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Author Topic: Changes to cycle policy - 3/4 Aug 13  (Read 28463 times)
bobm
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« on: July 17, 2013, 10:26:25 pm »

FGW has announced changes to its cycle policy for the weekend of the 3/4 August because of the Prudential Ride London event.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/PDF/Cycle%20By%20Train%20May%202013/Ride%20London.ashx

Reservations will be compulsory on all HST services while on London & Thames Valley services they will be banned completely on the Sunday - including services on the North Downs line.

On a separate note, is it me or are there more bikes on trains these days?  Even before the current hot weather I have been on half a dozen trains which have been delayed while bikes were loaded or unloaded. There have been arguments over people not being able to travel as there were no bike spaces. On one occasion we were treated to the spectacle of someone trying to wheel their bike through first class before discovering he couldn't get past the buffet!

I'm not against bikes on trains but they do seem to be causing problems at the moment.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 04:06:23 pm »

...while on London & Thames Valley services they will be banned completely on the Sunday - including services on the North Downs line.

I expect that will be enforced as strictly as it is on current peak services.  Roll Eyes
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ChrisB
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 04:14:49 pm »

They'll have fun getting them home again then! - I'm sure the PAD barrier staff will be briefed to not allow them through....
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 08:11:34 pm »

This practice is not unusual Southern place a cycle ban on certain services every year when the London to Brighton is on.

There are more cycles, we are now plagued with fold up bikes on the TV services so much so that on some trains you struggle to get on and off, I think folks that have the contraptions if they have a seat have the bike on their lap or better still cycle the damn thing to work ........... and as for them half folding bike gerrrrrrrrrrrrr

Oh and then the owners of said bikes take up platform space putting the things together because they are to bone idle to carry them.

Via la pedestrian (well untill I get in my car  Grin )
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mjray
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 11:04:18 pm »

Each person arriving by bicycle is probably one less car in the mostly-overstuffed car parks. It's rather irritating First train operators are so awful at accommodating bicycles, both at stations and on trains. Why is it? It's not like First Bus is competing with bicycles as First Bus usually fail to coordinate with the trains in my experience (Weston-super-Mare)...

Was it beyond First to arrange a few cycle specials for Ride London?  Hook a few extra guards vans onto that locomotive and coaches set that did Taunton-Cardiff (not seen it recently) or something. After all, the event's only been planned since a few years before the Olympics.  No, instead they take a page out of Southern's awful London-to-Brighton "How to Annoy Passengers" book.
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ellendune
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 11:22:39 pm »

Each person arriving by bicycle is probably one less car in the mostly-overstuffed car parks. It's rather irritating First train operators are so awful at accommodating bicycles, both at stations and on trains. Why is it? It's not like First Bus is competing with bicycles as First Bus usually fail to coordinate with the trains in my experience (Weston-super-Mare)...

I agree that FGW and other companies should make more effort to provide secure cycle storage at stations with equal or greater priority than car parking.  I am not sure about on trains though.  They do take up a lot of space - something we are very short of on trains these days. The cost of this provision is not covered by additional fare income. The provision made therefore has to be limited.

Was it beyond First to arrange a few cycle specials for Ride London?  Hook a few extra guards vans onto that locomotive and coaches set that did Taunton-Cardiff (not seen it recently) or something. After all, the event's only been planned since a few years before the Olympics.  No, instead they take a page out of Southern's awful London-to-Brighton "How to Annoy Passengers" book.

The railway just does not have a few spare guards vans around for easy hire.  They did in the old BR days but those times have long gone. I am not saying it cannot be done, but it is not a trivial task and will not be cheap.  I assume that the additional passengers would want this service for just the cost of an ordinary (off peak) ticket.
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mjray
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 11:43:12 pm »

The railway just does not have a few spare guards vans around for easy hire.  They did in the old BR days but those times have long gone. I am not saying it cannot be done, but it is not a trivial task and will not be cheap.  I assume that the additional passengers would want this service for just the cost of an ordinary (off peak) ticket.
There must be some spare vehicles around. Sure, I'm not saying it's trivial, but does it really take more than three years to organise a special service? If so, I'm amazed that GW doesn't collapse every time something disrupts services and that Great Rail Journeys and other specials operators aren't out of business.

Why assume it would all be ordinary off-peak ticket costs? I don't remember if the Ride London sportive had an entry fee or just the ballot, but a lot of those people will be paying three figures to enter events where they ride their four-figure bicycles. I suspect there would be a healthy market for 1st class tickets on those specials.

In general, both on that special and on general services, bring back bicycle reservations and make them paid tickets. You can rack a lot of bicycles in the same space as a few seats, they're relatively light, they don't want toilets, heating and feeding... it should be possible to make that a profitable add-on.
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 08:51:15 am »

There must be some spare vehicles around.

