Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Suffolk audaxer
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Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Suffolk audaxer » 29 Jul 2020, 5:18pm

I'm looking for support from any of you who pre-Covid-19 BOOKED your bikes onto East Midland Rail (EMR) (previously East Midlands Trains) Norwich - Liverpool services to make ongoing journeys that also involve bike reservations.

If you are one, if you don't know already, I have a bit of bad news. They have stopped accepting bookings during the summer months. I was told by a customer service representative it was due to safety concerns on busy trains. As a maximum of just two bikes is allowed and considering the nature of the cycle space, plus having plentiful experience of taking my bike on summer services, that is tosh! That said, it would not surprise me if the customer service representative was assuming that or said it on the spur of the moment so it sounded a reasonable thing to have done. If it's not about safety, if anything, it makes the decision even more questionable. I suspect when the new management took over, they decided to review and it just did not occur to any of them that cyclists might want to use the services for ongoing journeys requiring reservations.

I have written to Alan Pilbeam, Abellio's chief operating officer and I'm intending to write another letter making further points. If you have used the services for that purpose or could be affected I would be grateful for your support in writing to either Alan Pilbeam or EMR. They are still accepting first-come,first-served. I understand, therefore, why some might feel it goes against the grain to complain about booking being stopped. Being able to book is important for those of us making ongoing journeys for tours and such like. Indeed, still allowing first-come, first-served somewhat contradicts the safety argument. If guards know where bikes will be coming on and being taken off, arguably, while accepting they can get bi=usy, they might be able to prepare for it.

Thank you in anticipation and if you write, please let me know.

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mjr
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby mjr » 29 Jul 2020, 6:42pm

That's completely crackers. Where did you find this out? The previous policy still appears on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations ... icies.aspx and https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/t ... -on-trains and it still seems possible to book a bike online (on one of the few sites that does bike reservations).

Hopefully, you just got an undertrained customer service worker.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Cyril Haearn
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Cyril Haearn » 30 Jul 2020, 3:48pm

Liverpool or Liverpool Street? :wink:
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mjr
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby mjr » 30 Jul 2020, 5:01pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:Liverpool or Liverpool Street? :wink:

EMR don't run into Liverpool Street.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Pete Owens
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Pete Owens » 1 Aug 2020, 1:43pm

mjr wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Liverpool or Liverpool Street? :wink:

EMR don't run into Liverpool Street.

Though it is quicker to go from Norwich to Liverpool via Liverpool Street - which might solve the problem of EMR. I don't know what the restrictions on the west coast mainline are.

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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby mjr » 1 Aug 2020, 3:37pm

Pete Owens wrote:
mjr wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Liverpool or Liverpool Street? :wink:

EMR don't run into Liverpool Street.

Though it is quicker to go from Norwich to Liverpool via Liverpool Street - which might solve the problem of EMR. I don't know what the restrictions on the west coast mainline are.

Reservations on Avanti, first-come on Northwestern, in short. But it's dearer and not quicker to some places between Norwich and Liverpool.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Pendodave
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Pendodave » 1 Aug 2020, 9:42pm

Pete Owens wrote:
mjr wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Liverpool or Liverpool Street? :wink:

EMR don't run into Liverpool Street.

Though it is quicker to go from Norwich to Liverpool via Liverpool Street - which might solve the problem of EMR. I don't know what the restrictions on the west coast mainline are.

Wcml avanti services have the same cycle regulations as they've ever had. If you're going to Liverpool, there are 4 bookable slots per train.
You can pre book them at any manned booking office (providing the staff can find their way around the system).
You can chance your arm and turn up at Euston and book one right up to departure. But why would you.
It used to be bookable by phone, but I think that has been taken away at present.

Suffolk audaxer
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Suffolk audaxer » 14 Aug 2020, 12:11pm

MJR: One of the points I raised in my letter to the Chief Operating Officer is that the website still indicates you can reserve bikes. I'm still awaiting the response.

I'm not aware of a facility on the website to actually reserve bikes. It tells you to phone or email, so I emailed (do you know something I don't?). When I received the response, being so surprised, I used the online chat facility. In hindsight, it's silly I didn't think to point out what the website still says. It was one of those spur of the moment situations where feeling incensed you don't always think of the obvious.

The person I chatted to seemed to be indicating the policy had changed since August 2019 when Abellio became the Franchisee. If so, it's ironic because Abellio, IMHO, are generally one of the better operators with regard to 'bikes on trains. Including the email reply, I dealt with two customer services people. Yes, it's possible they were just uninformed/muddled as I've had that happen before, albeit not with EMR. Many customer services staff seem to be muddled about what their operators' policy is for 'bikes on trains.'

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mjr
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby mjr » 14 Aug 2020, 2:49pm

Suffolk audaxer wrote:I'm not aware of a facility on the website to actually reserve bikes. It tells you to phone or email, so I emailed (do you know something I don't?).

Yes, I know to book tickets on GWR.com or one of the other few sites which offer bike reservations. I wouldn't book on EMR's website, or any other Abellio company, not just because of bike tickets but also they have a history of mislabelling rubbishy m-tickets (which require a phone app and "activation") as e-tickets (which come by email or download as a PDF that you can print or a pkpass which you can load into your usual ticket app - they're almost as good as card tickets but without the tree use).

Yes, it's possible they were just uninformed/muddled as I've had that happen before, albeit not with EMR. Many customer services staff seem to be muddled about what their operators' policy is for 'bikes on trains.'

Fingers crossed that it's just confusion, then! Still not great and might be worth a formal complaint?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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simonineaston
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby simonineaston » 14 Aug 2020, 3:02pm

When the gods look back at our history and they try to figure out where we went wrong, they will dwell long & hard over the issue of The Bicycle. They'll look at each other and shrug - and say, "It was a gift - it could have helped them all live a Great Life - why didn't they get it?!"
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Recently imposed bikes restriction on Norwich - Liverpool train services

Postby Cyril Haearn » 14 Aug 2020, 9:03pm

The ctc solved the train bike problem 1978, anyone remember?
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