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Author Topic: A cycle by train - a first "proper" experience  (Read 466 times)
grahame
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« on: April 03, 2021, 08:40:50 am »

Yesterday, I took my bike out on the train to Oldfield Park and cycled home.  Homeward journey covered elsewhere ...



The bike can collapse - and quite easily - but as it's electric assisted it's a bit heavy so I chose to travel with a cycle reservation and not collapse it - figuring I would, on the first train of the holiday day, be the only cycle on there.

Wrong - although the train from Melksham to Chippenham was thin (five passengers in my half of the carriage) there was already another cycle on there - plenty of space for another couple, mind:



Chippenham to Bath was just a five car IET (Intercity Express Train) - so 1 bicycle locker, and again two bikes making it full.   And very messy - the guy who's bike was already on there hadn't hung his up, I didn't really fancy trying either ... and in any case the train was deadly quiet - just five passengers in the whole carriage.





Change at Bath Spa onto the Bristol Turbo.    Again - doesn't it look quiet?



Quiet indeed - but even so, as I stood by the door to join, 2 cyclists got off the train and, ironically, much less space on the 3 car train for cycles than there had been on the 2 car from Melksham to Chippenham



And so - end of my train ride - Oldfield Park.   



On time, just 38 minutes from Melksham, on time departure from Melksham and on time arrival into Oldfield Park.   Slight heart-racer as we were delayed into Chippenham as a late running express ("Important train") went through ahead of us, but still enough time to change.

Questions ...

1. I bought a return ticket, anticipating returning from an intermediate station but why oh why does the system issue no fewer than 9 card tickets?  (and it would have been more had I not selected an open return)

2. If a specific seat reservation (on the IET) is indeed available but one of the other passengers has occupied a seat which is NOT socially distanced from that reserved seat, what are you supposed to do?  Should there not be a region of seats marked unavailable around each reservation?

3. Standing on the platform and looking for "Zone 6", would it not be a good idea to paint other directions on the other zones - for example "Zone 4" with little arrows and smaller text pointing to Zones 3 and 5 - would save a 26 metre trip in the wrong direction and be a help to anyone not feeling bright enough to figure it out

4. If the trains were close to empty but cycle facilities being heavily used, how will the railway cope with when more people come back and, encouraged by the government to walk and cycle, want to bring there bikes too?


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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2021, 10:20:51 am »

Well done on your day out, may many more follow with improving weather.
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If the trains were close to empty but cycle facilities being heavily used, how will the railway cope with when more people come back and, encouraged by the government to walk and cycle, want to bring there bikes too?
On past experience, not very well. This will the acid test of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer)'s words about wanting to improve bike facilities (on trains).
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broadgage
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2021, 12:20:53 pm »

I expect that "improvements" to cycle facilities on trains will consist of better signage and advertising, and perhaps managing expectations. NOT providing more spaces than existed before the improvements.
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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 #3 on: April 03, 2021, 01:01:14 pm »

Turbos never used to have any designated spaces, so the only option was the vestibule doors.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2021, 01:42:21 pm »

166s always did, I think - an area in the centre carriage with 'wheelbender' stands (as per the pic). 165s didn't.
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2021, 02:02:33 pm »

The 166s were converted several years ago, before the 165s, but didn’t have them originally unless my memory is really playing tricks on me!  Smiley

Thinking about it, there were the three foldable longitudinal seats, which bikes could be placed in when they were lifted up.  Not sure they were designated as such though?
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2021, 03:37:17 pm »

I'm not sure if I'm thinking of exactly the same class of train, but certainly sometimes there are two sets of three longitudinal foldable seats, one opposite the other. I think they're intended for both wheelchairs and bikes (with wheelchairs obviously taking priority).
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2021, 07:54:24 pm »

Thinking about it, there were the three foldable longitudinal seats, which bikes could be placed in when they were lifted up.  Not sure they were designated as such though?

Yes, that sounds right! I'm pretty sure I was putting my bike alongside those back in Thames Trains days, and indeed that this was the area where the guard encouraged you to put your bike. Whether there was a sign saying "bikes go here" I don't recall...
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2021, 08:03:17 am »

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there were the three foldable longitudinal seats, which bikes could be placed in when they were lifted up
This was the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) method, before they improved the sets, very suitable for commuter routes.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2021, 12:13:20 pm »

How are the new Class 701s configured for bicycles?  They will become the standard unit for all of the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) suburban services by next year, rather than the mix of types currently used.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2021, 12:38:48 pm »

How are the new Class 701s configured for bicycles?  They will become the standard unit for all of the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) suburban services by next year, rather than the mix of types currently used.

To answer my own question, from the SWR website:  https://www.southwesternrailway.com/travelling-with-us/our-trains/arterio

"There are dedicated cycle racks available across the fleet meaning customers can safely and conveniently store their bicycles. For every five-car train, 3 bike spaces will be made available for customers, and 6 spaces on every ten-car train."
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