Trains and bike from JoG

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
gjkathome
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Joined: 27 Jan 2014, 9:13am

Trains and bike from JoG

Post by gjkathome »

Does anyone have recent experience of using trains from Thurso or Wick with a bike?
I'm planning on doing LEJOG this year hoping to arrive at around 8th June. I have read dire warnings of the difficulty of transporting me and bike out of JOG and that I should book the train well in advance. However, a friend who knows the area "a bit" says the trains are rarely full and they will probably take a bike even without a reservation.
Is my friend correct?
rareposter
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Joined: 27 Aug 2014, 2:40pm

Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by rareposter »

gjkathome wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 4:57pm Does anyone have recent experience of using trains from Thurso or Wick with a bike?
I'm planning on doing LEJOG this year hoping to arrive at around 8th June. I have read dire warnings of the difficulty of transporting me and bike out of JOG and that I should book the train well in advance. However, a friend who knows the area "a bit" says the trains are rarely full and they will probably take a bike even without a reservation.
Is my friend correct?
Wick/Thurso -> Inverness is compulsory cycle reservation. The problem with that line is it can be fairly quiet - or it can be absolutely rammed if a group of LEJOGers have just arrived at JOG and decided to chance their luck on the train.

It was about 2 years ago that I last travelled on it (from Wick to Inverness but without a bike) and they were being pretty stringent about checking.

Also when I travelled on it there were only about 2 trains a day and it's really not the sort of place you want to be hanging around for hours waiting for the next one, especially if it suddenly involves an overnight stay!

Don't try and be clever and take the wheels off and pretend it's "luggage". It isn't, they're well aware of that old trick and you'll get even shorter shrift than trying to board without a reservation.
gjkathome
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Joined: 27 Jan 2014, 9:13am

Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by gjkathome »

Thanks. I will take your advice!
Jdsk
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by Jdsk »

In addition to the helpful advice above there's lots more in the archives: search for Thurso or Wick.

And apparently there's an alternative of a bonus ride to Orkney to catch the boat to Aberdeen.

Jonathan
ratherbeintobago
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by ratherbeintobago »

Didn't Scotrail lay on some bike carriages or is that on the West Highland (rather than Far North) line?
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Paulatic
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by Paulatic »

That was WHL
From the Inverness Courier 21/04

ScotRail rules out Highland Explorer-style cycle revamps for Kyle and Far North trains?
Philip Murray
Hopes cycling and luggage capacity could be dramatically increased on stunning railway routes in the north Highlands appear to have been dashed by rail chiefs.

Back in 2021 ScotRail introduced revamped trains on the West Highland Line to provide a large increase in cycle storage and luggage capacity to better accommodate the route’s popularity with tourists and active travellers.

These trains, refurbished Class 153 Super Sprinters that were redubbed Highland Explorers, feature three carriages instead of the usual two, with the additional carriage's interior completely refitted to split it between space for 24 seated passengers and enough storage space for up to 20 cycles, skis and other large items of sporting equipment.

They were immediately welcomed by passengers, both for freeing up capacity for cyclists, while also increasing seating space beyond that available on existing two-carriage versions. Existing trains only had very limited space for bikes - usually just two berths.

At the time, hopes were raised that similar roll-outs might one day follow suit on the Kyle of Lochalsh and Far North lines - with both routes proving very popular with cyclists and sightseers, and some services experiencing passenger overcrowding at the height of the cruise ship season.

However, while ScotRail has begun to ramp up cycle storage at Highland stations, it appears to have poured water over hopes that the region’s Class 158 rolling stock might follow its West Highland Line’s Class 153 counterparts in getting a similar three-carriage revamp.

Approached by The Inverness Courier for an update, the rail operator said it has “no plan to introduce [revamped] Class 153 carriages” on the northern routes.

It did however confirm a host of wider enhancements at stations in the region, with eagle-eyed passengers likely having already spotted some sites - like Conon Bridge - where bike shelter storage has been increased.

The bike shelter storage area in Inverness Railway Station was also increased earlier this month.

And the rail operator added that it is “currently undertaking” work to make sure the region’s existing Class 158 trains “will meet the needs of existing and future customers”.

It added that cycle storage space at the station in Inverness is being trebled, with additional room for a further 100 bikes and bringing the site’s total number of spaces to 150.

ScotRail also flagged up the installation of a cycle repair/maintenance stand at the station.

