Avanti West Coast - good news

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Sweep
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Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 23 Dec 2019, 11:56am

The folk who have taken the West Coast franchise over from Virgin.

You can now book bike places online.

There is also an easily accessible guide to engineering works.

I travelled with them with a bike a few days ago, though the ticket was booked from Virgin.

Must say the bike experience was a joy.

My bike reservation was checked as I entered the platform (good of course to prevent interlopers), I was my usual slightly nervous self about someone being there to unlock the door for the bike but was told someone would come up the platform (bike storage right at the very front of the train), got there, looked down the platform, didn't immediately see anyone, then a guy driving one of those battery trucks with train supplies stopped and let me on. Impressive lack of demarcation. As I put the bike in place the driver popped out of his cab and asked where I was getting off.

The train cleaners let me off as soon as we arrived.

In short, wonderfully easy - bike stored with all of its luggage upright - now let's hope they don't ruin it with "new improved" trains like East Coast who I won't be using again.

The less said about the Northern Rail experience which followed the better.
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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 23 Dec 2019, 12:00pm

Avanti are indeed buying some IETs (or Class 800s, or AT300s, or whatever you want to call them...), as seen on the East Coast and GWR, to replace the Voyager trains that they run to places like Holyhead. They're keeping the Pendolinos which are the main part of the fleet.

Let's hope that Cycling UK is on the ball this time and lobbies for better bike space.
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Sweep
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 23 Dec 2019, 12:06pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:Avanti are indeed buying some IETs (or Class 800s, or AT300s, or whatever you want to call them...), as seen on the East Coast and GWR, to replace the Voyager trains that they run to places like Holyhead. They're keeping the Pendolinos which are the main part of the fleet.

Let's hope that Cycling UK is on the ball this time and lobbies for better bike space.


Thanks for the clarification Richard - looks like west coast for me - have tended to avoid crosscountry.

Initially I found the Pendolinos a tad cramped but have come to quite like them.

One oddity - they reserve seats for cyclists in the quiet coach right at the end near to the door for the bike compartment.

This door tends to have a notice saying that it can't be opened by passengers but I have always found that it is - I hope they keep doing this as it allows me to pop through at some of the stops to check that no newly arriving cyclist is manhandling my bike in their efforts to get theirs in - also allows in transit rearranging if it turns out that I will be getting off before them.
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Oldjohnw » 23 Dec 2019, 12:52pm

Good to hear of a service which is actually cycle friendly and not just cycle tolerant.

I am stuck with LNER or xcountry. LNER - lovely trains but poor provision. Xcountry rubbish in every way.
John

willswitchengage
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby willswitchengage » 2 Jan 2020, 11:30am

Oldjohnw wrote:Xcountry rubbish in every way.


Are they?

Sure, the spaces are small, few, and often full of suitcases. But this is no different to the fancy new IET trains that everybody seems to be buying now.

Reservations are not compulsorily; I've used XC several times recently with no issues.

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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 2 Jan 2020, 12:12pm

willswitchengage wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Xcountry rubbish in every way.


Are they?

Sure, the spaces are small, few, and often full of suitcases. But this is no different to the fancy new IET trains that everybody seems to be buying now.

Reservations are not compulsorily; I've used XC several times recently with no issues.

But were you on cheapo fixed time trains?
If so and with no bike reservations possible for limited space, isn't there a chance of problems/effectively invalid useless ticket.
Will be making another avanti trip soon and will report back.
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Oldjohnw » 2 Jan 2020, 12:25pm

Sweep wrote:
willswitchengage wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Xcountry rubbish in every way.


Are they?

Sure, the spaces are small, few, and often full of suitcases. But this is no different to the fancy new IET trains that everybody seems to be buying now.

Reservations are not compulsorily; I've used XC several times recently with no issues.

But were you on cheapo fixed time trains?
If so and with no bike reservations possible for limited space, isn't there a chance of problems/effectively invalid useless ticket.
Will be making another avanti trip soon and will report back.



