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All across the Great Western territory => Active travel: Cyclists and walkers, including how the railways deal with them => Topic started by: Richard Fairhurst on September 30, 2020, 01:09:13 pm



Title: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on September 30, 2020, 01:09:13 pm
We don't have a dedicated thread for bike spaces on IETs (though they come up occasionally in the main IET thread), so I thought it worth starting one.

I note that GWR/NR's new "Joint Stakeholder Performance Plan 2020/21" says:

Quote
We will... review how we manage delays caused by unreserved, or poorly loaded cycles. We have seen a significant increase in bikes on trains during the pandemic

and

Quote
Set up joint working groups to review delays caused by late loading of luggage/cycles in key locations.

I am not at all surprised. The bike accommodation in IETs is almost designed to cause delays at stations.

Let me add a bit of first-hand experience. Over the Bank Holiday weekend I went cycling in South Wales. Because I was travelling with a bike, I planned my journey deliberately to minimise time on IETs - so rather than going via Didcot/Swindon, I went the scenic route: Charlbury-Worcester, Worcester-Gloucester, Gloucester-Cardiff. But the Cotswold Line segment was unavoidable.

The way out was fine. On the return journey, another bike joined mine halfway through the journey. Because the compartments are so cramped, the owner had a devil of a job trying to fit her bike next to mine.

I saw there was another bike loaded, so immediately after we departed from Kingham, I went to the compartment to retrieve mine in readiness to get off at Charlbury. It's a good thing I did. The two bikes were utterly wedged together. It took five minutes of wrangling to attempt to free them.

Five minutes, and ?173. Because the result was that the rear derailleur was irreparably bent (?75)... and I only noticed that belatedly, which meant a new chain (?25), cassette (?35), and bike shop labour. I guess ?173 is less than the delay minutes GWR would have had to pay... maybe I should send them an invoice?

Here's what I'd do, in easy-to-hard order:

  • Make sure all the bike/bulk areas are clearly labelled with a bike space on the exterior of the train. This Sunday just gone, my sister and I were travelling with our bikes (we'd reserved spaces). We waited in the zone that the CIS told us the bike space was in, but the conductor asked us to use the spaces further down the train. Fine... but they weren't labelled. We spent half a minute trying to find them before being able to board.
  • Tell people how they can book bike spaces. It turns out that the fastest, easiest way to book a bike space is to ask GWR on Twitter or WhatsApp. This needs to be on posters at stations. If you force people to guess which ticket booking sites can cope with bike reservations, then wade through the whole online booking process, they won't bother.
  • Get the reservation displays on the bike racks working. This reduces arguments (and delays) and enables staff to be pragmatic about whether to allow unreserved bikes.
  • Be realistic about which services need reservations. You are honestly never going to be able to stop Evesham/Pershore kids turning up with mountain bikes so they can go and see their mates in Worcester. Having the busy services alone marked with "bike reservations compulsory" would mean that people were more likely to reserve when it's needed.
  • Take out the seats with no windows; replace them with luggage racks, freeing up the bike/bulk area to be bikes alone, and meaning that the fold-down racks can be removed. (The LNER/Industry Insider solution!)
  • Remove the corridor sides from the bike compartments, and shift the 'inside' hanger a short way towards the corridor. Bikes will be less likely to get tangled up, and will be much quicker to hang up/take down. This has been known a long time (since at least the 158/159s, where several operators removed the side walls from the original compartments).
  • Remove the unused kitchens from 5-car units, turn it into a luggage/bike area, put 9-cars on the Pullmans. :D


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: CyclingSid on September 30, 2020, 04:45:37 pm
Certainly life is difficult for those with wide handlebars. Also with disabilities or lacking in strength to the bike onto the hook. I suspect Voyagers are marginally better.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on September 30, 2020, 09:53:11 pm
Long ago, at the beginning of the IET saga, I suggested that cycle accommodation on IETs was inadequate and was a backward step if compared to HSTs.
I seem to recall that an IET advocate stated that IETs could accommodate MORE cycles than could an HST, and that the cycles spaces were purpose designed and easy to use.
Another victory for my crystal ball ?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: southwest on September 30, 2020, 09:54:11 pm
I personally never understood why the other end of the IET wasn't blanked off 1 or 2 windows like the Kitchen end, and a small Guards van made for bikes, large luggage.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on September 30, 2020, 11:36:54 pm
Removing the kitchens from the 5 car units and use of only full length trains for Pullmans has been previously suggested, but is not viable under present present circumstances.
Full length trains don't fit the depot at Penzance, hence the need need for a pair of 5 car units on the evening down Pullmans.

