Bikes on trains in the UK

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  • Had a brilliant experience with Virgin trains today, turned up at Milton Keynes station, got my reservation for the 14.19. Get to the barrier, where the bloke on the gate checks my tickets and then radios to his colleauge on the platform about my arrival. When I arrive on the platform the bloke there tells me exactly where to stand, and then precedes to get me and my bike onto the 14.03 train instead! Bonus - he even wrote me a note explaining why my reservation was for a later train than the one I was on!

  • +1 if your nice to them and take time to explain virgin trains usually sort it.
    today + few days back I didn't have my full 6 digit code, I had a 4 and a 5 (as could not understand indian phone man despite many repeats) so guy wrote a note to that effect and twas fine.

    what I find daft though is why there is not a proper electronic system in place for bikes yet?? that way when booking you could see which ones were full already and avoid them. also no stations in the north on mainline have access (or admit to having access) to bike booking system so you can always get on the train regardless as they have no way of checking, not even train manager.

  • try booking from southeastern
    they have a bike button which allows you to at least reserve a space,
    whether there is a space on the unit is another ting but at least you can turn up with bike and reservation and blag it.

    anyone point me in the direction of any evidence that SW trains are actively promoting cycling by train? some bloke wants me to do some work with him but Im more inclined to tear a shred off him

  • If you book your train journey through these, you can reserve bike space if it's available to do so.

    http://www.redspottedhanky.com/

  • Most trains let you- however sometimes they have a limit of how many bikes you can put on- one time they wouldnt let me put my bike on so I had to wait for the next train

  • if you travel most places in the country getting train thee next isn't often a problem, but for me if I'm travelling northward on a weekend then it has to be the right one as there oas often only 2 connecting trains a day.

  • Anyone done the bike in a bag trick on Southern lately?
    Thinking about cycling down to Gatwick to meet a friend but would be coming back into London Bridge right in the morning rush-hour, not massively keen if I'm going to get into an argument with train staff or if it's total sardines...

  • anyone point me in the direction of any evidence that SW trains are actively promoting cycling by train? some bloke wants me to do some work with him but Im more inclined to tear a shred off him

    SW trains are very disappointing. The train to Brockenhurst has 4 carriages at the weekend and 3 bike spaces and you can't squeeze your bike anywhere else + they stop at Southampton airport and good luck finding any luggage/buggy space. On our train back last week 2 women complained that the bicycles were in the luggage space (....) and I had to stop Jason from punching a guy who threw his mountain bike on J's Roberts.

  • yep, hear all that as a regular on there, too narrow to get mtb wheels in too,
    no space for luggage compared to the older trains, in context its a bad as ever has been,
    one redeeming thing is the guards have been told not to be fascists towards people and have never seen any aggro even when theres like 5/6 bikes on in the a.,ms
    Ive deffed any involvement in the event anyway better events to 'work' at

  • Anyone done the bike in a bag trick on Southern lately?
    Thinking about cycling down to Gatwick to meet a friend but would be coming back into London Bridge right in the morning rush-hour, not massively keen if I'm going to get into an argument with train staff or if it's total sardines...

    I got a southern train a couple of days ago. They seem to have one carriage with a dedicated bike space (for about three bikes) in one carriage...I saw a couple of trains go past and it was the second carriage from the front on all of them, marked with a little 'cycle sign' logo (like the blue circular ones, but in pale green southern colours). It was the standard disabled space too (may have also been near the toilet area, I can't recall).

    They had the belts too. As you say though, I'm guessing they wouldn't want/allow large bikes there during rush hour. In which case, what I've just written isn't all that useful...at all...

  • They won't, it's in their rules:

    A 'limited number' of cycles are carried free on all services except on trains due to arrive into London Victoria, London Bridge or Brighton between 07.00 and 10.00, or due to depart from London stations or Brighton between 1600 and 1900 on Mondays to Fridays.

    Also practically I imagine it will indeed be total sardines. You could turn your bike into a parcel/bag but actually getting it on to the train could be very difficult, even if it's theoretically allowed.

  • what I find daft though is why there is not a proper electronic system in place for bikes yet?? that way when booking you could see which ones were full already and avoid them. also no stations in the north on mainline have access (or admit to having access) to bike booking system so you can always get on the train regardless as they have no way of checking, not even train manager.

    There sort of is, it is possible to book bike places on trains through the National Reservation System (the back end system which powers all ticket purchases/reservations, ran by ATOC). The real problem is that this is rarely linked up with the reality on the ground. So you can have the reservation tickets for your bikes but the reality on the train is if someone got their first your reservation is meaningless.

