Booking bikes on trains via Virgin East Coast website no longer possible?

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Bodhbh, 13 Sep 2017.

  1. Bodhbh

    Bodhbh Veteran

    As per title. Many of you will know this was generally the most convenient way of booking a bike on a train, and saved you having to phone up before booking a ticket to check availability or afterwards and finding out there was none.

    Anyhow I had a go at doing it just now and seems website has been revamped and the facility removed. I've complained directly and awaiting their response, but it is possible I've missed something in the redesign. Shame...glad I've got a folder....although a chunky one that's liable to block up the vesibule. Price of progress.
  2. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    @jefmcg did this recently
    jefmcg likes this.
  3. OP

    Bodhbh Veteran

    This subject or booked a bike via Virgin website?
  4. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Booked a bike on east coast. I think at a station though
    Bodhbh likes this.
  5. TinyMyNewt

    TinyMyNewt An execrable pun

    South coast, UK
    Use the Hull Trains website.
    Flying Dodo, Bodhbh and User1252 like this.
  6. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Veteran

    Booking at a mainline station is easy enough. They still have the freind,y guards van to put your bike in.
  7. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    Not so handy if you live many miles from the station and you don't want to risk finding all the bike spaces taken when you get there!

    I took TMN's advice and used Hull Trains to book tickets and make bike reservations for my most recent rail journeys with my bike. No problems at all ...
    Bodhbh likes this.
  8. I tend to use the Trans-Pennine site if I'm booking a journey that requires a bike space, because they still do free first class postage of tickets.
  9. TinyMyNewt

    TinyMyNewt An execrable pun

    South coast, UK
    I thought all the providers did that? Not that I've checked them all, but Southern certainly do.
  10. Regulator

    Regulator Scourge of stale, pale, male snowflakes.

    You don't have to go to s mainline station. Angela, at our local little station (only manned in the morning), will do it for you. She will also split tickets to save you money.
  11. You're absolutely right - I've just done a trial booking and there is no longer any way to book a bike through it, just some weasel words in the FAQ about calling their customer centre or going to a station. The b*stards.

    I'm struggling to think why, in redesigning a system, the company would have given a spec for it to do less than the old one, particularly when the old one managed this facility perfectly well so we know that it is doable. I wonder if Virgin East Coast have switched the underlying booking system to the same one they use for the West Coast franchise, which has no bike booking facility. I believe from previous reading around that there are at least two different main booking systems, and I'm guessing that only one of them bothers with bikes.
  12. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Barmy in Barming
    Just more discouragement of those that cycle and wish to travel by train.
  13. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    Bodhbh likes this.
  14. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    I may post later when more time and at the risk of boring folks with my many god awful experiences of booking trains on virgin west coast and now east coast.

    But just a quick point - when these two numpty virgin companies have special seat sales those tickets are only available by booking online on their own web pages. So there is not the option of booking you and the bike in one go on one of those alternative web pages.

    On my latest awful experience with east coast I couldn't even book the ticket at kings cross station, a "home" station for them when talking to a booking clerk wearing an east coast trains badge/uniform. I did eventually get a ticket for me and the bike peterborough to london for £5.80 but hell I earned it.

    The staff on the trains are usually great.

    The management and the web team should be tied to the tracks.
    Last edited: 14 Sep 2017
    NorthernDave and jefmcg like this.
  15. OK.

    My recent experience, thanks to a free ticket from @theclaud , I needed a bike reservation to get back home. Virgin EC website didn't seem to offer any online option I could find, and referred me to their phone line. As they offered free wifi if you book your tickets via their website, I took that option. It took a couple of calls to get into the right phone queue, as cycle reservation wasn't in the description of any of the menu choices.

    More, unasked for, detail:
    It was a reasonably long call, with a few minutes on hold while they made the reservation. Despite asking me for an email address, I later found out they never email the bike reservations. Anyway, code didn't work in the machine at the my local station (SWT), so I called virgin again to confirm I had the right code and the right reservation. I did, and they gave me a second code to give to the ticket office at the station. The ticket seller spent several minutes fighting with software and eventually was able to print me out not my actual reservation, but a piece of paper saying I had one. Later I went to the machines at Edinburgh station, assuming they would print the tickets, but I got 3 different temporary errors from 3 different machines. Finally I joined a queue to speak face to face to a ECV person. It only took him a couple of minutes finally print out my reservation.

    TL;DR: It took about 2 hours actively making the bicycle reservation, not including travel time to 2 different stations.
    Blue Hills and Bodhbh like this.
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