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Author Topic: Bike spaces on IETs  (Read 7764 times)
CyclingSid
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« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2021, 04:42:27 pm »

Similarly luggage in the bike spaces can mean non-acceptance of bikes!
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« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2021, 07:17:05 pm »

Just witnessed a TM(resolve) 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 (Intercity Express Train) 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.
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« Reply #32 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.
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« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2021, 10:32:47 pm »

If there was luggage in the reserved bike spaces, then yes.
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« Reply #34 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.
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« Reply #35 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 (Intercity Express Train) is mostly pointless, as it appears almost unworkable for TMs(resolve) 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.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #36 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.
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« Reply #37 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 (Intercity Express Train) 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 ?
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #38 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 (Intercity Express Train) 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:

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.”
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2021, 11:06:45 pm »

Looks like the Government-run LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about) have recognised that the bike spaces on their 80Xs aren’t fit for purpose:

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

Et tu, GWR (Great Western Railway)?
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« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2021, 12:33:46 pm »

A different design of hook?

Should be easy enough to adapt on the government run GWR (Great Western Railway) trains too if so.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #41 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.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #42 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 (Intercity Express Train). 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 (Train Operating Company) 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 (High Speed Train), and maybe that needs to be revisited.
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« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2021, 05:56:57 pm »

Usually there is a cycle symbol on the CIS (Customer Information System) 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.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2021, 08:52:23 pm »

Usually there is a cycle symbol on the CIS (Customer Information System) 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.
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