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Long train journey then bike commute

cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
edited June 2010 in Commuting chat
One of the topics of discussion in my house atm is house far we could move out and still commute into London, primarily due to the size of house/garden etc you can get out for your money.

Anyone have, e.g., a 1.5 hour train journey each way to a London mainline station and then ride into town? E.g. from southern Hants into Waterloo or from out west into Paddington? Moving jobs isn't an option, really.

Another other option might be to get a train part of the way and then have a 30 min ride into town.
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  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 15,897
    I think ITB does something like that.
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  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    The thing is: East Midlands Parkway is 'only' 2 hours from London and it's my local station (5 min drive) so how far out do you want to be?
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  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,014
    The thing is: East Midlands Parkway is 'only' 2 hours from London and it's my local station (5 min drive) so how far out do you want to be?

    York is only 2 hours from London!! :wink: Mind you, makes for a pricey season ticket - over £8000 in 2003 :shock:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    I drive and then ride. I tried train and ride but the Brussels-Antwerp service is a bit pants (ie takes longer than driving....) plus they charge you to take your bike on board in Belgium.

    not sure I'd put up with 1.5 hours plus (say) 30mins cycling each way. 4 hours a day travelling? no thank you very much.
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  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,916
    I'd do some research on house prices as well. Some areas just inside the M25 are significantly cheaper than areas further out in the stockbroker belt. I'd also balance this against what might be an absolute stonker of a season ticket.
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  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 43,933
    I'd also think about how much time you are likely to spend on a train - outside of mid summer you may never see your house in daylight during the week. Big houses & gardens will lose their shine if you can rarely enjoy them.

    As RJS says, look a bit closer in where there are some relatively cheaper areas within decent striking distance (look at the green bit inside the M25 for starters).
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  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    I did a drive/train/ride commute for 5 years, it became a ride/train/ride commute for a few months, but I found it too much.

    I drove 14 miles from my house to the station, there was one closer but fewer trains stopped at it, then just over an hour on the train into Liverpool Street, followed by a 7 mile ride across to Mayfair, latterly Kensington.

    It took me a bit over 2 hours each way, worked out as 22 hours a week, but I was completely fine with it, I read on the train, listened to music, had my coffee, found it a pleasant enough way to start and end the day.

    I was perfectly happy with it, no objection whatsoever, the only bit that ground me down was the drive each way, it was always really busy and took longer than it should have done, hence deciding to ride it, but that increased the time substantially and it knackered me out.

    The only reason I got a place in London was that I could rent a room for less than the season ticket cost me. Trains are pricey.

    ETA: Starting a new job soon, seriously considering ditching the London room and going back to the train commute. We shall see.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Thanks, folks. All very valid points. Which is why I want to stay precisely where I am, and Mrs CJ does, too. I hate, no, despise, commuting by train. Have done it from Borehamwood and Three Bridges for good periods of time and, as Steve says, you commute in the dark. Not fun. The Three Bridges commute was 3 hours a day, 15 hours a week. Really don't want to do that again.

    But you can't help but wonder when you see what you could get for your money in some places. We were looking, in particular, at Cowbridge (just outside Cardiff) and Monmouthshire. The commutes would be ridiculous from there, but we were thinking about places much closer i.e. in England. Thing is, i don't live too far from the M25 as it is - about an hour's ride. Places like Cobham, Ockham, Epsom, Esher are still pricey.

    Anyone ride in from Weybridge? Or the Virginia Waters/Englefield Green area?

    My feeling is that both are just a bit too far out, especially the latter.
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  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    I have to say, although there are a lot of valid points above, as I'm about to move back to London for the first time in a year, that I'm seriously torn.

    It's just lovely here, and until they put the season ticket price up, I was perfectly happy commuting. It's expensive and sometimes crowded on the train, but I get to live here, in the middle of gorgeous countryside, where I can't see another house from mine, it's dark at night, and all that wakes me up is the damn song thrush. I can't imagine having a family in London.