    This tends to be a bigger problem with trains which don't normally accept reservations, so most commuter services in the south east. Intercity services tend to have something in place, e.g. if I book a bike space with East Coast they should be expecting me and have a slot in the guard's van allocated.

  • Yes on national, north west and east mainlines there is a reservation system, but you have to phone india there is no 'online' visable system. And there are only a handful of stations where you can actually collect a reservation, E.G. london, glasgow, manchester, brum and thats probably it!
    The guards/ stationside people always ask if you have a reservation and generally if you make noises along the lines of 'had to ring bloody india' they don't ask anything more, whether you actually have a reservation or not, its VERY hard for them to check as not even the train manager has 'THE LIST'.
    Bring back guards vans I say.

  • Thanks Fox, my kinda deciding not to is now a definitely deciding not to. Looks like a nice route though, there's a cycle path at the end and a lift(!) into the terminal so you avoid the A/M23 craziness. The direct airport trains are sometimes less subject to being sardines, but all the Gatwick trains run from Brighton, don't they? So proper commuter line there...

  • Yes on national, north west and east mainlines there is a reservation system, but you have to phone india there is no 'online' visable system. And there are only a handful of stations where you can actually collect a reservation, E.G. london, glasgow, manchester, brum and thats probably it!
    The guards/ stationside people always ask if you have a reservation and generally if you make noises along the lines of 'had to ring bloody india' they don't ask anything more, whether you actually have a reservation or not, its VERY hard for them to check as not even the train manager has 'THE LIST'.
    Bring back guards vans I say.

    cobblers.

    book via southernrail website, you can reserve your bike online (or find out you can't as the spaces are taken) then pickup your tickets from a machine at the station.

    no need to speak to anyone.

  • Is a quite dificult thing to find. Each company has its own police.

  • cobblers.

    book via southernrail website, you can reserve your bike online (or find out you can't as the spaces are taken) then pickup your tickets from a machine at the station.

    no need to speak to anyone.

    cobblers....

    don't have no fancy pick up tickets at station machines round here ;)
    also cant find a reservation system on southern rails website, only reference to 'offpeak cycle travel is free' I would doubt another service provider can work out when virgins train spaces are full, especially when virgin themselves don't even know!

  • In the world of IT support your case would be closed as PICNIC

    Have you even tried booking via Southern? There's a bike space option by the seat reservation spot during the booking process, and yes it does search other rail services. I live in Manchester but book all journeys via southern, despite not using their trains ever.

    If you're not near a pickup station then book early and have the tickets posted to you.

  • yeah tried booking one yesterday, no-where could i find a bike booking button. when searching their site it only turns up pdfs of their cycle policy.
    flash plug in keeps crashing so cannot curently get past choosing journey/ ticket price page.

  • You're not looking hard enough, although it's not a button. You should probably sort your browser issues as the problem isn't with the website....

    Note... the above scenario I limited the search to Virgin Trains only, then reserved a bike spot on both legs. Anything is possible.

  • LEGEND
    thanks. can now see how it works.
    Before (browser failures aside) I hadn't figured you had to actually click reserve seat until it popped up with the bike bit.

    On the west coat mainline from euston to glasgow there is only ever techincally spaces for 3bikes, though you can fit 4 or 5 if they don't have panniers, but its generally packed out with people travelling one end of the country to the other (touring and lands end type stuff), good to meet people and talk about riding places, but no good if you want to just transport a bike.

  • no worries

  • Hey folks.

    I'm heading down to Kings Lynn, norfolk, from London kings cross shortly. I'm planning on taking my bike with panniers for the carrying of stuffs, but it's suddenly occured to me i'm not sure if I'll encounter problems taking my bike on the train? Should be fine in the middle of the day surely? but then, you never know..

    Anyone know if i'll be alright or will it be a ball-ache..

    Best,

    Kips

  • call the train operator first to find out.

    each train company have different stand on bicycle on train.

  • Should be no problems in the middle of the day on that line - have taken my bike similarly laden from King's Cross to Ely, a few stops before King's Lynn with no problem. Well, apart from having to balance the bike in the doorways cus there's no holders usually.

    Stay in the front four carriages as the train divides at Cambridge, if it's an eight-car service.

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Bikes on trains in the UK

Posted by Avatar for BikerDude24 @BikerDude24

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