David Lister, ScotRail safety and sustainability director, said: “We know how important cycle parking is to our customers in the Highlands, which is why we’re currently working on increasing cycle storage to accommodate almost 150 bikes at Inverness station.

“Cycling is an increasingly popular way to connect with ScotRail services, sharing our commitment to low carbon, environmentally friendly ways to travel
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/
E2E info
Ron
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by Ron »

Paulatic wrote: 22 Apr 2024, 11:11pm Approached by The Inverness Courier for an update, the rail operator said it has “no plan to introduce [revamped] Class 153 carriages” on the northern routes.
This is very disappointing, I have long since abandoned Scotrail as an option for cycle carriage on the Far North line. Booking is of course available but given the option I would not wish to travel in inclement weather, better to wait for a fair day before deciding.
ratherbeintobago
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by ratherbeintobago »

That does seem a bit sad. How popular are the bike carriages on the WHL?
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TrevA
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by TrevA »

rareposter wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 5:03pm
gjkathome wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 4:57pm Does anyone have recent experience of using trains from Thurso or Wick with a bike?
I'm planning on doing LEJOG this year hoping to arrive at around 8th June. I have read dire warnings of the difficulty of transporting me and bike out of JOG and that I should book the train well in advance. However, a friend who knows the area "a bit" says the trains are rarely full and they will probably take a bike even without a reservation.
Is my friend correct?
Wick/Thurso -> Inverness is compulsory cycle reservation. The problem with that line is it can be fairly quiet - or it can be absolutely rammed if a group of LEJOGers have just arrived at JOG and decided to chance their luck on the train.

It was about 2 years ago that I last travelled on it (from Wick to Inverness but without a bike) and they were being pretty stringent about checking.

Also when I travelled on it there were only about 2 trains a day and it's really not the sort of place you want to be hanging around for hours waiting for the next one, especially if it suddenly involves an overnight stay!
There are 4 trains a day in each direction - Wick-Inverness and Inverness-Wick. It’s a fair while since we did JOGLE, but we caught an afternoon train from Inverness to Wick and it was rammed. We had booked bike spaces for 2 and there was one other cyclist also going to Wick. In theory, there are 4 book-able spaces, but one of the spaces had a huge pushchair in it. We managed to squeeze the 3 bikes onto a 2 bike rack and everything was OK. It’s a long old journey on a slow train that makes many stops, often in the middle of nowhere, but the scenery is stunning.
Sherwood CC and Notts CTC.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
rareposter
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by rareposter »

TrevA wrote: 25 Apr 2024, 6:35pm There are 4 trains a day in each direction - Wick-Inverness and Inverness-Wick.
Thanks TrevA! I think when I used it, it was still in a Covid recovery period and I'm sure there were only two services per day at that time so good to know it's back up to 4 now.

Agree about the remoteness and the scenery! About 4hrs IIRC and some wildly middle-of-nowhere stations - some only serving one farm or hamlet but it's an absolute lifeline for those isolated communities.
ratherbeintobago
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by ratherbeintobago »

Any idea what e.g. a bike shuttle hire would cost (presumably ££)
PH
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by PH »

ratherbeintobago wrote: 27 Apr 2024, 8:16am Any idea what e.g. a bike shuttle hire would cost (presumably ££)
I'm not sure what you mean by a bike shuttle? There are some taxi and minibus options, but they're considerably more expensive than the train.
https://www.tickettoridehighlands.co.uk ... nsport.php
ratherbeintobago
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by ratherbeintobago »

Exactly that - there are a few companies that do minibus plus driver plus bike trailer.
Pendodave
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by Pendodave »

I'm not sure where the closest pick up is, but I've used this service to travel back from the north of Scotland with a bike.
You need to prebook the bikes. But this was easy enough iirc.
https://www.thedurnessbus.com/
Pendodave
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Re: Trains and bike from JoG

Post by Pendodave »

Also, that obfuscating word salad from the Scotrail spokesperson is so annoying.
Just answer the question f£s. If it's the rolling stock, station infrastructure, cost or cba - just be clear about what it is and let us be the judge of your commitment to sustainable transport infrastructure.
This style of non-answering is a stain on public life from PMQs downwards. It doesn't fool anyone and reduces still further our belief in the democratic system.
Last edited by Pendodave on 27 Apr 2024, 10:18am, edited 1 time in total.
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