    I guess what I'm saying is it's an exchange. And round this way, many, many people commute in every day. If you work in the east of London it's even easier, a good number of locals just drive in, some train it. And many do it from far further out, the coast even.

    I don't really want to move back to the stinky city. But it is convenient.

    EDIT: There's no way in hell we could live in anything approaching luxury in London if we sold this place to buy there. Just saying.
  • cjcp wrote:
    Anyone ride in from Weybridge? Or the Virginia Waters/Englefield Green area?

    My feeling is that both are just a bit too far out, especially the latter.
    I think RufusA might be from that direction (he has mentioned Esher and Weybridge as part of his area) but not sure whether he cycles all of the way in to London. Might be worth a PM to him to check?
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    As you know, I do from Woking to New Malden, going via Ripley/Ockham/Cobham/Esher/Surbiton it takes me around 70 minutes for the 30km trip in.

    That is summer commuting (cycling) time, in winter add another 10 minutes for going slower, and on some wet nights in winter more.

    Going via Byfleet/Weybridge/Hersham instead is marginally shorter and faster by about a mile .About halfway between Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames railway station is the halfway point of that route, you could allow 30-35 minutes from there via Esher to RP I think.

    So if you were to move to Weybridge and add that to your current starting point you'd be looking at I guess a 90 minute ride in? Maybe slightly faster if the route was adjusted to go around Hampton Court way.

    Alternatively, the train from Woking is quite fast into Waterloo at about 30 minutes, but also expensive. I've done that with a zones 1-6 travelcard a few mornings for meetings and it is £23.50.

    Which is why I prefer to work close enough to cycle in and earn less....
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  • tiny_penstiny_pens Posts: 293
    Winchester is nice and is 1 hour away on the train. House prices (and ticket prices) are appropriately expensive because of this. I have done the trip infrequently and the train is pretty busy. You would need a folding bike to do it regularly as you wouldn't want to miss a train very often.

    Move 1 stop either way on the line Southampton or Amazingstoke and your choices of places to live get a bit wider - new Forest isn't far from Southampton and some nice riding near Blazingstoke.

    I think Petersfield is a nice place and that isn't a long way by train. I think a friend of mine commutes from Brighton to London and sayes its about an hour so there are plenty of interesting places to live.

    Me, I'd ride my motorcycle but thats just cos I like spending time on two wheels - not so fun in the snow though :-(
  • LowrideLowride Posts: 214
    Rugby and Daventry are fast becoming commuter areas. Can`t be more than an hour on the train, houses in Rugby are really reasonable. I`ve seen a two bed with parking and front and rear gardens for just less than £100k
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  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    Nutters.
  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    prj45 wrote:
    Nutters.

    Oops wrong thread.

    Still stands though!
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,916
    Following on from TP, anywhere nice outside London from which it is easy to get to London will have corresponding house prices. Generally, the only places that aren't more or less the same price as London, are difficult to commute from. I know I went on about it when DDD was asking a similar question a while back, but somewhere like Woodmansterne or Banstead is not much more of a ride than where you are now, but with a bit of a climb on the homeward leg, and quite reasonable house prices.
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  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    Why would you want to gove a rail company money that you could be putting into your mortgage for yourself?
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Lowride wrote:
    Rugby and Daventry are fast becoming commuter areas. Can`t be more than an hour on the train, houses in Rugby are really reasonable. I`ve seen a two bed with parking and front and rear gardens for just less than £100k

    I've heard of Rugby becoming popular. Peterborough and York, too. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too far north. :wink: (Actually, no family that far north.)

    The South Coast is my favourite. Train link to Waterloo, but that's a lot of cash to part with for a train ticket.

    @Chuckcork - cheers. 90 mins may be do-able

    @LiT - Kingston isn't quite London, thankfully. Much greener around these parts - RP half-a-mile away, Bushy Park 2 miles away max. :) But, yes, I take your point about it being an exchange.
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,761
    @CJCP hello matey it's very doable and affordable from a train ticket point of view that is.

