels operation, and Paris seems to be the most difficult to find and use.

Quite clearly it is not a complete problem taking bikes in bags as the seasonal services to Provence, Avignon, and the French Alps will continue to accept 120 x 90 bike bags with the note on the web page that onward travel by other services also accepts bags with the 120 x 90 dimension. Only Eurostar is out of step with the other Railteam operators in this respect.

Depending on how this charge and book regime affects the bagged bike travellers, we may see Eurostar surprised by the volume of traffic, much in the same way that their 2008 revision of cycle carriage (within 3 years the number of bikes booked had risen to 1000% more than the 2007-08 figures).

So for now we have something workable but not quite the ideal solution, and not helped by the wording of a recent ECF paper http://www.ecf.com/wp-content/uploads/1 ... -paper.pdf which dismisses the bike in bag option (p5) - which as far as I can see is a preferred way for most sport cyclists to take their bike around - in cars, on coaches, on trains and on planes, although less favoured by touring cyclists.

In about a years time we may well see the first services from St Pancras offered by other operators. Whilst DB is putting 8 bike spaces in to several of their new IC-E trains, and OBB is adding 6 bike spaces to their widely travelled FLIRT trains, DB seem to be omitting bike spaces from the Siemens E-320 units destined to tun to the UK (Eurostar is also buying some of these trains, although the interior layout may vary within the basic shell).

Those reading this might want to start asking DB about luggage and bike capacity, when their services start.

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megilleland
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby megilleland » 5 May 2013, 8:19pm

As part of this thread way back in 2008: Cycle carriage on trains petition I added a post about the situation in Europe which at the time (2007) looked quite promising. However this was not to be. Here is what I posted:

"The UK government response is no surprise, as they will only follow what their masters in EU tell them to do.

In January 2007 the EU Parliament came up with a directive stating that there should be minimum rights for all railway passengers including making bicycle transport possible on all trains in the EU. At the time this comment was made:

"This is an important day for cyclists in Europe", says Dr Bernhard Ensink ECF Secretary General. Thanks to the initiative of the bicycle friendly MEP´s, the common effort of ETRA and ECF and the members of the European Cyclists´ Federation who cooperated with their national EU MEP´s, the European Parliament voted positively on the minimum rights for all railway passengers on the 18th of January 2007. The House voted to extend proposals on international passengers' rights and obligations to domestic rail traffic, arguing that "ordinary rail passengers should not be left out in the cold".

The regulations voted by the EU Parliament include among others that ".. in future all trains should provide a specially designated area of the train for baby carriages, bicycles and sports equipment."

That amendment tabled by the Green MEP Cramer (D), the Socialist MEP El Khadraoui (B) and the Christian Democrat MEP Rack (A) was adopted by an overwhelming majority: 529 in favour, 56 against and 14 abstentions.

The ECF sees this result as a success of their long-term effort for the rights of bicycle users and bicycle tourists in Europe.

"This is an important first step in the right direction. There is plenty of work waiting for us ahead until we realize the basic right of bicycle transport on all trains of Europe", says Dr Bernhard Ensink ECF Secretary General.

All this was turned on its head, on November 6th 2007, when the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the 3rd Railway Package, which includes the Regulation on Railway Passengers’ Rights and Obligations.

Much to ETRA (European Twowheel Retailers' Association) and ECF's (European Cyclists' Federation) surprise, in the Common Position, the provision relating to the transport of bicycles, which was adopted by a very large majority in the Parliament, has been completely eroded. Parliament voted an obligation to have space available on all trains for the transport of bicycles.

That obligation is now replaced by Article 5 stating: "Railway undertakings shall enable passengers to bring bicycles on to the train, where appropriate for a fee, if they are easy to handle, if this does not adversely affect the specific rail service, and if the rolling-stock so permits."

This article gives railway companies plenty of opportunities to refuse the carriage of bicycles. What’s more, as a result of Article 2.4 and 2.5, the member states may exempt railway companies from carrying bicycles on domestic trains for up to 15 years and on urban, suburban and regional trains for an indefinite period of time.