If however the depot at Penzance was extended to accept a full length train, AND IF  GWR/Hitachi could reliably diagram a full length train for Pullman services, then the idea may have some merit.
The kitchens on 5 car units were originally intended to offer hot snacks in standard class though this has now sunk without trace become a future aspiration.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: southwest on October 01, 2020, 12:08:54 am
Removing the kitchens from the 5 car units and use of only full length trains for Pullmans has been previously suggested, but is not viable under present present circumstances.
Full length trains don't fit the depot at Penzance, hence the need need for a pair of 5 car units on the evening down Pullmans.

If however the depot at Penzance was extended to accept a full length train, AND IF  GWR/Hitachi could reliably diagram a full length train for Pullman services, then the idea may have some merit.
The kitchens on 5 car units were originally intended to offer hot snacks in standard class though this has now sunk without trace become a future aspiration.

Yeah you've said before...

Was the idea of having kitchens in every IET to allow flexibility for the Pullmans? Previously the HST sets only had a few select sets which could do Pullmans and it became a nightmare for GWR. The 9 car IET's are mainly for Gloucester/Cheltenham route as 10 cars don't fit.

The common sense would have been to have all South West services run as 9 cars with a kitchen at one end and a small bike space at the other end. One of the bike spaces in the vestibule area could have then been a train managers office and the other a buffet. Didn't the Class 180s have a bike space at one end?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: grahame on October 01, 2020, 07:32:38 am
The 9 car IET's are mainly for Gloucester/Cheltenham route as 10 cars don't fit.

I disagree. There are 35 9 car IETs.  Only 5 trains are needed for an hourly Paddington - Cheltenham Spa service.  The other 25 or so in service on a typical day are there as the mainstay of those Intercity services which are not required to split along the way to provide the services to more distant and less frequently served destination such as Weston-super-mare and Carmarthen, and some of the Penzance services.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on October 01, 2020, 11:36:40 am
The common sense would have been to have all South West services run as 9 cars with a kitchen at one end and a small bike space at the other end. One of the bike spaces in the vestibule area could have then been a train managers office and the other a buffet. Didn't the Class 180s have a bike space at one end?

Yes, at both ends.

I never understand the argument that GWR can't diagram a small fleet of kitchen-equipped units onto the Pullman, given that they managed to diagram a small fleet of five 180s on the Cotswold Line without the units getting bored and randomly wandering off to Penzance for a holiday.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: bobm on October 01, 2020, 01:16:32 pm
We are drifting away from bike spaces a bit - but...

Diagrams are fine until things start going wrong.

Towards the end of the HSTs there were fewer and fewer sets with kitchens suitable for Pullmans and while on most days they started out on the correct diagrams to form the eight services with a restaurant it was quite easy to run into problems.

Say a service from Swansea was running late into Paddington and due to form another service to South Wales.  You could utilise a set already at Paddington to form its return working and then use the late runner to take over the working the set at Paddington was booked to do.  That's fine if neither was a Pullman Service or if both had the right kitchen.  If not what do you do - cancel the service affected by the late running just so 17 people get a meal?  What do you do with the late running train when it reaches London - send it back out so late that it is just in front of the next scheduled service?

At least with a uniform fleet you have fewer constraints.  Agreed you can't run a nine car past Swansea or allow it to end the day at Long Rock.  You also cannot couple an 800 with an 802 I understand.  However in the main it is much easier to recover from problems if you have a fleet which can go "almost" anywhere.

There is a bigger question about whether 5 cars west of Plymouth is sufficient in high summer.  Even this year there have been problems due to people needing to keep their distance.  Running two five cars coupled is not ideal as at some stations - Hayle being an example - you can only get part of one of the units on the platform.  Despite announcements people have inevitably ended up in the wrong unit and been overcarried.  Nine cars would be the answer but you'd either have to run them empty to or from Plymouth for early or late evening services or extend the accommodation at Long Rock.  I don't know if that is possible let alone affordable.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on October 01, 2020, 01:20:06 pm
Whilst it sounds simple, FGW as they then were, regularly failed to send the correct sort of HST for Pullman services.

