Cycle space on trains

Oldjohnw
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Cycle space on trains

Postby Oldjohnw » 4 Nov 2019, 1:40pm

A problem many of us will have encountered. For all its faults, Northern Rail appears to be better than most in this particular aspect.

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whoof
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby whoof » 4 Nov 2019, 2:04pm

The last couple of times I've been on GWR it's gone something like this. I've stood in the middle of the platform and watched the carriages in the front half of the train go by looking for a bike symbol which has failed to materialise. I've then trotted to the back end of the train looking for the bike carriage which doesn't seem to be there. Then back towards the front and found a guard "It's in carriage G, there should have been announcement". There wasn't so back up the platform again and just about get on before the train goes.
There's a 'two' bike vertical hook system. Either it's full of luggage, the food trolley of already has multiple bikes jammed in (at Bristol 5 in the rack and vestibule) I seem to be the only one with a reservation but I'm standing in the doorway doing some sort of shuffling 3-point turn to make room every time someone wants to get past. As the bike racks clear as I get further into my journey I can now rack my bike, except I can't as the hook is too small for my tyres.

My 'solution' is to keep a bike at the place I most often visit and use a folder in a bag, which is what I'll be doing at Christmas. Except this isn't a solution just a get around.

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mjr
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby mjr » 4 Nov 2019, 2:23pm

Those flaming bike hanger cupboards on the Hitachi AT300s (aka GWR IETs, LNER Azumas, ...)! I also take a folding bike these days - those cupboards seem almost as deterring as the peak time bans on cycles in some cities (including Ely, Cambridge and London affecting me). Taking a full-size bike is now done only when I've time to burn messing about avoiding bans and waiting for next trains when all spaces are full. As you say, it's a workaround not a real solution.

The article says "CrossCountry is not the only rail company to install this parody of cycle storage. ScotRail, Great Western, Virgin and others have all introduced it and the rest are following suit" but that's not true and a bit more pessimistic than it needs be: Greater Anglia's slowly-being-introduced new Flirts have bike spaces where you lean the bike against folding seats and use a seatbelt-like retracting securing strap from the wall, as do Thameslink's recently-introduced Desiro City fleet. A lot of other recent trains have spaces where you just lean bikes against walls, including some Electrostars (Great Northern and Southern), Aventras (London Overground, South Western and soon Greater Anglia, c2c and West Midlands) and D-Trains (London Northwestern, Transport for Wales). I don't know what provision on the Civity UK (Northern, Transpennine) or Mark 5s (Transpennine) is like and I think those are the other major new train ranges at the moment.

The author seems to be from York and I guess the most likely suspects to repeat the GWR/LNER mistake are Hull Trains, Transpennine and East Midlands Railway who are also ordering Hitachi AT300s and all of whom serve Yorkshire. However, it is possible for the AT300 to have a proper cycle space because the Southeastern "Javelin" ones have them, although I think 6 bikes just lean against walls with no strap and I don't remember if they compete for space with wheelchairs. I hope York Cycle Campaign can help do us all a favour by getting the broom cupboards replaced with something better on those.
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DaveGos
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby DaveGos » 6 Nov 2019, 1:11am

In my area Shropshire its generally multiple units with one that had a toilet and disabled access etc in one carriage, where you are supposed to store bikes though it does not always say so. I find no issue if I get on at the starting point of the train , but after that its pot luck particularly as many seem to like to sit in this carriage despite the wiff of the toilet every time it opens, they can lounge around a bit more . I equate it to the kitchen at parties, when I was a youth

willp01908
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby willp01908 » 6 Nov 2019, 10:14am

Came across the hanging spaces for the first time on an intercity out of Paris this year and as the article suggests, there was no way Mrs wjp was going to be able to lift her bike onto it - even stripped of luggage. A least we had a reserved pair of hooks and a seat right next to them

Generally OK where I am in the UK, at least Off Peak. Trains into London have a carriage with spaces reserved for bikes opposite the toilet :roll: and you can usually get 2 or 3 in. You`re going to have to shift them if any body gets on with a wheelchair though. Never had to do this though - I dread to think what`s it`s like for a wheelchair user on our rail "service" I suspect they avoid it.

