Taking a bike on Southwest trains

Ben6899
Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
edited April 2013 in Commuting chat
Has anyone done this or does anyone do this regularly?

On 31st May, we're catching the train to Brockenhurst for a week's holiday in the New Forest with family. I want to take my bike. Reading the Southwest Trains website, it seems like a very fuss-free deal - as long as I don't travel in the peak hours, I can rock up without booking a space and simply take my bike into one of the passenger coaches.

Is this the reality? It all seems too good to be true!
Ben

Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/

Comments

  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    I've done this a couple of times, and it does seem to work that way. Normally end up standing with the bikes, and not sure what happens when it gets crowded, but so far it's been hassle free.

    Watch out for rail replacement bus services though. Not sure how far in advance these are announced, but I should imagine they're not particularly bike-friendly...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Thanks mate.

    I don't mind standing with the bike and I plan to catch a train at about 11am on a Friday - booking an open return to give me some flexibility to find a quiet service.

    Rail replacement - yes, we rode to Colchester for the Cycle-In Film Festival last October and caught the train back to London... Rail replacement between Witham and Shenfield and we had to use our powers of persuasion to let them put our bikes in the coach hold.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Thanks mate.

    I don't mind standing with the bike and I plan to catch a train at about 11am on a Friday - booking an open return to give me some flexibility to find a quiet service.

    Rail replacement - yes, we rode to Colchester for the Cycle-In Film Festival last October and caught the train back to London... Rail replacement between Witham and Shenfield and we had to use our powers of persuasion to let them put our bikes in the coach hold.
    At 11am on a Friday I reckon you'll be fine. Many of the trains have specific bike storage slots (with a corresponding sign on the outside of the carriage). Find one of these and you'll be able to sit in comfort whilst keeping an eye on your bike.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • jonginge
    jonginge Posts: 5,945
    TGOTB wrote:
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Thanks mate.

    I don't mind standing with the bike and I plan to catch a train at about 11am on a Friday - booking an open return to give me some flexibility to find a quiet service.

    Rail replacement - yes, we rode to Colchester for the Cycle-In Film Festival last October and caught the train back to London... Rail replacement between Witham and Shenfield and we had to use our powers of persuasion to let them put our bikes in the coach hold.
    At 11am on a Friday I reckon you'll be fine. Many of the trains have specific bike storage slots (with a corresponding sign on the outside of the carriage). Find one of these and you'll be able to sit in comfort whilst keeping an eye on your bike.
    I agree. SWT seem to be ramping up their support for cycling: stations are getting secure storage areas; trains are getting those slots TGOTB mentioned. Out of peak on a non-bank holiday friday you should be fine.
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Thanks for the replies, chaps.

    It'll be nice to have a good, secure spot because hopefully it will be my new bike which makes the trip!
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/
  • Done it loads of times without any problems. If it is your pride and joy stay near it because other people with bikes may end up wedging against yours, but it's pretty straightforward.
    Ecrasez l’infame
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Done it loads of times without any problems. If it is your pride and joy stay near it because other people with bikes may end up wedging against yours, but it's pretty straightforward.

    Cheers.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/
  • cyclingprop
    cyclingprop Posts: 2,426
    Likewise on a different SWT route - you should be better off on the Brockenhurst line though as the carriages are pretty spacious.

    Good advice on the buses; they are not at all helpful when you turn up witha bike
    What do you mean you think 64cm is a big frame?
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    Better than me from Edinburgh to Peterborough then! As luck would have it, a month in advance, there was one space left on the train. I'd been planning to travel the following day and there was nothing (only 3 bike spaces per entire train).

    If I can hijack this thread - anybody know what it's like Cambridge (cycle capital of the UK) to London?
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • spdpug98
    spdpug98 Posts: 112
    I commute into London everyday on that route from Southampton, there are usually 4 coaches each with 3 bike spaces in each (10 coach train). At peak times they are all totally full, but after 10am you should be absolutely fine
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    It depends.

    I get the train to Brock a few times a year as I live near there.

    If its super busy, you can squeeze on with your bike (I was standing in a corner with my bike upright before I put mine behind the buffet counter, as the buffet dude kindly let me). It also means the guard can't do sweet FA about it as he can't patrol the train! (Easter Saturday, 11am).
    Some, frankly, don't really mind so will allow whatever goes so that everyone can travel (most times)

    You may get a jobsworth who, on an moderately full train will order cyclists off if the cycle racks are overflowing as it's deemed unsafe. (Easter Monday, 5pm)

    If you are getting on at London, get on at the front, as there will be fewer people (but sometimes the guard is there). Sometimes the buffet car is a good place to go as there is more standing space.