Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Elizabethsdad
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Elizabethsdad » 6 Mar 2014, 3:22pm

I am working away from home at the moment and travel by train with my Birdy folding bike. This partly to avoid the issue of not being able to get a bike rack space but mostly because my journey includes going on the tube. Even with a folding bike I have a few journeys which were a bit tight for space.

Postboxer
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Postboxer » 6 Mar 2014, 3:34pm

How about bolt on racks on the front and back, a few bikes isn't really going to weigh much. I still vote for an old caravan or two being towed behind.

Tonyf33
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Tonyf33 » 6 Mar 2014, 8:28pm

I travelled with my bike to Hull as I do frequently, luckily I booked to return Monday because if I had gone for the Sunday I'd have been faced with making my own way from Goole to Doncaster given there was no provision for bikes on the replacement bus to connect the two. This was after I had booked/collected tickets..it's an absolute lottery at times :(

Elizabeth_S
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Elizabeth_S » 7 Mar 2014, 12:33pm

We have a similar problem, 2 bikes per train (sometimes 4, depends on what turns up), no reservations, so if I take my bike to Edinburgh, I can't be sure I'll get there or get back, and the same is true for Edinburgh cyclists who want to come and cycle the Trossachs or Ochills, so it's bad for tourism. The worst ones are those that have no bike storage as such, just a tiny room that you can put them in.

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby BeeKeeper » 7 Mar 2014, 2:49pm

It is nothing to do with privatisation or capitalism. I would very much doubt the present arrangements would be any different if British Rail still existed and were running the same trains. The only way is to get a requirement written into the "specification" of the rail franchise, i.e. you must provide X places for bikes on each train, or words to that effect.

Without this there is no incentive to provide bike spaces at all as they take up space they could use for fare paying passengers. Of course on many commuter trains they don't have room for all the passengers let alone bikes so hoping for more bike space is a lost cause unless you can get politicians behind it.

brianleach
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby brianleach » 7 Mar 2014, 3:11pm

Every carriage had actual racks for three bicycles


Sorry but I think you will find that is one carriage in 5, certainly not every carriage sadly.

ANTONISH
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby ANTONISH » 7 Mar 2014, 3:20pm

We took the regional train from Calais to Boulogne last week (not with bikes). I was impressed however by their hanging bike racks (front wheel) which made efficient use of the space. I think they created a space for about 8 bikes. It's an old idea but it works.
On southeastern trains which at least allow pretty well unfettered access for bikes there is one dedicated space for a bike
which doubles up for a wheelchair space (obviously that gets priority) otherwise one uses the door spaces away from the platform sides - not ideal. I'm glad I don't have to use the parts of the network where bike use is more restricted

Psamathe
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Psamathe » 7 Mar 2014, 3:56pm

Elizabeth_S wrote:We have a similar problem, 2 bikes per train (sometimes 4, depends on what turns up), no reservations, so if I take my bike to Edinburgh, I can't be sure I'll get there or get back, and the same is true for Edinburgh cyclists who want to come and cycle the Trossachs or Ochills, so it's bad for tourism. The worst ones are those that have no bike storage as such, just a tiny room that you can put them in.


I think "reliability" is a major factor in how useful any provided service if. Even if that means booking (or know you are taking your chances depending on demand). If you have the option to book then at least you know you will get there an back. But to get there and not know if your bike can accompany you home - worse than useless.

Ian

gbnz
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby gbnz » 7 Mar 2014, 9:30pm

Trains in the UK may be bad :(

But then I think of Italy :? . Where within 4-5' of wheeling a clean and dry bicycle onto the station platform, I had a muscle man train guard, c/w top gun sun glasses and peaked hat, sticking his finger in my face, before indicating I should leave :shock:

Or France, where the only English the train guard/platform guard expressed, was along the lines "you should have booked the bicycle on; take it away; you can't come here" or words to that effect

And New Zealand, where with a look of disgust, I was allowed to board the Christchurch to Bleinheim train :x

And then my last English train journey. The Guard let me into first class, stating something along the lines that the "train was too full and you'll want to be by your bike :D "

tyreon
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby tyreon » 8 Mar 2014, 8:25am

I have mixed feelings of ANGER and understanding about train travel,cycles,guards,jobsworths etc.

Like many had mixed response when travelling with bike on train. Seen other cyclists left stranded bemused/broken up in Scotland when train has allowed only permitted 2/3 cycles...cyclist/s left stranded at remote station for next train...which doesn't arrive until the next day!

Seen some guards almost take delight in imposing rules and regs. The POWER trip really gets 'em excited(fancy trying it sometime meself!)