Why 'must' there be?  We have a railway run on an economic system counting the last penny and nothing is spare anymore.  Every last unit is 'sweated' for as much income as it can achieve.  Hence for summer peak services HSTs are shunted between routes and even companies and regular services reduced for the peak season.

Only in France are whole trains lying idle for months of the year waiting for specials or the peak and even there they are beginning to question the economics.  Ellendune is quite right in her comment about this.

It's good to welcome you mj: hope you enjoy the discussions.
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paul7755
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2013, 11:10:10 am »

Hook a few extra guards vans...

There are none though.   They are an anachronism, dating from the days of the railway as a parcel carrier.  They were NOT provided originally for the carriage of bikes.

This argument has been done to death regarding the London to Brighton ride.  Until the slam door stock was replaced for safety reasons, yes they did run specials.  They took out all the seat squabs from the Mk1 carriages and stacked bikes in the saloons.  However no-one thinks that easily removable seats are any good for safety these days, and it is not possible to remove seats in modern stock.

Paul
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mjray
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 11:45:59 am »

There must be some spare vehicles around.

Why 'must' there be? [...]
Because there are more services at peak time than on a summer sunday afternoon/evening - logically they go somewhere and surely they're not all being serviced; because some services (especially specials) leave stuff sat around at Temple Meads; because we have heritage lines, some of whom might rather take the money than run all their stock for the whole day.  I accept there are logistical and maybe maintenance challenges, but events of this scale don't happen overnight.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2013, 01:58:18 pm »

Can't comment on the servicing issues as I don't know the arrangements on a Sunday. Except to say that it's not just a rolling stock issue. There's staffing to consider. Marshalling additional stock requires additional drivers.

You most certainly cannot just pick up stock from a heritage railway and plonk on the national network. Each piece of stock needs to be certified for mainline running for a start. Then it needs to meet modern safety standards, and if it doesn't then it requires a barrier vehicle to run on the mainline.

Events of this scale do happen all the time and train operators do their very best to cater for them. A Sunday in August is already going to be extremely busy. In fact Sunday evenings are busy year round these days. Train operators can only do so much with the staff and stock available to them. There is no strategic reserve to call upon.

Now, in this cost dominated world then maybe, just maybe, some spot hire stock from a mainline certified supplier could be found. Perhaps with each cyclist paying the adult ticket price for the conveyance of their bicycle in addition to themselves, the hire cost could be covered. But what about the staffing costs... the track access charges...

Network Rail are amenable to charter trains. Perhaps these cyclists could band together and hire their own train of suitable stock.

Expecting scheduled services to accommodate them is expecting too much.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 02:58:50 pm »

As is all cyclists expecting their cycles be carried free of charge....
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mjray
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 03:27:43 pm »

Events of this scale do happen all the time and train operators do their very best to cater for them.
Could you give an example? It seems like every time there is a bike ride or race, bicycles are banned from the adjacent part of the rail network - and sometimes completely unrelated parts.

I also don't see why there is such opposition on this forum to paying extra for bicycle reservation tickets. They used to exist, didn't they? I wouldn't mind it and it would be a lot better than the current "gamble whether you can get home again" practice on the Bristol metro services (needs less than two bikes per train or friendly staff).

Personally, I'm also in favour of large luggage tickets: if it doesn't fit above your head or under the seat in front, you buy a ticket. If that's accepted, maybe there's a chance that IEP trains will be fitted out with decent luggage and bicycle spaces.

It feels unreasonable to expect event organisers or participants to band together and hire their own train.  There seem to be quite a lot of general hoops to jump through to operate a train which would make the overheads prohibitive, so it would probably again boil down to trying to get one of the Big Six to run it. I bet First would be very helpful to a competitor using GW tracks...
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ChrisB
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 03:45:38 pm »

Not opposition per se on this forum as far as I can see - but amongst cyclists who generally think that TOCs have an obligation to carry their cycle free of charge, on the basis that a) it's a green thing to do (cycling) and b) they pay enough for a ticket.

For something that's free to attend/partake in (I think), IMHO there'd be massive objection (if suitable stock could be found and service for bikes run) to paying for it - the fare likely to be close to an adult fare probably
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paul7755
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 03:50:59 pm »

I also don't see why there is such opposition on this forum to paying extra for bicycle reservation tickets. They used to exist, didn't they?

XC and SWT's west of England route both require bike reservations AFAIAA.  However it is fairly obvious that potential passengers just ignore the requirement and argue with staff. 

Regarding IEP, DfT's layout drawings and written specs require 'vertical' bike storage spaces in some of the vestibule areas - but not at the cost of providing seats for paying passengers.

Paul

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