One of the alleged advantages of IETs was that every unit had a full kitchen, so no possibility of sending the wrong type as had occurred with the old trains.
In addition to the limited number of Pullman services, an at seat service of freshly cooked hot snacks was promised on other services.

It sounds as though the improved cycle accommodation has been nearly as successful as the improved catering.  


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: didcotdean on October 01, 2020, 04:43:21 pm
The 9 car 802 IETs were also acquired to cover many of the hourly London-Oxford terminating fast services which were supposed to have been 8 car 387s before the electrification stopped.

I have a vague recollection that the bike storage was supposed to have been designed in consultation with some bike user group but it seems it must have been the wrong one! Notwithstanding the amount of storage it seems ill-suited to services where various bikes might be stored / retrieved a number of times.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: southwest on October 01, 2020, 05:48:10 pm
The common sense would have been to have all South West services run as 9 cars with a kitchen at one end and a small bike space at the other end. One of the bike spaces in the vestibule area could have then been a train managers office and the other a buffet. Didn't the Class 180s have a bike space at one end?

Yes, at both ends.

I never understand the argument that GWR can't diagram a small fleet of kitchen-equipped units onto the Pullman, given that they managed to diagram a small fleet of five 180s on the Cotswold Line without the units getting bored and randomly wandering off to Penzance for a holiday.

I don't think any drivers had approvals to drive a 180 to Penzance or Bristol as all of the previous experience expired when more HST came in 2006.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 02, 2020, 02:01:21 pm
We don't have a dedicated thread for bike spaces on IETs (though they come up occasionally in the main IET thread), so I thought it worth starting one.

I agree with many of the points in this opening post of the thread, Richard.

Reserved bike spaces usually show up on the reservation displays outside of the cycle holds, but since the Covid-19 situation led to seat reservations not being displayed (for perfectly sensible reasons) it's a shame the bike spaces are now also blank.  With the trains starting to get busier again, I think there is now a case for seat reservations to be displayed again, which would mean bike reservations would also display.

9-car IET's have hooks for ten bikes.  Two in coaches B, F (currently often labelled D), K and four in Coach J.  10-car services have room for eight bikes, two each in carriages B, D, H and K.  That is more than could be carried in the TGS of a HST (6), though in extremis the power cars could also be used.

The problem is of course that buggy provision is very poor on IETs and large luggage space is also not as good as it could be.  With all of those places acting as additional luggage holds as well it can lead to much confusion with unfolded buggies and large cases blocking off a reserved cycle space.  The exterior of the train is labelled as to where the bike storage is 'Space for two bikes' or something similar is the working, but it is a woefully small sticker and should be a great big symbol of a bike to help people find them.  The hooks themselves could do with being replaced as some really thick rimmed wheels simply won't attach to them, and, as you say, if someone else has stored their bike in one of the slots, it can be difficult to put another one in or take one out.

My suggestion for dedicated buggy spaces within the saloon would help, as would very clear signs marking which should be used for bikes, and which for luggage.  At the moment it's far too much of a free-for-all.  It would be sensible to use Coach J solely for bikes as it has the four spaces next to each other and is reasonably close to the centre of the train, with possibly Coach F as the other two to give six reservable spaces per 9-car all towards the centre of the train.  That would mean people can wait in the middle of the platform, confident that they'll be fairly close to where they need to be.  Using Coach J isn't possible on a 10-car though sadly!

We should all remember that delays for loading and unloading of bikes on HSTs were also a common occurrence with people waiting at completely the wrong end of the platform, when the train was in reverse and they hadn't been told (and sometimes when it wasn't in reverse!).  Or they'd retrieve their bike and leave the door wide open!  Passengers can keep an eye on their bike throughout the journey now, which they couldn't do on a HST and that is an improvement.  However, there is no doubting that the method of storage on a HST was easier, especially if you had any mobility issues.  For those with no mobility issues it still takes a bit of getting used to lifting your bike onto the hook and I've seen many people struggle, though after you get used to doing it, it becomes easy.  I recommend applying the rear brake as you lift the front end up then stand behind the bike, hold both handle bars and use your knee on the underside of the saddle to get it into position.  Trying to do it holding the front wheel stood by the side is asking for trouble!


