Train travel despair

Jdsk
Posts: 2497
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby Jdsk » 9 Sep 2020, 4:42pm

tentman wrote:I would think it is time CyclingUK started a bike equivalent of Seat61 to help members.

I email The Man when I discover anything. That's mostly been about other European countries but I'm sure that he'd welcome the same about the UK. IMHO he gets bikes.
https://www.seat61.com/email.htm

Jonathan

jgurney
Posts: 1077
Joined: 10 May 2009, 8:34am

Re: Train travel despair

Postby jgurney » 9 Sep 2020, 4:48pm

tentman wrote:Axel-Knutt makes an interesting comment about Hitachi trains. I use Hitachi (known as Javelins to me) a lot, from Strood Kent to the north coast of Kent and also to Kings Cross when I want to cycle to Euston & find there is plenty of space behind the drivers cab in the Bike Zone

There are multiple types of Hitachi trains in use in the UK. The 'Javelin' class 395 do have decent bike space. Axel-Knutt is referring to the newer class 800 'Azuma' trains introduced on GWR and LNER, which have horrible bike space: vertical hangers which cannot accommodate some wide wheels and which require considerable strength and agility for wrestling bikes in and out of them.

Jdsk
Posts: 2497
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby Jdsk » 9 Sep 2020, 4:53pm

Yes. Awful.

Jonathan

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16095
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Train travel despair

Postby mjr » 9 Sep 2020, 5:39pm

jgurney wrote:
tentman wrote:Axel-Knutt makes an interesting comment about Hitachi trains. I use Hitachi (known as Javelins to me) a lot, from Strood Kent to the north coast of Kent and also to Kings Cross when I want to cycle to Euston & find there is plenty of space behind the drivers cab in the Bike Zone

There are multiple types of Hitachi trains in use in the UK. The 'Javelin' class 395 do have decent bike space. Axel-Knutt is referring to the newer class 800 'Azuma' trains introduced on GWR and LNER, which have horrible bike space: vertical hangers which cannot accommodate some wide wheels and which require considerable strength and agility for wrestling bikes in and out of them.

Actually, class 395 (Javelin) and 800-803 (IET/Azuma/Nova/Paragon) are all variations of the Hitachi AT300, but the doors and interiors on the 800+ Intercity-layout trains seem far worse for bikes than the commuter-layout 395s. (Personal best is 24 bikes in a 395 carriage without the bikes blocking gangways. It was a bit cosy for the riders, though.)

I'm sure Sweep will be simply delighted to know that Avanti West Coast have some AT300s (classes 805 and 807) on order, as do East Midlands Railway (810) and the new East Coast (803). If you live in those areas, start begging the train company for a less awful bike space now!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
Sweep
Posts: 6510
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 4:57pm
Location: London

Re: Train travel despair

Postby Sweep » 9 Sep 2020, 6:14pm

mjr wrote:
I'm sure Sweep will be simply delighted to know that Avanti West Coast have some AT300s (classes 805 and 807) on order, as do East Midlands Railway (810) and the new East Coast (803). If you live in those areas, start begging the train company for a less awful bike space now!

I spoke to a an Avanti person at Preston station a few days ago - seem to remember that he mentioned the dreaded trains but that Pendolinos would still be running on the London Preston Glasgow route, but I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or the chap, though very amiable and helpful, may not have been fully informed.

I may write to Avanti congratulating them* on their current set-up and asking about any plans afoot to screw this up.

* Now a doddle to book the bike online with the ticket, decent bike storage on the Pendolinos, excellent helpful and available staff to ensure that you get on and off OK.
Sweep

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16095
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Train travel despair

Postby mjr » 9 Sep 2020, 8:33pm

Sweep wrote:
mjr wrote:
I'm sure Sweep will be simply delighted to know that Avanti West Coast have some AT300s (classes 805 and 807) on order, as do East Midlands Railway (810) and the new East Coast (803). If you live in those areas, start begging the train company for a less awful bike space now!

I spoke to a an Avanti person at Preston station a few days ago - seem to remember that he mentioned the dreaded trains but that Pendolinos would still be running on the London Preston Glasgow route, but I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or the chap, though very amiable and helpful, may not have been fully informed.

As I understand it, the Pendolinos will continue for the foreseeable with the AT300s replacing mainly the Voyagers, but they're also about to order new HS2-compatible trains and if they award that to the Hitachi consortium, it wouldn't be a surprise if the next trains to go are their oldest and only Alstom ones: the Pendolinos.

Well done writing. Hope you get a positive reply.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Traction_man
Posts: 32
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Train travel despair

Postby Traction_man » 9 Sep 2020, 11:00pm

Jdsk wrote:
tentman wrote:I would think it is time CyclingUK started a bike equivalent of Seat61 to help members.

I email The Man when I discover anything. That's mostly been about other European countries but I'm sure that he'd welcome the same about the UK. IMHO he gets bikes.
https://www.seat61.com/email.htm

Jonathan


It's a complicated picture true, but the different TOC cycle policies can be viewed here,

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations ... icies.aspx

At least this helps a bit with planning which operator is the more user-friendly for cyclists, in terms of bookings etc, though still requires a fair bit of homework on finding the best service for ticketing, routes, prices, times and bicycles!

I preferred the days when trains had a proper brake van, which took bicycles no problem, comfy coaches and a locomotive at the front...

