Bicycles and trains/coaches?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Dave Moore, May 17, 2003.

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  1. Dave Moore

    Dave Moore Guest

    Hi All, I'm thinking about doing some touring in west Scotland. However, given my current location
    is Kent, I'm wondering how the hell to get myself and the bike and all the kit (I'll be camping) up
    there. The obviously route is via numerous trains journeys including the underground. However, given
    the restrictions there are on taking bikes on trains I don't know whether this is practical. If I
    took the bike to bits and put it some sort of bag, then I guess I could travel at will on trains and
    coaches with it, but I suspect the combined weight of my kit AND the bike might be too much to
    carry!!. Any ideas?.

    Or maybe I should just give up on the public transport system and just drive up there and try to
    find some long term parking!!. Or alternatively give up the bike and go backpacking instead!.

    Ta, Dave
     
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  2. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], Dave Moore <[email protected]> typed:
    > Hi All, I'm thinking about doing some touring in west Scotland. However, given my current location
    > is Kent, I'm wondering how the hell to get myself and the bike and all the kit (I'll be camping)
    > up there. The obviously route is via numerous trains journeys including the underground. However,
    > given the restrictions there are on taking bikes on trains I don't know whether this is practical.
    > If I took the bike to bits and put it some sort of bag, then I guess I could travel at will on
    > trains and coaches with it, but I suspect the combined weight of my kit AND the bike might be too
    > much to carry!!. Any ideas?.
    >
    > Or maybe I should just give up on the public transport system and just drive up there and try to
    > find some long term parking!!. Or alternatively give up the bike and go backpacking instead!.
    >

    Train from Kent into London outside rushour. Cycle across London to Euston and catch the train up to
    Scotland. Keep the bike loaded for touring and just roll it on and off the trains.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  3. John Hearns

    John Hearns Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 22:48:32 +0100, Dave Moore wrote:

    > Hi All, I'm thinking about doing some touring in west Scotland. However, given my current location
    > is Kent, I'm wondering how the hell to get myself and the bike and all the kit (I'll be camping)
    > up there. The obviously route is

    My advice would be to take the train feom Kent to London Bridge. You can wheel the bike along the
    platform to the end, then down and up the ramps to the Thameslink platform. Thameslink to Kings
    Cross. I'm not certain about there - I'd guess some stairs are involved. Then take the GNER service
    from Kings Cross to Glasgow Central. Takes the same time as the West Coast route really, and is a
    good journey.

    Then take the electric train from Central to Ardrossan. Cross on the ferry to Arran and you are on
    your way. Several youth hostels on Arran. Buy and Island Rover ticket and you can travel on Cal
    Mac ferries.

    Or visit Sandy in Millport.

    If you are set on staying on the mainland, ride the short distance to Glasgow Queen Street and
    take the West Highland line to your chosen spot. On even the low level from Central and change
    at Dalmuir.

    But I'd advise the route down to Arran and beyond.

    Oh, and don't camp in the midge season. You'll regret it... Try youth hostels - you'll get a bike
    storage shed, and will meet people. If you get as far as Skye, go across to the Isle of Raasay.
    There's a lovely hostel there - basic, but such a wonderful place.
     
  4. John B

    John B Guest

    Dave Moore wrote:

    > Hi All, I'm thinking about doing some touring in west Scotland. However, given my current location
    > is Kent, I'm wondering how the hell to get myself and the bike and all the kit (I'll be camping)
    > up there.

    Evening train to London and cycle to Euston (travelling against the rush) Take the Scotrail
    Caledonian sleeper and wake up next day in Fort William.

    We used this service last year after our E2E, although from Inverness to London. Although a bit
    pricey, it worked well.

    > However, given the restrictions there are on taking bikes on trains I don't know whether this is
    > practical.

    There is plenty of info on www.Scotrail.co.uk It includes a section on taking bikes.

    >
    > Or maybe I should just give up on the public transport system and just drive up there and try to
    > find some long term parking!!.

    NO NO NO NO NO

    > Or alternatively give up the bike and go backpacking instead!.

    Wash that mouth out.

    Enjoy your cycling holiday.

    John B
     
  5. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Sat, 17 May 2003 22:48:32 +0100 someone who may be "Dave Moore"
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    > I'm thinking about doing some touring in west Scotland. However, given my current location is
    > Kent, I'm wondering how the hell to get myself and the bike and all the kit (I'll be camping)
    > up there. The obviously route is via numerous trains journeys including the underground.

    I have little idea about trains from Kent, but when you get to London the easiest thing to do
    is cycle to Kings Cross or Euston. Most of the London terminals take less than 20 minutes to
    cycle between.

    You don't say which part of west Scotland. If going to the Oban/Fort William area then there are
    trains from Euston and Kings Cross to Glasgow Central, which have large luggage vans, though you
    will need to book a space. These are easy to get a fully laden bike in and out of.
    www.nationalrail.co.uk is your starting point for journey planning.

    In Glasgow you will need to cycle to Queen Street Station, though you may prefer to push the bike
    due to some mad "pedestrianisation" that took no real account of cycling. Here there are trains to
    Oban and Fort William/Mallaig. These also need a space to be booked, which is much more congested
    and you will probably need to take most of the luggage off.

    Alternatively you could travel directly to Fort William on the sleeper, saving a day. This takes
    bikes all the way AFAIR, but does need to be booked. They have been running special offers on the
    sleeper train, which may help. http://www.scotrail.co.uk. Note that when refurbishing coaches for
    the sleeper the railways, in their infinite wisdom, removed the large doors from the vans, so that
    you will probably need to take the luggage off to get the bike in. However, boarding sleepers at the
    terminal is a leisurely affair that you can do in the hour or so before departure time. There is
    space in sleeper cabins to get camping kit, though it needs to be stowed neatly (cyclists are
    generally good at this).

    If you are going further north west then the place to get to is Inverness. This can be done by
    direct day trains from Kings Cross (a handful of direct trains, possibly only one), or on the
    sleeper (another portion of the one that goes to Fort William). It is also possible to change to an
    Inverness train at Edinburgh Waverley, but with a laden bike it's easier to get a direct train, not
    the least because it's another link to go wrong.

    From Inverness you can either cycle directly, or catch trains to Kyle of Lochalsh or Thurso. These
    are similar to the Oban trains, with the same booking system and luggage space.

    If you are going to the south west then you can either go to Glasgow and catch a train to the area
    (same booking, two routes to Stranraer or Carlisle via Dumfries), or go to Carlisle and change there
    for the train to Glasgow via Dumfries.

    So the minimum is two train trips (one from Kent to London and the second the sleeper or direct day
    train to Inverness). Hardly difficult in my view, driving to Scotland is certainly more complicated.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  6. Bigman

    Bigman New Member

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  7. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On 19 May 2003 13:31:33 +0950 someone who may be Bigman <[email protected]>
    wrote this:-

    >Not necessarily the most practical route, but the best value is the Virgin service London-Edinburgh
    >if you book at least 14 days in advance.

    Are there any direct London - Edinburgh trains run by Virgin Trains? There was one from Waverley to
    Paddington some years ago. If not that's a change somewhere.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  8. W K

    W K Guest

    "David Hansen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 19 May 2003 13:31:33 +0950 someone who may be Bigman <[email protected]>
    > wrote this:-
    >
    > >Not necessarily the most practical route, but the best value is the Virgin service
    > >London-Edinburgh if you book at least 14 days in advance.
    >
    > Are there any direct London - Edinburgh trains run by Virgin Trains? There was one from Waverley
    > to Paddington some years ago. If not that's a change somewhere.

    They certainly do to Glasgow, which would seem a more logical choice for touring the west
    of scotland.
     
  9. David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Are there any direct London - Edinburgh trains run by Virgin Trains? There was one from Waverley
    > to Paddington some years ago.

    Not sure at the moment. As part of the grander Branson plan, electric tilting trains are promised
    between Euston and Waverley some time in the future (initially, the extremities of the Pendolino
    network will be Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Wolverhampton), once the first lot of upgrade
    work on the West Coast route (giving 125mph max speed) is out of the way. For the time being, you'll
    have to change to an Edinburgh-bound Voyager service at an appropriate station anywhere between
    Stafford and Carlisle.

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
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