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 02, 2020, 05:01:41 pm
I haven't yet taken a bike on an IET but the frequent complaint I hear from friends who have is that the cycle spaces are as often as not taken up by general luggage. In fact it seems it is GWR policy that these spaces should be used as overflow luggage storage (is this right?), and perhaps because of the luggage rack installed, people do this anyway.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 02, 2020, 05:14:56 pm
I haven't yet taken a bike on an IET but the frequent complaint I hear from friends who have is that the cycle spaces are as often as not taken up by general luggage. In fact it seems it is GWR policy that these spaces should be used as overflow luggage storage (is this right?), and perhaps because of the luggage rack installed, people do this anyway.

See my previous post.  They are designated for both luggage and bikes, with no clear signs to say which has priority, apart from the reservation status display above the cubicle.  That display is currently not in use as seat reservations are not in use by GWR on any of its trains currently.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 02, 2020, 06:17:27 pm
Which means they tend to be a bit useless as bike spaces. Mind you the same applies to the similar spaces on Cross Country Voyagers, except that rather than luggage it tends to the cleaner's rubbish bag occupying those!


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: FarWestJohn on October 02, 2020, 06:31:04 pm
Perhaps the IET should use the Japanese system with bicycles put in a bag with front wheel removed!!

'Unless your bike is of the folding variety, you would have to remove the front wheel to do this.
The bike must be completely covered with a bike bag.   Note that the maximum size allowed for the bike bag (or any luggage) on trains is 250cm in total (width + length + depth).  Length should be less than 200cm.

Bike bags can be purchased online or from bicycle shops.  Amazon/rinko bag'


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: bobm on October 06, 2020, 08:48:43 pm
Having been in Penzance over the last few days I?m not sure nine car IETs are banned from Long Rock.

The last two mornings I have caught a nine car from Penzance which Real Time Trains says has come empty from Long Rock.  Does anyone know the up to date position?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: southwest on October 06, 2020, 09:03:23 pm
I haven't yet taken a bike on an IET but the frequent complaint I hear from friends who have is that the cycle spaces are as often as not taken up by general luggage. In fact it seems it is GWR policy that these spaces should be used as overflow luggage storage (is this right?), and perhaps because of the luggage rack installed, people do this anyway.

There is actually more spaces for bicycles but these are used for luggage. There should be at least one storage area per 5 car iet for bicycles. Personally I think the TGS of the HST was better as it kept cyclist and passengers apart, reducing delays and arguments.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 06, 2020, 10:39:08 pm
Having been in Penzance over the last few days I?m not sure nine car IETs are banned from Long Rock.

The last two mornings I have caught a nine car from Penzance which Real Time Trains says has come empty from Long Rock.  Does anyone know the up to date position?

IIRC correctly there is room for 2 9-car IETs, but they have to be last in and first out as they block the other roads.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: CyclingSid on October 07, 2020, 06:54:48 am
Quote
'Unless your bike is of the folding variety, you would have to remove the front wheel to do this.
The bike must be completely covered with a bike bag.   Note that the maximum size allowed for the bike bag (or any luggage) on trains is 250cm in total (width + length + depth).  Length should be less than 200cm.

Sounds like it could almost have been copied from Eurotunnel, another bike unfriendly service.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on October 07, 2020, 11:17:39 am
There is actually more spaces for bicycles but these are used for luggage. There should be at least one storage area per 5 car iet for bicycles.

Which isn't enough at just two, very thin, spaces.

On the Cotswold Line, 5-car IETs replaced Adelantes (six bike spaces) and HSTs (six bike spaces). I think four spaces should be the minimum, and even that's pretty miserly.

Replacing the windowless seats with luggage areas would allow this to happen.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: grahame on May 25, 2021, 10:00:25 am
Not sure if this should be a continuation of this old thread, or a new one - "Suitability of cycle spaces for cycles on IETs"

From http://www.ramblingfatman.co.uk/Trains-carrige0.php

Quote
The Latest HS trains

DMU train On the latest generation of high-speed British trains their bike compartments are about the size of a double wardrobe. They remind me of that cupboard where you throw stuff you don't want to chuck out, but don't want the stuff to be seen either. They allegidly take two bikes hung vertically from hooks, the fabrication of the hanger is unsuitable for any wheels wider than those of a typical road bike. You can see in the image, there's one gravel bike, one road bike and you can't close doors. While vertical storage is an effective use of space, it deters cyclists from using trains. I've actually seen a 'Dutch type of bike' advertised on the C2C trains bike page, you'd be lucky to get the handlebars in through the doors let alone lift the weighty thing up onto the hooks. The web designers (and C2C boffin's who obviously agreed the design of the page) clearly, have never picked one up.