We needed to remove all our panniers to get on here and leave enough room to pass though.
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby Cowsham » 6 Nov 2019, 10:19am

In northern Ireland we have this rule.

"Bicycles will not be permitted on trains prior to 0930 hours Monday to Friday."

This caught me out when the rule first came in. I tried to get on the train to get to the boat for a cycle/camping holiday on the iom. I told the conductor I'd miss my boat if I took a later train so he let me on but on the condition I stood in the bit between the doors if someone needed one of the 5 seats that fold up to accommodate cycles.

How can anyone in NI use a train and cycle to get to work?

Do yous have this on the mainland?

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horizon
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby horizon » 6 Nov 2019, 12:01pm

It's hard to make a sensible comment about bikes on trains as conditions vary so much according to train type, time of day and the attitude of staff. Overall, conditions are a nightmare but mainly due to their unpredictability. But at times, they are delightful. Even the new IETs are fine if you travel in Cornwall late in the evening in the middle of the week.

What I find sad is that apart from peak travel times into major cities, bike space on trains is almost adequate. The demand for spaces is self-limiting and even a small adjustment would probably satisfy all but peak use. Given the TOCs' knowledge of passenger flows, even this should be easy and predictable to manage.

I've suggested before on here that that the rule of thumb of two bike spaces per carriage (however arranged) should be fine. Obviously it would help if they were well designed but otherwise we are very, very close to a good system.
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby Oldjohnw » 6 Nov 2019, 12:51pm

. I've suggested before on here that that the rule of thumb of two bike spaces per carriage (however arranged) should be fine. Obviously it would help if they were well designed but otherwise we are very, very close to a good system
.

Too often it seems to be two bike space per train.
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mjr
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby mjr » 6 Nov 2019, 1:00pm

Cowsham wrote:In northern Ireland we have this rule.

"Bicycles will not be permitted on trains prior to 0930 hours Monday to Friday." [...] How can anyone in NI use a train and cycle to get to work?

Is it that they can't but it doesn't matter to NIR because they think all cyclists are freeloading layabout scum?

Do yous have this on the mainland?

Not consistently. There are bans on some trains that reach or leave London at peak times, but they're horribly inconsistent between routes, varying from 0700-1000 and 1600-1900 (Southern) to no restrictions at all (Greater Anglia's reservations-required Intercity route). A few other cities (including Cambridge, to my annoyance) also have bans. Yet others (Manchester among them, I think) have no bans but the trains are full and you will be as welcome as James Martin at a Stop Killing Cyclists protest.

willp01908 wrote:Came across the hanging spaces for the first time on an intercity out of Paris this year and as the article suggests, there was no way Mrs wjp was going to be able to lift her bike onto it - even stripped of luggage. A least we had a reserved pair of hooks and a seat right next to them

I think there's a bit of a knack to lifting a bike onto them, but there's no good way for anyone to practice and it's far harder to do quickly, it in a confined space or on a moving train. I also suspect the AT300 hooks are too small, much as we saw with a different design of bike hook on Voyagers.

Generally OK where I am in the UK, at least Off Peak. Trains into London have a carriage with spaces reserved for bikes opposite the toilet :roll: and you can usually get 2 or 3 in. You`re going to have to shift them if any body gets on with a wheelchair though. Never had to do this though - I dread to think what`s it`s like for a wheelchair user on our rail "service" I suspect they avoid it.

We needed to remove all our panniers to get on here and leave enough room to pass though.

It looks like the wheelchair space is where the person is sitting, not where the bikes are. I think it may still be difficult if a wheelchair user wants to access the toilet. On some similar trains, the single seat in the bike space folds up (it doesn't look like it, but it does), allowing bikes to be placed against closer to that end and enable wheelchair access to the toilet.