    I'm <5 miles from two train stations on the worst GW line and 15 miles from my nearest SW trains, in theory I could be 1.5 hrs from work but then were would the fun be in that? :roll: :lol:

    So long as you're not bound by being in the office at 9am then it's really not that bad, that said I should have left the house 1hr ago :roll:

    Doh!

    More coffee, well why the hell not :wink:
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  • londonlivvylondonlivvy Posts: 644
    I would suggest you buy a copy of Commuterland
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Daily-Telegraph ... 014&sr=8-1

    It does all the comparative costs of housing / train / car parking and the time spent on the train equations for you - and describes the area.

    I commuted in from Wolverton for a few years and got sick of it - whilst, theoretically, the train only took 50 minutes, it rarely did, and the time at either end to get to the station, to the right platform etc, meant it was more like 1h20 on a very good day. And 2 hrs plus on a bad day.

    Could you work from home one day a week? Might break up the commute?
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    edited June 2010
    ......

    I commuted in from Wolverton for a few years and got sick of it - whilst, theoretically, the train only took 50 minutes, it rarely did, and the time at either end to get to the station, to the right platform etc, meant it was more like 1h20 on a very good day. And 2 hrs plus on a bad day.

    ...

    +1 I commuted from Northampton to London for a couple of years and lived a couple of minutes walk from the station but the time to get to/ from station at both ends etc meant never seeing daylight in Northampton for many months.

    Also the cost of the rail travel far outweighed any saving on house prices
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  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Hi,
    Couple of points that may be helpful:

    1) I don't see daylight at home through the winter- Living in Scotland, where the midwinter days are very short, it's not unusual. You get used to it but it is a pain- makes bike maintenance a bit more difficult, for example!!

    2) Routing: the obvious choices will be expensive because lots of other people will be looking at them, too. What differentiates you is that you are a keen cyclist, so keep an eye out for locations where a bike commute makes a big difference- eg a location with poor PT connections and awkward roads &/or parking but within sensible cycling distance.
    You might get a property bargain somewhere others would dismiss.

    Working from home obviously helps, if that's feasible some of the time, and the quality of the train trip makes a huge difference- a seat where you can work/read/drink coffee is a world away from standing-room-only!

    Cheers,
    W.
  • We're going through exactly this at the moment.

    My wife's family is from Sussex (whereas mine is way oop north) and she's persuading me to move near her family so my kids get the benefit of growing up near grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc - a big extended family which is also very sociable. Plus the usual arguments against bringing a child up in London.

    I've been fighting it because of the annual cost of the train ticket, the cost of moving (stamp duty and estate agent's fees add up to a colossal sum), the hassle of a train commute, lack of reliability of the trains (especially during winter weather), the cost of running another car and that the price of houses within a decent commute of London is not much less than a house actually in London*. I also suspect that, when they are teenagers, my kids might be a bit miffed that they are living in a cultural vacuum** when they could have been cool London kids.

    On the positive side, the journey to and from the station can be done by a 2 mile cycle ride through woods. :) My cape awaits.

    I'm losing the argument - evidenced by me having called a Sussex estate agent this morning to place an offer on a house. I suspect the decision is out of my hands now (though people who know my wife would be sceptical that it ever was in my hands). :roll:

    * okay - the country house does have a double garage <cough>N+1 bike storage and maintenance</cough> and a massive garden with views over the South Downs, but it's barely any bigger inside than our London house.
    ** the owner of one of the houses we looked at used that exact phrase!
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  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221
    I used to live right up in the North of London but moved out to Norwich. I only come back into London one day a week but it's great fun. A few miles to the station, best part of two hours on the train and then cycle across London to the office.

    5 days a week would be a killer, but one day a week is still an adventure.

    One tip, try to find a route where you can use an intercity train rather than a commuter. Less cattle class, booked seats, tea and cake on board.... And they allow you to take a full size bike on during rush hour...
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