There is a serious issue lifting your bike onto an overhead hook, on a moving train, with other passengers around you, it's simply not safe. Two of my bikes are electric and even though 'ScotRail' suggest taking the battery off the bike before hanging it, I would still struggle to lift the bike, besides, hanging the bike from the front wheel can damage the bike, the weight of the bike would stress the fork crown (it's not designed to take weight in this direction). And it looks like mountain bikers are out of luck too, the downhill MTB's handlebars wouldn't get through the doors of the bike wardrobe and their tyres are too big for the hangers anyway (no need to go down the fat bike explanation). One train company suggests if your tyre is too big; try letting air out of your front tyre to store your bike in the racks. What a great idea- then you can spend fifteen minutes on the platform (while the other passengers walk past you) pumping your tyre back up with a mini-pump. You could get a quick release spindle to replace the front wheel and use that to hang the bike up (instead of a front wheel). A word of advice- if you manage to get your bike secured into this wardrobe, make sure you try and get it out well before your stop, people has missed their stops trying to get them down especially with other bikes jammed in there.

It looks to me (and I'm starting to get some experience here!) that the designated cycle spaces may not be fit for the purpose of carrying the cycles for which they were designed.  I also wonder if there's a disability issue here; I'll quote as a personal example, but I know I am not alone - I could get my bike in and onto the train but lifting it onto the provided hanger would be beyond my physical ability these days.   Thoughts, anyone?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on May 25, 2021, 01:12:11 pm
As someone commented to me, 'If you were expected to lift an object 10 to 25kg, about 1.5m long with a couple of sharp projections, above your head and hang it from a hook at work, this would be a health and safety issue. But passengers on a train are expected to do this on a moving, bumping vehicle, with other people around too.'


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: CyclingSid on May 25, 2021, 06:24:52 pm
Maybe Japanese have different bikes?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on May 25, 2021, 08:02:23 pm
Maybe Japanese have different bikes?

More likely in my view that they keep a cycle at the station, possibly one at each end of a regular commute. Japan is arguably a more law abiding country than is the UK and a bike left at a station is probably more likely to still be present when the owner returns.

That of course only deals with commuting, not leisure cycling, perhaps leisure cycling is less common in Japan ?

I have only known one Japanese family, but they spoke of cycling to the station as being the norm if too far to walk. They also blamed a lot of accidents on drunk cyclists.
I also know one Japan person on line, not in person, and they cycle everywhere local, and take the train for longer trips, no mention of taking a bike on the train.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on May 26, 2021, 08:42:27 am
Maybe Japanese have different bikes?

The IETs were reputedly designed with reference to British bikes - Hitachi made a small song and dance about it at the time - but road bikes rather than the wider-handlebarred versions that many, perhaps most, people ride.

You can, just about, get two road bikes into the supposed bike compartment. But anything else (hybrid/get-about-town-bike, mountain bike, gravel bike) is a struggle... as I found when I had my gravel bike on an IET, someone else tried to wedge their hybrid in, and mine ended up with £180 worth of damage. :(

If nothing else, it's disappointing to see train designers seemingly incapable of learning from the past. We've been through exactly this before: 158/159s originally had compartments for two bikes, in the vestibules, with side walls. Very similar to IETs. They were universally agreed to be inconvenient, and operators began removing the side wall (led by SWT, I think).


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on May 26, 2021, 11:59:25 am
Hitachi had a "consultation" with cycling organisations in the Birmingham area, in which – IIRC what I was told by a friend who took part – they basically presented a mock-up of the bike spaces, people could try them out (obviously the mock-carriage was stationary) and comment, but it seems they were only prepared/able to make the most minor changes.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on May 26, 2021, 02:58:07 pm
Hitachi had a "consultation" with cycling organisations in the Birmingham area, in which – IIRC what I was told by a friend who took part – they basically presented a mock-up of the bike spaces, people could try them out (obviously the mock-carriage was stationary) and comment, but it seems they were only prepared/able to make the most minor changes.