Yes, I was on "cheapo fixed time trains". Unashamedly because of economy. But whatever price it is not unreasonable that he booked cycle space should be available, the seat available and the toilets functioning and timekeeping reasonable. And every time I travel on
train with a cheapo fixed time ticket others have paid full price. They too have the same inadequate conditions.
John

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Sweep
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 2 Jan 2020, 4:54pm

You've been denied space for your bike when booked?

To clarify.

my question was aimed at willswitch' on the wisdom of not booking the bike IF using a cheapo fixed ticket.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with using those tickets - I pretty much always use them myself.
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Oldjohnw » 2 Jan 2020, 6:18pm

Sweep wrote:You've been denied space for your bike when booked?

To clarify.

my question was aimed at willswitch' on the wisdom of not booking the bike IF using a cheapo fixed ticket.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with using those tickets - I pretty much always use them myself.


I've not been denied space, except by other passengers' luggage or because the space is pretty well unattainable for a weakling 70 year old. I'm sure that this happens on other trains, too, but xcountry is the line I use, plus LNER. Also, going north the toilets are usually filthy, out of supplies or out of order having travelled from Plymouth or further and no cleaning.
John

willswitchengage
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby willswitchengage » 2 Jan 2020, 7:16pm

Sweep wrote:You've been denied space for your bike when booked?

To clarify.

my question was aimed at willswitch' on the wisdom of not booking the bike IF using a cheapo fixed ticket.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with using those tickets - I pretty much always use them myself.


What a strange comment. I'd book a bike space then.

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vsmith1
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby vsmith1 » 10 Jan 2020, 10:52am

Where are the bike reservation details on the website?

I tried booking from Carlisle to Oxenholme and cannot see any bicycle details, I cannot see anything on the Help system, there's not even a search on the help so I cannot find where it might be hidden.

I tried the app on iOS to a similar result.

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Sweep
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 10 Jan 2020, 10:55am

willswitchengage wrote:
Sweep wrote:You've been denied space for your bike when booked?

To clarify.

my question was aimed at willswitch' on the wisdom of not booking the bike IF using a cheapo fixed ticket.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with using those tickets - I pretty much always use them myself.


What a strange comment. I'd book a bike space then.


Don't see what's strange about it.
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Sweep
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 10 Jan 2020, 11:02am

vsmith1 wrote:Where are the bike reservation details on the website?

I tried booking from Carlisle to Oxenholme and cannot see any bicycle details, I cannot see anything on the Help system, there's not even a search on the help so I cannot find where it might be hidden.

I tried the app on iOS to a similar result.



Here:

Screenshot 2020-01-10 at 10.58.57.png


That's actually for a Carlisl Oxenholme test booking I just did.

Select the train you want to be on - next screen will allow you to state seating preferences and book the bike.

Recently booked another trip with them with a bike - all straightforward - tickets complete with bike tickets (2 - one for me, one to attach to bike) popped out of the machine I went to collect them from.

Will report back further once trip made.

PS - you were using the web page weren't you rather than an app?

I generally avoid apps for such things for all sorts of reasons.
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vsmith1
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby vsmith1 » 10 Jan 2020, 11:07am

Brilliant thanks for your help. I dug around and found some help, and was told that the bicycle reservation only appears on a selected train if there are slots available! Sensible, but I thrutched about trying to find a train with reservations available.

I'd love to be able to search for a train on a route that does have slots available. But this is indeed progress.

Nice that Avanti also support Nectar card - points make prizes!

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Sweep
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Re: Avanti West Coast - good news

Postby Sweep » 10 Jan 2020, 11:12am

I was initially puzzled/slightly worried when booking ahead to find that it often said 1 (ie only 1) bike space available, thinking "phew" - just in time.

On reflection this may have been because I was only booking travel for one person so only entitled to book for one bike to accompany me.
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