That looks like some sort of "star" train: Turbostar or Electrostar. I've not seen exactly that configuration before. Which route was it and may I share the picture under Creative Commons Zero or Attribution licensing, please? (Do you want your name kept with it?)
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Mick F
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby Mick F » 6 Nov 2019, 2:28pm

On the Tamar Valley Line ....... runs between Gunnislake and Plymouth ......... we are supposed to book our bikes in accordance with Great Western's Ts and Cs.

There are four slots in one of the pair of carriages, and often they are full at commuter times, plus maybe two or three others strewn about. Possibly five or six on the slot built for four. The train staff are happy with this.

However, if some jobsworth chappy was the guard one day, the first four bikes would be the only ones allowed, so the other commuters that get on at intermediate stations would be rather disgruntled. Especially the Bere Alston commuters because it's a very long way by road off the Bere Peninsula.

Also, if they enforced the bookings, it could be that four bikes are booked on for the last mile, so no-one could get on with a bike even at the beginning of the journey.

Good job the train staff are always a happy friendly bunch. :D
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horizon
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby horizon » 6 Nov 2019, 2:42pm

Mick F wrote:On the Tamar Valley Line ....... runs between Gunnislake and Plymouth ......... we are supposed to book our bikes in accordance with Great Western's Ts and Cs.



You cannot book either seats or bikes on this line (reservations are required though on the mainline IETs). Even if you have a reservation for say Paddington, you might not get your bike on at Gunnislake.
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willp01908
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby willp01908 » 6 Nov 2019, 3:44pm

Which route was it and may I share the picture under Creative Commons Zero or Attribution licensing, please?


It was a train from Milton Keynes to Clapham Junction - for onward travel to Newhaven. I think it was a Southern Trains service though IIRC the same setup is used on London Midland trains into Euston.

Not sure about there being a wheelchair space where my wife was sitting but there was a large open space opposite her which is where we put all our panniers. I definitely recall a fold up seat labelled for wheelchairs facing the toilet on the same side as the bikes though. Bike spaces are labelled with directions to face them towards the door and an inertia reel strap is provided.

Feel free to share the image :)

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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby willp01908 » 6 Nov 2019, 3:51pm

Just looked again and seen the large blue wheelchair sign over the seats on the left as you suggested was the case. doh!

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mjr
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby mjr » 6 Nov 2019, 4:05pm

horizon wrote:
Mick F wrote:On the Tamar Valley Line ....... runs between Gunnislake and Plymouth ......... we are supposed to book our bikes in accordance with Great Western's Ts and Cs.



You cannot book either seats or bikes on this line (reservations are required though on the mainline IETs). Even if you have a reservation for say Paddington, you might not get your bike on at Gunnislake.

However, Plusbike at least then means "If you are travelling with a bike and have purchased an Advance ticket for a train on which bikes are permitted but bike reservations are not possible, and there is no room for the bike on the booked train for the Advance ticket, then you can travel on the next train with the same ticket on which there is a bike space available."

But with GWR having so few bike spaces now, who knows when that may be! :(
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griggsy
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Re: Cycle space on trains

Postby griggsy » 6 Nov 2019, 9:43pm

horizon wrote:
Mick F wrote:On the Tamar Valley Line ....... runs between Gunnislake and Plymouth ......... we are supposed to book our bikes in accordance with Great Western's Ts and Cs.



You cannot book either seats or bikes on this line (reservations are required though on the mainline IETs). Even if you have a reservation for say Paddington, you might not get your bike on at Gunnislake.


Yep, same from Barnstaple to Exeter, normally the staff are really good but been stopped from travelling a couple of times and missed connections. Also told once the bike could be shipped home by taxi free of charge but I wasn’t allowed to go in the taxi with it.

Taking bikes on trains should be, and sometimes is, such a great experience but frequently becomes stressful and depressing.