The purpose of consultations, studies and surveys is often to justify a decision already made, not to significantly influence that decision.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on July 04, 2021, 01:27:17 pm
Just witnessed a TM refuse carriage to a cyclist who had a booked bike reservation because “I’m full up with bikes already”. It’s the [redacted] up service from Charlbury, a 5-coach IET which is always very busy as there’s a two-hour gap beforehand.

If a reservation doesn’t guarantee you a space, I seriously wonder what the point of them is. At the very least I would have thought the bike could have been stashed elsewhere on the train for the two short stops to Oxford, and the passenger asked to change onto a stopper from there.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: CyclingSid on July 04, 2021, 04:42:27 pm
Similarly luggage in the bike spaces can mean non-acceptance of bikes!


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 04, 2021, 07:17:05 pm
Just witnessed a TM refuse carriage to a cyclist who had a booked bike reservation because “I’m full up with bikes already”. It’s the [redacted] up service from Charlbury, a 5-coach IET which is always very busy as there’s a two-hour gap beforehand.

If a reservation doesn’t guarantee you a space, I seriously wonder what the point of them is. At the very least I would have thought the bike could have been stashed elsewhere on the train for the two short stops to Oxford, and the passenger asked to change onto a stopper from there.

Agree completely that if the passenger held a reservation then the TM should, unless there is a safety issue due to crowding on the train, have honoured that reservation by allowing the bike in a vestibule until other arrangements could be made.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: trainbuff on July 04, 2021, 10:28:11 pm
I guess the problem is that the vestibule area is actually quite small. It is possible, especially in the blame culture society we live in, that allowing a bicycle in a vestibule could cause injury to a third party. Litigation could result. Ultimately the Train Manager should move the luggage out of the bike racks. Just putting that forward as Devils Advocate really.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 04, 2021, 10:32:47 pm
If there was luggage in the reserved bike spaces, then yes.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: froome on July 04, 2021, 10:38:16 pm
I spent many years of the 1980s and 1990s campaigning on improving bike access to trains, including getting it aired on Radio 4 for half an hour, and despair at how we still manage to go backwards on this provision. Together, bikes and trains have always offered the best opportunity to reduce car use.

But on a recent journey I did see a train manager going out of their way to accommodate bikes, when 3 cyclists were trying to get their bikes onto a crowded train at Abergavenny. There really wasn't any space to get them in without completely blocking access, but between him and the riders, they spent a few minutes managing to fit them in. So some train managers do go out of their way to help.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: froome on July 05, 2021, 07:40:54 am
Just to respond more properly to Richard's point. I agree that the current reservation system for IETs is mostly pointless, as it appears almost unworkable for TMs trying to ensure trains run to time, who don't have the capacity to manage it.

Reservations have always been brought in to manage demand that far exceeds supply. Some bike journeys are planned ahead (holidays etc) but most demand for bikes on trains is ad hoc, dependent on the weather and other circumstances. The pandemic has probably increased demand, and hopefully our collective response to the climate emergency will increase it further. Without better on-train provision, there will always be an element of conflict between TMs and cyclists, to the detriment of both, and to other passengers.

Richard's initial post in this thread offered some sensible short-term solutions, but the only longer term solution is a positive working relationship between train operators and cyclists groups that worked to design trains to enable demand to be better met, and to create a working environment for train staff to manage it.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on July 08, 2021, 01:40:14 pm
In practice it's very difficult to stop people bringing unreserved bikes on a train. It could only be done by having one staff member policing the relevant door(s) at each stop.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on July 08, 2021, 03:33:04 pm
I spent many years of the 1980s and 1990s campaigning on improving bike access to trains, including getting it aired on Radio 4 for half an hour, and despair at how we still manage to go backwards on this provision. Together, bikes and trains have always offered the best opportunity to reduce car use.

But on a recent journey I did see a train manager going out of their way to accommodate bikes, when 3 cyclists were trying to get their bikes onto a crowded train at Abergavenny. There really wasn't any space to get them in without completely blocking access, but between him and the riders, they spent a few minutes managing to fit them in. So some train managers do go out of their way to help.

"despair at how we still manage to go backwards on this provision"

Surely not ! IET advocates assured us that IETs are purpose designed trains with more cycle spaces than previously available. And that the cycle spaces were designed in consultation with relevant groups.
What went wrong ?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Lee on July 08, 2021, 04:53:49 pm
I spent many years of the 1980s and 1990s campaigning on improving bike access to trains, including getting it aired on Radio 4 for half an hour, and despair at how we still manage to go backwards on this provision. Together, bikes and trains have always offered the best opportunity to reduce car use.