As a result of Article 2.7, the member states must inform the Commission of such exemptions. The Commission is allowed to take action should the exemption not be in accordance with the Regulation. No later than 7 years after the publication of the Regulation in the Official Journal, the Commission must submit to Parliament and Council a report on these exemptions. Finally, the railway companies have an obligation to provide information on accessibility and access conditions for bicycles.

We were informed that this complete change from imposing the transport of bicycles to allowing the transport of bicycles was forced through at the very end of the negotiations under pressure of the Council and the Commission.
It is now up to our members, the national organisation, to monitor and lobby their national railway companies. They will have to make sure that they do not abuse of the possibility not to carry bicycles. At the same time, they will have to convince them to carry bicycles.

In the meantime, ETRA and ECF will continue our efforts for the establishment of European legislation that stimulates the combination of bike and train. We will also continue to raise awareness in the European institutions of the need for facilitating that combination.

We find the reluctance of the member states and of the Commission to seriously develop bike transport by train regrettable and all the more peculiar in the light of the ongoing debate on sustainability.

This is why the government does not give a toss!

Has any pressure been put on the EU to look at this again?

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CJ
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby CJ » 7 May 2013, 3:59pm

dave holladay wrote:So for now we have something workable but not quite the ideal solution, and not helped by the wording of a recent ECF paper http://www.ecf.com/wp-content/uploads/1 ... -paper.pdf which dismisses the bike in bag option (p5) - which as far as I can see is a preferred way for most sport cyclists to take their bike around - in cars, on coaches, on trains and on planes, although less favoured by touring cyclists.

The wording from ECF that you consider unhelpful must be this:
ECF document wrote:Second best possibilities of bicycle transport as accompanied luggage are requirements by railway companies to dismantle the bicycle and put it into a bag (Thalys; bag size 120 × 90cm). In our view this is not a practical ‘solution’ at all as it is time-consuming and requires a good deal of technical expertise. It is also becomes an additional piece of heavy luggage to be carried.

I think that is a fair assessment. For whilst it is true that sports cyclists have no trouble and seem perfectly happy to do that: a normal person, who wants to take their normal bicycle on the train, is unlikely to find the business of dismantling it into such a small bag, easy or even possible in many cases.

In a country like the UK, which does nothing to encourage cycling as a means of transport, the sporting hard-core minority tends to dominate what little cycling remains. So to us, the bike bag appears to be a more useful solution than it really is. Oddly enough, the needs of that often denigrated UK cycling sub-group, the tourists, are closest to what the general public want, as demonstrated by the mass-cycling populations of countries like Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. So I think it's generally for the best that those countries tend to shape ECF policy.
Chris Juden
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iviehoff
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby iviehoff » 7 May 2013, 4:22pm

CJ wrote:In a country like the UK, which does nothing to encourage cycling as a means of transport, the sporting hard-core minority tends to dominate what little cycling remains. So to us, the bike bag appears to be a more useful solution than it really is. Oddly enough, the needs of that often denigrated UK cycling sub-group, the tourists, are closest to what the general public want, as demonstrated by the mass-cycling populations of countries like Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. So I think it's generally for the best that those countries tend to shape ECF policy.

"Nothing" is a bit unfair. There are plenty of places that do even less.

What Dave documents here is the sad fact of democracy in Europe. The Parliament, has little money and hence little power and little responsibility. The parliament thus does things that are popular to various people, because it doesn't have to fund them or implement them itself. Then the people with the money who would have to pay for it stop it - they are elected too but at national rather than European level. Thus we get false hope when they vote for something some national governments will block through the council because it costs money.

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CJ
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby CJ » 7 May 2013, 5:08pm

iviehoff wrote:
CJ wrote:In a country like the UK, which does nothing to encourage cycling as a means of transport...

"Nothing" is a bit unfair...

You are right. I should have written: "more to discourage than encourage". :cry:
Chris Juden
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dct
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby dct » 7 May 2013, 11:15pm

Another challenge with the requirement to send the bike as freight on Eurostar is it makes the early Eurostar services to France untenable if you are coming from outside London.

I wanted to take my bike to France for l'etape. Euro Dispatch confirmed that there was space on both the 7:00 am and 7:30 am services - I just needed to bring my bike in the night before!

As I'm coming up on the sleeper from Cornwall, this wasn't a very practical proposition; am now flying ex Heathrow.

Grrr!