Bikes and trains are generally considered two of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. So what could be better than combining the two to complete your commute to work?
If you are considering taking your bike on to a train, whether it be a one off or as part of your daily commute to work, there are a few guidelines you would be advised to read.
There is no charge for carrying your bike onto a train and as it is becoming more popular, more stations are providing bike storage at or near the station. It goes without saying that you should remove any valuables i.e. panniers, lights etc. from your bike as the rail company will accept no liability for it. Some train companies have restrictions on when bicycles may be carried onto a train, especially at busy times, so we would always advise looking at the on-board facilities page of the rail company you’re using before purchasing your ticket.
If you know that a cycle reservation is required we would recommend booking as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment. You should also be aware if you will be departing or arriving at a short platform station. It’s not always possible to access the designated cycle storage carriage when the train is in the station therefore you will need to inform the train manager. They will let you move your bike to another area of the train before you arrive at your destination. Similarly, if you wish to board at a short platform station, you should load your bike onto the train and the train manager will give you the opportunity to move it into the designated area once moving.
Whilst most train companies have slightly different policies, there are some general restrictions applicable to all. Tandems, tricycles and bicycle trailers are not allowed to be carried onto a train unless otherwise stated. Cycles must be carried in the designated areas and must not obstruct doors or aisles. Unaccompanied bicycles are not allowed on any services. Bicycles carried on the train and left in station storage are done so at the owner’s risk. Lastly, for obvious safety reasons, bicycles must not be ridden on the platform or the train.
Most stations will ask you to switch off your rear red light on your bicycle whilst you’re in a station as this can distract or confuse the driver of the train pulling into the station.
We would also strongly advise checking ahead for any planned engineering work. Unless your bike is foldable you will not be allowed to carry it on to a replacement bus service. Meaning you could either be stranded or face a very long cycle home!