Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

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mjr
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by mjr »

VinceLedge wrote: 20 Jan 2024, 9:37am Interesting how the LNER support staff didn't have much knowledge of how and when you can book the bikes on.
Support staff training ain't what it used to be.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Diatom
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Diatom »

I've only recently joined the forum so apologies if this has already been covered.

Here is one of my experiences with GWR.

I was travelling on 16th September last year on a GWR Hitachi train from Paddington to Penzance. I had booked the cycle reservation on line in advance and was given a specific reserved place for the cycle. It didn't work out well. There was already a bike hanging from the hook I had reserved, and the other hook was occupied. The train was so full of passengers and luggage that the ticket collector couldn't get through, so there was no one to complain to. I had to stay with my bike in the corridor by the toilets (it was difficult for some people to squeeze past) and take the bike off the train at each stop to let passengers on and off. If I had had a heavy e bike, this would have been next to impossible and, even if the reserved place had been free, I don't think the hooks are suitable for the weight of an e bike. I also suspect that mountain bikes with wide handlebars would not have fitted either.

Here's a photo of the chaos:
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Jdsk
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Jdsk »

No apologies needed. Thanks for sharing the experience! And for using the relevant existing thread.

Jonathan
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Sweep
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Sweep »

Good experience with Avanti West Coast Preston to London the other day.
Only two stops before London - I usually try to get that - I was loaded and the only bike the entire trip.
The Avanti bloke on the platform to load me was very helpful. They always are.
We agreed that the new bike stowage system made no sense and had been introduced without any consultation/thought by management off on one.
Got on the train to find that it had the old system so I needn't have bothered taking the bags off.
Train was late - no great inconvenience to me and I generally do single non connecting trips for this and following reason -
got a ticket refund - was expecting half back but for reasons best known to themselves they seem to have counted the train as an hour late so I got the lot back, unless I have misunderstood something.
The Avanti delay repay system is very easy to use and seems very efficient.
Sweep
brianleach
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by brianleach »

Here is one of my experiences with GWR
In my experience not at all unusual on Hitachi stock on a holiday route!!
simonhill
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by simonhill »

Looking at the photo above, it's clear that there is insufficient luggage space for passengers. Presumably when the trains are specified luggage isn't taken into account.

Did you say Hitachi? In Japan it is common for luggage to be sent by courier. I think it may even be banned on some trains.
brianleach
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by brianleach »

it's clear that there is insufficient luggage space for passengers
That applies to almost all of the stock used on holiday routes not just Hitachi.
Pendodave
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Pendodave »

simonhill wrote: 12 Feb 2024, 1:55pm Looking at the photo above, it's clear that there is insufficient luggage space for passengers. Presumably when the trains are specified luggage isn't taken into account.

Did you say Hitachi? In Japan it is common for luggage to be sent by courier. I think it may even be banned on some trains.
I don't think it's a rolling stock thing. The interiors are specified (and built I think) in the UK. And being as every last full stop on the railway is micro managed by the DoT (and whoever is paying to employ various mps/cabinet ministers from next year), it is then what's to blame. This covers bike spaces, luggage, easy access seats etc etc.

Mind you, if you think that's bad, outside of official TOCs there is no legal requirement from the DoT to supply either luggage or cycle space. So, on Lumo for example, it's one small suitcase only. Like RyanAir, but without the opportunity to pay for hold luggage.

I realise that this does not help the poor cyclist on their way to Penzance, but just added as context.
brianleach
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by brianleach »

but without the opportunity to pay for hold luggage
Again, in my experience from 2007, like cars the luggage keeps getting bigger. The two cases I turfed out of the bike compartment of an Hitachi last year, and which almost brought the train to a halt as the guard wanted them shifted, were the size of medium fridges and hard shells.
pal
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by pal »

I've had very similar experiences to Diatom's on GWR trains: no fun at all.

LNER has exactly the same rolling stock (bought as part of the same order, and with the specification dictated -- as Pendodave rightly says -- by the DfT), but they've made some small tweaks in configuration which make it much less stressful to use with a bike: the bike cupboards are strictly bike only (no suitcases allowed); platform staff are often (not always, but often) stricter about checking bike reservations; and they've slightly adjusted the set-up with the hooks to make it marginally less of a struggle to get a bike onto them. It's still very far from perfect, but shows what's possible if the ToC is willing to think about what cyclists need/want...
Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Richard Fairhurst »

I think LNER also removed some of the carriage-end windowless seats (which unsurprisingly aren’t very popular) to provide space for suitcases.
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Diatom
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Diatom »

simonhill wrote: 12 Feb 2024, 1:55pm Looking at the photo above, it's clear that there is insufficient luggage space for passengers. Presumably when the trains are specified luggage isn't taken into account.
It would be nice if GWR even provided sufficient space for passengers! The trains are frequently hugely over-crowded with no space for passengers or their luggage. I have often had to stand in the corridor. I think you should get your money back if you can't sit down for the journey. That might focus the management's mind on offering a decent service for their passengers, rather than apparently trying to cram as many people as possible into their trains.
scragend
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by scragend »

A question about luggage provision (connected to cycling) in couchettes...

Does anyone know approximately how big the recess above the door is in a typical couchette compartment? I've planned a trip this summer which involves taking two night trains, neither of which have provision for full size bikes.

I have a Montague folding bike, which I can pack down to approximately 80cm long, 70cm high and between 35 and 40cm wide. This is a bit smaller than the normal fold of the bike but by taking off the handlebars and strapping them to the frame, removing both wheels instead of just the front, removing the seatpost instead of just dropping it, putting it all into the (official) Montague bag and strapping it all down tight I can get it to those dimensions. I'm pretty happy with how it all packs down.

I've booked the Eurostar to get out of the UK and the packed bike is within the dimensions for that so there shouldn't be an issue there.

But... will it fit easily into a couchette compartment without getting in the way too much? The trains I'm aiming at are the (old-style) Nightjet from Amsterdam to Vienna, and the Hungarian EN night train (Kalman Imre) from Budapest to Stuttgart. It would be a four berth couchette in both cases.

I can lift the packed bike over my head reasonably easily so I'm hoping to be able to put it in the recess above the door. I'd be in a top bunk so if it hangs out slightly it would be hanging over my side not anyone else's.

I'd also have a normal holdall-style bag which has my panniers in it, but I should be able to find space somewhere in the compartment for that. I went for a four-berth couchette on the grounds that the amount of luggage space in the compartment is the same as it is in a six-berth, but there are two fewer people so a little bit less pressure on room. I'll be boarding at the start point of the train in both cases so I would be on the platform in good time and try to get in first.

I think this should all be OK but would appreciate any first hand experience of exactly how big the space above the door in the compartment is. It's been over 20 years since I was last in a couchette so I don't really remember!

Thanks
Jdsk
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Jdsk »

scragend wrote: 21 Feb 2024, 11:23am But... will it fit easily into a couchette compartment without getting in the way too much? The trains I'm aiming at are the (old-style) Nightjet from Amsterdam to Vienna, and the Hungarian EN night train (Kalman Imre) from Budapest to Stuttgart. It would be a four berth couchette in both cases.
Walk-through video of the NightJet:



Jonathan
Jdsk
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Re: Cycling using trains (in UK and EU)

Post by Jdsk »

And the Kalman Imre. Shows the space over the door in the sleeping car but I haven't spotted it for the couchettes.



Jonathan
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