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Has anyone taken a bike on the train during peak times?

davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
I'd like to take a bike on Southwest trains at 6:40pm, but they tell that this isn't allowed until 7pm. However I regularly see people doing just that so i wanted to ask:

- Have you done it?
- Do they really enforce the rules in the late evenings at the gates (will I end up in a row or having to chain it up)?
- Are these people sneaking onto the system from a quiet station and then changing at the main ones?

Posts

  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    Not SW trains, but I am a daily peak time bike+train commuter. It depends on the direction you are traveling in - check the cycle policy on their website.

    Dicey to depend on being able to sneak it on (though it can be done), inevitably you meet an @rsey station person on the very day you are late for an important meeting.

    I hope that helps.
  • Stevo CStevo C Posts: 132
    I take my bike on SW Trains everyday without a problem, but then I'm travelling against the flow so to speak, Waterloo - Basingstoke in the mornings, back in the evenings, but there's no bike exclusion in those directions.

    I'm guessing you're wanting to travel out of London at that time, so I reckon it all depends on how busy the train is. Since they installed the ticket gates, there's not that many guards on the platform. You're biggest problem will be finding somewhere to put the bike, some of those trains look pretty full to me.

    I've been doing it since September and only once had a problem. Got on the train and the bike space was full of suitcases, the guard told me how I shouldn't have got on with the bike and by rights she should make me get off at the next stop.

    cheers

    Steve
    cheers

    Steve
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Yeah - it's a pain for cyclists but it's a rule with strong justification, considering how busy the trains do get before 7pm. Now that they have the barriers at Waterloo (and Vauxhall, and CJ) I fear you're going to have to wait until 7 if you want to take the bike.
  • davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
    thanks Steve. this is a one-off to take the bike (from Richmond) on a Friday night travelling out of London.

    I can get a reservation from Reading no problem, it's that 20 minutes pre-7pm that is ruining my plan and if I wait then I miss the connection.

    Whilst I use the trains when not on two wheels I've never paid attention to where in the line of carriages the ones with cycle spaces are. Is there a rule of thumb, like being at the front or back or do you dash up and down the platform trying to find it amongst the commuters?
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I've never noticed either if there is a specific bike-friendly carriage on SWT - I've always just assumed if you can fit a bike into the standing area, then you're fine!
  • davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
    they have areas (by the loo) where the seats are folded up and there's straps to fasten the bike to the wall. that way you aren't blocking the door.

    Even as a two wheel enthusiast I can't help being annoyed by handlebars snagging my bag or coat because someone won't park the thing out of the way. Even offpeak, climbing over a bike with a suitcase shifts me into that grumpy Ped category complaining about cyclists.
  • Dog BreathDog Breath Posts: 314
    All rail companies should be like Merseyrail. OK it's only the local network, but their charter states that bikes can travel for free and without restriction. If only all rail operators were like this.
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Yep everyday for a year on SW no problems, one winter I switched to FGW for a month and had to pre book a place which was always empty anyway even so I was never expected and had to go through a whole song and dance.
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  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    Dog Breath,
    All rail companies should be like Merseyrail. OK it's only the local network, but their charter states that bikes can travel for free and without restriction. If only all rail operators were like this.

    I'm afraid that is utter ballcocks. I do a bike train bike commute into London (except when I'm injured like now, grrr). THe trains are rammed in the rush hour. Getting bikes on the train would mean some passengers would have to get off and others would be pushed up against dirty, oily, pointy bikes.

    Folders are allowed and every now and again I see some smart @rse who obviously think they are SOOO clever bringing on one of those bikes that doesn't fold but has joints to allow you to pack the frame for travel. Of course they dont take the bike apart for the journey and just inconvenience lots of other travellers. The gits.

    Personally, I leave a bike at each end.

    J
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    davmaggs, I noticed this morning as I boarded a SWT train bound for Waterloo that the door by which I entered (not my usual door, fwiw, but either the rear carriage or, more likely, the rear-but-one-carriage) had a sign on it that said room for 2 bikes. Since I've not noticed this on my usual carriage, it seems you're right about their being bike-specific ones and, assuming the train simply travels the other way out of Waterloo, it would be the front or front-but-one carriage!

    Hope that helps :)
  • Stevo CStevo C Posts: 132
    On the longer journeys (Southampton, Plymouth etc) SW Trains have 1 or 2 carriages on each train (depends on the length) with bike racks. You just need to look for the blue bike sticker next to the door.
    cheers

    Steve
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Stevo C wrote:
    On the longer journeys (Southampton, Plymouth etc) SW Trains have 1 or 2 carriages on each train (depends on the length) with bike racks. You just need to look for the blue bike sticker next to the door.

    Yup - when I catch the train in with my bike we use this section. Oddly, the OLDER carriages are better as there is no bulkhead to separate the bike store and it means you can get 3 bikes in there as opposed to 1. They say two but frankly no chance.
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