All the best,

Keith

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16095
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Train travel despair

Postby mjr » 10 Sep 2020, 12:50am

Traction_man wrote:It's a complicated picture true, but the different TOC cycle policies can be viewed here,

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations ... icies.aspx

Double check with the TOC's own site because that's definitely out of date for Greater Anglia, which now has space for six on its new local trains too, and the new Stansted Express trains have space for 18, which is odd because officially unboxed/bagged bikes are still banned on it, but sometimes they run London-Norwich (at least one trip daily each way).
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

tentman
Posts: 27
Joined: 29 Nov 2007, 5:41pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby tentman » 10 Sep 2020, 7:56am

Then we come to the most difficult part of using a train: buying the ticket. Living in the southeast most of my journeys involve going into & out of London. So I now have to compile a spread sheet to decide: do I buy a split ticket, a return on a definite date & time, two singles or an open return?

Which TOC do I buy the tickets from when two or more may make up my route?

User avatar
Sweep
Posts: 6510
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 4:57pm
Location: London

Re: Train travel despair

Postby Sweep » 10 Sep 2020, 8:45am

tentman wrote:Then we come to the most difficult part of using a train: buying the ticket. Living in the southeast most of my journeys involve going into & out of London. So I now have to compile a spread sheet to decide: do I buy a split ticket, a return on a definite date & time, two singles or an open return?

Which TOC do I buy the tickets from when two or more may make up my route?

On the penultimate bit, i think you know the answer depending on your needs.
The open return is pretty much always going to be more expensive, often spectacularly so.
Singles for fixed trains usually where the bargains are.
Have never done a split ticket but thanks to the wonder of the bicycle i quite often do my own version of it - going for a bike ride between stations, usually different companies. This also often allows you to make journeys at short notice for good prices
Sweep

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16095
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Train travel despair

Postby mjr » 10 Sep 2020, 9:05am

tentman wrote:Then we come to the most difficult part of using a train: buying the ticket. Living in the southeast most of my journeys involve going into & out of London. So I now have to compile a spread sheet to decide: do I buy a split ticket, a return on a definite date & time, two singles or an open return?

Which TOC do I buy the tickets from when two or more may make up my route?

There are websites which can check for splits: trainsplit, traintimes.org.uk, moneysavingexpert.com, ... but I don't think any book bikes yet.

I book all tickets from one of the TOCs that book bikes on, even if it's not one I travel on. I did use GWR but not for a few months now so they may have broken it.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

PH
Posts: 9429
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Train travel despair

Postby PH » 10 Sep 2020, 9:35am

mjr wrote:There are websites which can check for splits: trainsplit, traintimes.org.uk, moneysavingexpert.com, ... but I don't think any book bikes yet.

That's their loss. I use them to find the fare and where the splits are, then book those on a website that has the facility to book bikes, usually GWR which I wasn't aware was broken though I haven't used it recently.

st599_uk
Posts: 267
Joined: 4 Nov 2018, 8:59pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby st599_uk » 10 Sep 2020, 10:54am

The new East Coast trains are awful for bikes. The bike space is a cupboard with 2 hanging devices. I reckon you might get two road bikes in if you're lucky. My Marathon 700c/32s only just fit in the hanger. The chap who'd booked the other space had a mountain bike - his handlebars didn't fit through the door to the cupboard so he had to spend the entire journey repeatedly arguing with train staff jobsworths.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

atoz
Posts: 409
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 4:50pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby atoz » 11 Sep 2020, 6:07pm

Sweep wrote:
axel_knutt wrote:
Pendodave wrote:Much of the rolling stock is fairly new (so not replaced any time soon) and won't become significantly more bike friendly with a new paint job.

Exactly. Among the new trains, the Hitachi appears to be one of the most common, and the bike space on those is atrocious. Thanks to whoever let it pass, we're lumbered with that for a generation now.

I used to use east coast a lot.
Because of this they won't be seeing me again.
I'd rather ride it.
West coast is now great.


It's actually worse than this. The Hitachis are potentially unreliable because of their design. They are basically glorified DMus with big powerful engines squeezed in underfloor space. The railways mags spotted this- they have a likelihood of overheating in summer, because there isn't enough ventilation for the power units. I can guess what will happen to the air con in those circumstances.

Reminds me of the buses First bought from Wrights not so long ago. They look very pretty with their big glass front windows. Only problem is the bottom front window at the front on the double deckers means a tidgy radiator. They are definitely prone to overheating in summer. When that happens the hot air gets blown into the passenger space. I know, I have used these buses many times. Very unpleasant, and not something I am looking forward to in summer returning from work wearing a mask. And in case anyone says why don't you cycle, the answer is it's too busy and frankly dangerous at peak period.

The same company bought the dodgy vehicles in both cases- First. And in the case of the buses, they are responsible for the design that they pushed for.

This has happened before. HST's when new had pretty reliable aircon- they were designed and built in house by BR . The class 90/91 electric sets were off the peg buy in when BR were under pressure to outsource, by the Conservative's fave prime minister Maggie Thatcher. The air con on these sets has always been dodgy, you always seem to get one coach in every set that has faulty aircon.

Privatisation- don't you just love it.

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Train travel despair

Postby mikeymo » 11 Sep 2020, 8:27pm

Is train+bike integration any better in any of the European countries that have more cycling?

At least two of my commutes would be very amenable to cycle/train/cycle journeys. My house to station about 4 miles (fairly downhill), train to next town 20 mins, station to school 1 mile. But if it's going to be wrestling to find a space, arguing with train staff, getting in the way of other stressed commuters, I just won't bother.

Yes, I've seen those "cycle hangers". I took one look and thought, in the words of Mahatma Ghandi* - "sod that".

*Or it might have been Ghenghis Khan.