But on a recent journey I did see a train manager going out of their way to accommodate bikes, when 3 cyclists were trying to get their bikes onto a crowded train at Abergavenny. There really wasn't any space to get them in without completely blocking access, but between him and the riders, they spent a few minutes managing to fit them in. So some train managers do go out of their way to help.

"despair at how we still manage to go backwards on this provision"

Surely not ! IET advocates assured us that IETs are purpose designed trains with more cycle spaces than previously available. And that the cycle spaces were designed in consultation with relevant groups.
What went wrong ?

Sustrans were involved in that process. From a 2017 Guardian article: (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/nov/24/new-high-speed-trains-go-slow-on-provision-for-cyclists)

Quote from: 2017 Guardian article
Martyn Brunt of Sustrans was involved in testing the new bike carriages out. Brunt says although the space is “designed pretty well” with secure hangers for bikes and enough space to safely load and unload, there are potential problems.

He says: “The cycle space itself is designed to be flexible, which means that other things than bikes can be stored in there, for instance large luggage. Unless a cycle space is booked ahead, the chances of getting on with a bike are pretty much zero.”

He fears that as the number and configuration of carriages on a given service is at the discretion of the train operating company, busy services may have “virtually no cycle spaces”.

As he puts it: “The strict commercial targets imposed by the Department for Transport create a system that favours getting more seats filled, and thus reducing the space for non-paying items like cycles.”


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on August 28, 2021, 11:06:45 pm
Looks like the Government-run LNER have recognised that the bike spaces on their 80Xs aren’t fit for purpose:

https://mobile.twitter.com/LNER/status/1431567369407811589

Et tu, GWR?


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 29, 2021, 12:33:46 pm
A different design of hook?

Should be easy enough to adapt on the government run GWR trains too if so.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Bmblbzzz on August 29, 2021, 02:58:50 pm
A different hook might be better in terms of rim size but still retains the fundamental dangly problem.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on September 10, 2021, 05:02:54 pm
I travelled back from Rhyl (oh, the glamour!) yesterday - two of us, two (narrow) bikes, reservations made for each leg. Interesting to contrast the provision on the three trains we took.

Leg 1 was Rhyl to Wolverhampton, a TfW 158: 2 carriages to begin, 4 carriages after Chester. There was one (folding but unfolded) bike already on, and a third cyclist getting on at Rhyl with us. That's twice as many bikes as the stated capacity, but it worked fine, thanks not least to the very helpful guard who was keen to talk to us about his new gravel bike!

Leg 2 was Wolverhampton to Oxford, a CrossCountry 22something - or two in fact, totalling nine carriages. Voyager bike accommodation is slightly curious: 2 hanging cabinets, one taking two bikes, the other only one. Absolutely full marks to the XC staff member who saw there was a single, wide-handlebarred bike in the 2-bike cabinet, and took it on herself to move that across to the 1-bike cabinet so we could get ours in.

Leg 3 was Oxford to Charlbury, and a five-coach IET. I had an ominous feeling this would be the tricky one, and it was. No indication of which of the two "bike & bulk" rooms we were meant to use, but we chose the one nearest the front (and suggested to an Oxford-Hanborough cyclist that he use the other). But, as documented, IET bike spaces are not forgiving for anything that isn't a narrow-barred road bike... and though ours were, an existing occupant of the space wasn't: an "e-bike" that I would charitably describe as a motorbike with pedals. Absolutely no way you could have got a fully folded Brompton in the cabinet with it, let alone two full-size bikes! So we stood in the vestibules with our bikes and manhandled them out the way at Hanborough. No sign of any staff.

Any lessons learned? One is that staff goodwill can go a very long way - we were delighted with how helpful the TfW and XC staff were.

The second is that bikes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days, and bike accommodation needs to keep pace with that. I doubt it's ever going to be feasible for motorbike-sized e-bikes to be transported by train, and TOCs might want to consider setting a maximum size. But the wide-barred bike on the Voyager was just a "normal bike", and it was a little alarming that it nominally took up two spaces.

Similarly, the folding bike on the 158 would ideally have been in a luggage rack, folded, rather than the main bike spaces. Luggage racks have been getting smaller over time, not least with IETs compared to HSTs, and maybe that needs to be revisited.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 10, 2021, 05:56:57 pm
Usually there is a cycle symbol on the CIS at Oxford to show which carriage/zone the cycles go.  With the reservation, did the carriage letter not come with that?

As an aside I’ve just witnessed a very panic stricken passenger running up and down the platform (and a delay of a few minutes) at Preston when they were unable to access their bike stowed in the back compartment of a Pendolino.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: PhilWakely on September 10, 2021, 08:52:23 pm
Usually there is a cycle symbol on the CIS at Oxford to show which carriage/zone the cycles go.  With the reservation, did the carriage letter not come with that?

Cycle reservation tickets do not show the coach letter.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: froome on September 11, 2021, 09:13:36 am
I travelled back from Rhyl (oh, the glamour!) yesterday - two of us, two (narrow) bikes, reservations made for each leg. Interesting to contrast the provision on the three trains we took.

Leg 1 was Rhyl to Wolverhampton, a TfW 158: 2 carriages to begin, 4 carriages after Chester. There was one (folding but unfolded) bike already on, and a third cyclist getting on at Rhyl with us. That's twice as many bikes as the stated capacity, but it worked fine, thanks not least to the very helpful guard who was keen to talk to us about his new gravel bike!

Leg 2 was Wolverhampton to Oxford, a CrossCountry 22something - or two in fact, totalling nine carriages. Voyager bike accommodation is slightly curious: 2 hanging cabinets, one taking two bikes, the other only one. Absolutely full marks to the XC staff member who saw there was a single, wide-handlebarred bike in the 2-bike cabinet, and took it on herself to move that across to the 1-bike cabinet so we could get ours in.

Leg 3 was Oxford to Charlbury, and a five-coach IET. I had an ominous feeling this would be the tricky one, and it was. No indication of which of the two "bike & bulk" rooms we were meant to use, but we chose the one nearest the front (and suggested to an Oxford-Hanborough cyclist that he use the other). But, as documented, IET bike spaces are not forgiving for anything that isn't a narrow-barred road bike... and though ours were, an existing occupant of the space wasn't: an "e-bike" that I would charitably describe as a motorbike with pedals. Absolutely no way you could have got a fully folded Brompton in the cabinet with it, let alone two full-size bikes! So we stood in the vestibules with our bikes and manhandled them out the way at Hanborough. No sign of any staff.

Any lessons learned? One is that staff goodwill can go a very long way - we were delighted with how helpful the TfW and XC staff were.

The second is that bikes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days, and bike accommodation needs to keep pace with that. I doubt it's ever going to be feasible for motorbike-sized e-bikes to be transported by train, and TOCs might want to consider setting a maximum size. But the wide-barred bike on the Voyager was just a "normal bike", and it was a little alarming that it nominally took up two spaces.

Similarly, the folding bike on the 158 would ideally have been in a luggage rack, folded, rather than the main bike spaces. Luggage racks have been getting smaller over time, not least with IETs compared to HSTs, and maybe that needs to be revisited.

Coincidentally I was coming back through Rhyl on the same day, with my Brompton (completely folded), and Rhyl was looking very wet, so I hope that downpour missed you.  :)



Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 11, 2021, 02:07:52 pm
Usually there is a cycle symbol on the CIS at Oxford to show which carriage/zone the cycles go.  With the reservation, did the carriage letter not come with that?

Cycle reservation tickets do not show the coach letter.

Ok, that’s interesting to know. 

I can’t imagine it would be difficult to provide that information as they are all part of the same reservation system as the seats (numbered 97/98 IIRC) and have their own display above the compartment.

You could do Coach B for 5-car services, and Coaches B and K for 9 or 10 car services.


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: CyclingSid on November 26, 2021, 10:18:09 am
and another viewpoint; see "Is swapping first class for bike space the answer to UK trains' cycle storage problem?"
https://twitter.com/endhunting/status/1463475341394128906?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1463475341394128906%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-25-november-2021-288101 (https://twitter.com/endhunting/status/1463475341394128906?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1463475341394128906%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-25-november-2021-288101)


Title: Re: Bike spaces on IETs
Post by: broadgage on November 27, 2021, 03:10:31 pm
No the answer is not removing first class, which has already been downgraded in both quality and number of seats.

The answer is proper full length  inter city trains, with ample cycle spaces, proper first class, catering, padded seats, and all those other facilities lacking on new trains.



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