On the other hand...understanding. Guard uses his/her discretion,another colleague/manager reports him for breaking rules and regs...and the guy/girl is down the road: job dun! Remember jobsworths take their directions from 'our lorded leaders'(just like in North Korea!). Our leaders take full advantage of all the trimmings,but are never accountable for anything that goes wrong. Guess you might get a staged weepy apology if things do go wrong...and then its time 'to move on...'' lessons have been learned'!. The fall guy, or sap in all this, is the guy being paid peanuts at the front line having to implement all the Toff-Totty nonsense that is worked out at endless committee meetings... Room 5,Floor 2,Subcommitte 6Fg,ref document 119 para 25b subsection... You can do no better than look at all the coffins and wheelchairs coming back from abroad with our army personnel in situ.How did those duffers ever make the grade?

mike_dowler
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby mike_dowler » 8 Mar 2014, 9:04am

Can I present a different view? I travel on commuter trains into London from Essex, which are invariably crowded. I do take a bike, which is a folding bike, though I often feel guilty for getting in everyone's way. There is no way that proper bike space could be provided without depriving other passengers of seating. Given the cost we pay for train travel, that would be unacceptable, unless cyclists were willing to pay the same again for access to the bike space.

There are some things that train companies could do to improve the service: improve reliability for example. Taking away seating for bike space is not one of them.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Mar 2014, 9:19am

mike_dowler wrote:Can I present a different view? I travel on commuter trains into London from Essex, which are invariably crowded. I do take a bike, which is a folding bike, though I often feel guilty for getting in everyone's way. There is no way that proper bike space could be provided without depriving other passengers of seating. Given the cost we pay for train travel, that would be unacceptable, unless cyclists were willing to pay the same again for access to the bike space.

There are some things that train companies could do to improve the service: improve reliability for example. Taking away seating for bike space is not one of them.


Is that train as long as it could be? Does it contain any space that isn't used for seating?
The problem is that trains must deal with two requirements: Max seated capacity for peak travel and flexibility for the population to actually make sane long distance travel choices.

And unless you propose charging people for suitcases as well...

Most commuter trains I've been on have ample space that could be made available for "oversized luggage" (including cycles) - often on a commuter service there is nothing in the "luggage" racks, but you can't use it for bikes because it's single use - wasted space.
Design that to be correctly multi use (folding shelves, wheel hooks, bungees etc.) and you could easily put 4 bikes on every carriage. That space would be shared with suitcases outside peak hours, but it provides for both major scenarios much better than the current designs do.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Psamathe
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Psamathe » 8 Mar 2014, 10:15am

I think there are 2 aspects to achieving a solution: Motivation to find a solution and the solution itself.

I don't know enough about train design to even start to think about sensible ways to carry bikes; but given how clever our designers are these days I'm sure they can come up with practical means to transport bikes without causing passenger difficulties.

But nothing is going to happen unless the train companies are motivated to find a solution. And the motivation of train companies is (and legally has to be) to act in the interests of their shareholders. So carrying the odd bike every now and again provides good PR but does not seem to meet the needs of cyclists. So it comes down to profit and/or regulation.

I don't see a problem with train operators charging for bikes, except that in practice I suspect that they would charge so much it would discourage many and thus we would be back to square one. And it is probably a bit like cycle infrastructure in that without the cycle paths and facilities, fewer people cycle. Build more cycle infrastructure and people will take-up cycling but governments/authorities don't want to spend the money as they cannot prove a demand. "Chicken and Egg" scenario.

Ian

thirdcrank
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Mar 2014, 2:21pm

Psamathe wrote: ...governments/authorities don't want to spend the money as they cannot prove a demand. "Chicken and Egg" scenario.


It's not the first time that cycle carriage on trains has come up on here. :lol: Somebody (CJ?) has made the point that with reference to the benchmark of The Netherlands, that trying to cater for the regular needs of cycle commuters for space is impossible, the point being that in that cycling serendipity, secure cycle parking at stations is the norm. The demand cannot be satisfied.
(Edited to correct typo.)
Last edited by thirdcrank on 8 Mar 2014, 4:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bicycler
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Bicycler » 8 Mar 2014, 4:02pm

thirdcrank wrote:[Somebody (CJ?) has made the point that with reference to the benchmark of The Netherlands, that trying to cater for the regular needs of cycle computers for space is impossible, the point being that in that cycling serendipity, secure cycle parking at stations is the norm. The demand cannot be satisfied.

Solution: Let only cycle commuters without cycle computers on trains :lol: