bike on virgin trains

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Robert France, Apr 18, 2003.

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  1. im taking my fairly new and much loved bianchi road bike on the train next week. i booked my ticket
    on line at the virgin trains website, and filled in the box asking if id be taking a bike. ive never
    taken one on a train before and am just after a bit of advice. do i have to wait at the end of the
    platform and seek out the guard? or will they find me? also, my ticket has come through and doesnt
    mention a bike, so will they be expecting me? will they treat the bike well or just cram it in the
    smallest available space? what about when i get off, will i have to leg it to the end of the train
    before it leaves the station?

    i could not find any info on the websites help or faq's section, so any advice would be much
    appreciated.
     
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  2. Elyob

    Elyob Guest

    "robert france" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > im taking my fairly new and much loved bianchi road bike on the train next week. i booked my
    > ticket on line at the virgin trains website, and filled
    in
    > the box asking if id be taking a bike. ive never taken one on a train before and am just after a
    > bit of advice. do i have to wait at the end of the platform and seek out the guard? or
    will
    > they find me? also, my ticket has come through and doesnt mention a bike, so will they
    be
    > expecting me? will they treat the bike well or just cram it in the smallest available space? what
    > about when i get off, will i have to leg it to the end of the train before it leaves the station?
    >
    > i could not find any info on the websites help or faq's section, so any advice would be much
    > appreciated.
    >

    Run to the 'cattle' carriage. Find the guard, and don't ask platform attendants, they send you
    off-course.

    Not sure about Virgin specifics though. Great Western had proper bike racks and secured the room as
    well. Total peace of mind. :)
     
  3. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    It depends which type of train it is. The new cross country trains have a cycle hanging area at one
    end of the train (opposite end from first class) there are hooks for two bikes there but you might
    have to clear other stuff out of the way to hang it up. The facility is not very good and you will
    need a cable lock if you want to lock it in place - the lock attachment is on the wheel hook so
    nowhere near the frame. I would advise locking as it is right next to the door and your seat will
    probably be in another part of the train where you can't keep an eye on it. Haven't tried one of the
    new intercity trains yet but the old one used to have a van with fold out Sheffield style stands to
    lock onto. I suspect they are gone on the new ones but there will almost certainly be some cycle
    provision on board..

    I have always received bicycle tickets - one to stay with the bike and one to hang onto as
    presumably some unimplemented security system. I've never been asked to show it though.

    The Virgin bit on bicycles is on their website at
    http://www.virgintrainsfares.co.uk/virgin_value_retailing/vv_help_rqmts.asp# bikes

    Tony

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

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to
    adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George
    Bernard Shaw

    "robert france" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > im taking my fairly new and much loved bianchi road bike on the train next week. i booked my
    > ticket on line at the virgin trains website, and filled
    in
    > the box asking if id be taking a bike. ive never taken one on a train before and am just after a
    > bit of advice. do i have to wait at the end of the platform and seek out the guard? or
    will
    > they find me? also, my ticket has come through and doesnt mention a bike, so will they
    be
    > expecting me? will they treat the bike well or just cram it in the smallest available space? what
    > about when i get off, will i have to leg it to the end of the train before it leaves the station?
    >
    > i could not find any info on the websites help or faq's section, so any advice would be much
    > appreciated.
    >
     
  4. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "robert france" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > im taking my fairly new and much loved bianchi road bike on the train next week. i booked my
    > ticket on line at the virgin trains website, and filled
    in
    > the box asking if id be taking a bike. ive never taken one on a train before and am just after a
    > bit of advice. do i have to wait at the end of the platform and seek out the guard? or
    will
    > they find me? also, my ticket has come through and doesnt mention a bike, so will they
    be
    > expecting me? will they treat the bike well or just cram it in the smallest available space? what
    > about when i get off, will i have to leg it to the end of the train before it leaves the station?
    >
    > i could not find any info on the websites help or faq's section, so any advice would be much
    > appreciated.

    If it's an HST like this:

    http://web.ukonline.co.uk/boulton82/HST/image33.htm

    The two coaches adjacent to the power cars have a guard's compartment. When the train stops at the
    platform, go the rear power car and find the guard's van. It should be open, if so let yourself in
    and put your bike in there in a safe manner.

    It should also be labelled showing your name and your destination. You could also attach a copy of
    the ticket to it. Don't leave it unlabelled or it might get chucked off the train if some jobsworth
    guard decides it's unlabelled goods.

    If the door is locked wave frantically at the station master who will be checking that the train is
    safe to depart. He has a skeleton key that will open the van for you. Depending on the station, you
    only have 3 minutes or so to get on and off, so don't hang about. Good luck.
    --
    Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  5. Sam Salt

    Sam Salt Guest

    No experience of Virgin bit I travelled by GNER last year and to call a spade a spade as a cyclist I
    wasn.t really wanted aboard their train.Yes you have to do all the leg work,no-one will come looking
    for you,the guard forgot I wanted my bike off at Peterborough and was chatting at the other end of a
    very long train with me panicking at the other.There were no racks for bikes, just lay it on the
    floor of the guards van for anyone to walk on.I was given a bicycle ticket for the journey but only
    because I insisted that I have one,as I had every faith some jobsworth would turn me and bike away
    with a "nothing on my sheet about a bike lad".All in all a pretty depressing experience I only hope
    that Virgin is an improvement over the cycle haters at GNER.I would definately insist on a ticket
    for the bike though. Yes I did complain to GNER and the CTC and was informed things would
    change.Excuse me whilst I split my sides laughing. Sorry to be pessimistic but forewarned is
    forearmed.

    Sam Salt

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > It depends which type of train it is. The new cross country trains have a cycle hanging area at
    > one end of the train (opposite end from first class) there are hooks for two bikes there but you
    > might have to clear other
    stuff
    > out of the way to hang it up. The facility is not very good and you will need a cable lock if
    > you want to lock it in place - the lock attachment is on the wheel hook so nowhere near the
    > frame. I would advise locking as it is right next to the door and your seat will probably be in
    > another part
    of
    > the train where you can't keep an eye on it. Haven't tried one of the new intercity trains yet but
    > the old one used to have a van with fold out Sheffield style stands to lock onto. I suspect they
    > are gone on the new ones but there will almost certainly be some cycle provision on board..
    >
    > I have always received bicycle tickets - one to stay with the bike and one to hang onto as
    > presumably some unimplemented security system. I've never been asked to show it though.
    >
    > The Virgin bit on bicycles is on their website at
    >
    http://www.virgintrainsfares.co.uk/virgin_value_retailing/vv_help_rqmts.asp#
    > bikes
    >
    > Tony
    >
    > --
    > http://www.raven-family.com
    >
    > "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to
    > adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George
    > Bernard Shaw
    >
    > "robert france" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > im taking my fairly new and much loved bianchi road bike on the train
    next
    > > week. i booked my ticket on line at the virgin trains website, and
    filled
    > in
    > > the box asking if id be taking a bike. ive never taken one on a train before and am just after a
    > > bit of advice. do i have to wait at the end of the platform and seek out the guard? or
    > will
    > > they find me? also, my ticket has come through and doesnt mention a bike, so will they
    > be
    > > expecting me? will they treat the bike well or just cram it in the smallest available space?
    > > what about when i get off, will i have to leg it to the end of the train before it leaves the
    > > station?
    > >
    > > i could not find any info on the websites help or faq's section, so any advice would be much
    > > appreciated.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >
    >

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    Version: 6.0.471 / Virus Database: 269 - Release Date: 10/04/2003
     
  6. Mads Hilberg

    Mads Hilberg Guest

    > SNIP - bad experience on trains - SNIP

    I've travelled quite a lot on trains in the last few months, taking my recument and trailer with me
    the whole time. I must admit that I've never once had a problem*. I've travelled on GW, Thames
    Trains, WAGN, Virgin, the Heathrow Express and the Standsted train (unsure of operator) from
    Cambridge.

    On many trains I've had to put my bike & trailer in the middle of the doorway as the trains had no
    guards wagon and no special bike or luggage area. 9 times out of 10 there has been no bike ticket
    needed - when there has I've just bought it from the guard (just claim the staff at the station
    didn't know you needed one - the guards clearly dislike the ticketing staff at stations, so this
    goes down just fine!). I've never left a ticket or sign on my bike the times it has been in the
    guards wagon - I've just made the guard aware of it when he came through to check tickets. I've
    never seen a bike rack in a guards wagon though, but then my recumbent has a truly meaty stand and
    has never fallen over (it even survived a nightmare ferry crossing from Esbjerg to Harwich - half
    the passengers were sick, but the bike stayed standing!!). I also never bother lock the bike in the
    guards van - after all hardly anyone ever goes into this part of the train. When the train
    approaches my destination I simply walk to the guards wagon before the train comes to a halt and get
    ready to take my stuff off. I've also had plenty of good help from attendants on the platform,
    including assistance carrying my stuff onto the train.

    Of course travelling by train on the continent can be much more relaxing for us cyclists. For
    example here in Denmark it's just a given that people take bikes on the trains. It costs a little
    extra, but there's plenty of space (often space for 2 to 4 bikes in every wagon!) and lots time to
    get the bike onto the train.

    My only negative experiences are once when travelling from Kings Lynn to Kings Cross finding a
    section of track was replaced by buses and my 'bent wouldn't fit on the bus forcing me to cycle that
    10 mile stretch in gale force head-winds and once experiencing the doors start to close just as I
    had stepped out to grab my trailer (having already put the bike on the train). I put a foot in the
    door and made it though!

    Of course this is all anecdotal evidence, but the point is that you might just as well have a
    pleasant experience as a bad one.

    Best of luck

    Mads Hilberg

    *) with the exception of an old granny who thought it appropriate to deliberately knock my bike over
    and hurl abuse at me despite there being plenty of space for her to get past.
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Mads Hilberg <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> SNIP - bad experience on trains - SNIP
    >
    > I've just made the guard aware of it when he came through to check tickets.

    I always make a point of asking the guard whether he will be on the train at my destination and let
    him know I have a bike to get out the guards van then. They have almost always then been there to
    make sure I get the bike off.

    > (it even survived a nightmare ferry crossing from Esbjerg to Harwich - half the passengers were
    > sick, but the bike stayed standing!!).

    Had one of those on that ferry. Had the whole restaurant buffet to myself that night. (family were
    with everyone else groaning in the bowels of a rolling ship)

    > For example here in Denmark it's just a given that people take bikes on the trains.

    That was where a guard got a bit tetchy with us for blocking her train corridor with two tandems and
    a Bob trailer. There was nowhere else and we had tickets for them (well they didn't have tandem
    tickets so sold us two bike tickets for each one). Still in England they don't even allow tandems on
    many trains. Finland and Switzerland have been best where they have specific tickets for tandems

    >
    > Of course this is all anecdotal evidence, but the point is that you might just as well have a
    > pleasant experience as a bad one.
    >

    Ditto. But the problems and uncertainty are all part of the excitement and fun of touring.

    >
    > *) with the exception of an old granny who thought it appropriate to deliberately knock my bike
    > over and hurl abuse at me despite there being plenty of space for her to get past.

    But that's what grannies do ;-)

    Tony

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

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to
    adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George
    Bernard Shaw
     
  8. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    >
    > Had one of those on that ferry. Had the whole restaurant buffet to myself that night. (family were
    > with everyone else groaning in the bowels of a rolling ship)

    That reminds me of a night on the North Sea in 1978 as I was coming back from Rotterdam to Hull
    after buying loads of Dutch albums. It was a force 10 gale and the bars shut at 1900 as the
    glasses were flying off the tables. I only stopped from being sick by playing space invader games
    all night.
    --
    Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  9. Mads Hilberg

    Mads Hilberg Guest

    > > For example here in Denmark it's just a given that people take bikes on the trains.
    >
    > That was where a guard got a bit tetchy with us for blocking her train corridor with two tandems
    > and a Bob trailer. There was nowhere else and
    we
    > had tickets for them (well they didn't have tandem tickets so sold us two bike tickets for each
    > one). Still in England they don't even allow
    tandems
    > on many trains. Finland and Switzerland have been best where they have specific tickets
    > for tandems

    Some danish trains now have specific spaces for tandems and recumbents. Almost all trains certainly
    have specific bike areas. Blocking the corridor is obviously a safety risk, but if you don't have
    anywhere else to put it what can you do? They shouldn't have sold you the ticket if there wasn't
    space. A word of warning for anyone considering taking bikes on the trains in Sweden - this can be
    impossible on many lines. The best they will do you is to send your bike along a few days later
    packed in a box. There should be no problems in Norway however.

    > Ditto. But the problems and uncertainty are all part of the excitement
    and
    > fun of touring.

    Excitement, maybe. Fun, hmm.

    Mads
     
  10. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

    On Fri, 18 Apr 2003 14:11:10 +0200, "Mads Hilberg" <[email protected]> wrote:

    [SNIP]

    >When the train approaches my destination I simply walk to the guards wagon before the train comes
    >to a halt and get ready to take my stuff off.
    >

    To add a little: I have not taken a bike on a train too often, but when I do, I always pop along to
    the guard's van (luggage area?) whenever the train arrives at a station. Not just my own
    destination: any station.

    Better safe than stranded.

    In my few experiences, most guards are pretty lenient about letting bikes on trains. However, I'd
    guess their demeanour could well change if the train was busy.

    James

    --
    "Watch the kite, not where you're going!"
     
  11. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "robert france" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]... <snip> as most of this is covered...if you
    have problems getting someone to the guards van to open up so that you can put the bike on (if it's
    that kind of train, old fashioned), merely open the next carriages passenger doors until someone
    arrives, o problem ;-)
    > also, my ticket has come through and doesnt mention a bike, so will they
    be
    > expecting me?
    <snip> If you ticked the box on the on-line booking form, it should state on the confirmation that
    you received that the bike is booked on. I had exactly the same issue, booked two diferent journeys
    at the same time, one ticket came through acknowledging bike also booked, the other made no mention
    of the bike. I took the confirmation along as proof that as far as I was concerned, I'd booked the
    bike, paid for it and had it acknowledged. As it happened, no-one asked and that one was on a very
    busy Saturday, on a 'hang'em high' in a carriage train, rather than in a guards van. Take a spare
    bungy cord with you because if you end up with a guards van if you are a little cheeky, you can
    sometimes get away with bungying <s?> your bike to something (caged area / side frame etcetc.) Good
    luck, have fun, enjoy, Dave.
     
  12. .
    >
    >In my few experiences, most guards are pretty lenient about letting bikes on trains. However, I'd
    >guess their demeanour could well change if the train was busy.
    >
    >James

    Last time on Virgin, I got a load of unprovoked abuse, when I tried to retrieve my bike from the
    luggage van. Ok, as usual the train was eons late, but the guard was a swine... Moaned on about the
    need for a reservation which was very irritating considering that I had just paid extra for one.

    The attitude of the staff at the departure station was quite the opposite, a credit to their
    profession.

    Richard Webb
     
  13. Shane Badham

    Shane Badham Guest

    Richard J Webb <[email protected]> wrote:

    > .
    > >
    > >In my few experiences, most guards are pretty lenient about letting bikes on trains. However, I'd
    > >guess their demeanour could well change if the train was busy.
    > >
    > >James
    >
    > Last time on Virgin, I got a load of unprovoked abuse, when I tried to retrieve my bike from
    > the luggage van. Ok, as usual the train was eons late, but the guard was a swine... Moaned on
    > about the need for a reservation which was very irritating considering that I had just paid
    > extra for one.
    >
    > The attitude of the staff at the departure station was quite the opposite, a credit to their
    > profession.
    >
    > Richard Webb

    I recently used South West Trains from Yeovil Jcn to Honiton. They have re-enforced their booking
    policies since the Easter hols rush to the country. However the guy at Yeovil booked me on at short
    notice (Making sure that I knew that computer booking was not available at all their stations!).

    No extra cost, and he helped me find which carriage had the empty cycle bay - usefull as there are
    only two bays, one at rear of first carriage and one at rear of 4th carriage. The bays are narrow
    enough to support the cycle should it try to fall over.

    --
    Regards, Shane. "A closed mouth gathers no feet." Web site: http://www.wonk.demon.co.uk/
     
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