East Coast train: no cycle space available

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Wendel, 22 Apr 2010.

  1. Wendel

    Wendel New Member

    Hello folks,

    I'm new here... :smile:
    Next month I'll go cycling in Scotland, and I booked train tickets from Newcastle to Glasgow to take 2 bikes with us. Unfortunately there was no cycle space available to be reserved. :sad:
    Can I expect to take the bikes though? Which experience did you make? Does train staff usually tolerate that...?

    Thanks & kind regards from Germany
  2. SavageHoutkop

    SavageHoutkop Über Member

    I wouldn't chance it. Not tried that line myself though.
    Call them and see if there are any spaces.

    Tel: 08457 225 225
    London King’s Cross - Eastern
    Counties - Yorkshire - North East
    England – Scotland
    Free of charge. Reservations
    compulsory. Five cycle spaces per train.
    Tandems can be conveyed subject to
    length restrictions. Platform restrictions
    apply at some stations. See website for
    full details.
  3. GrahamG

    GrahamG Veteran

    It depends on the time of day, if your ticket is for a specific train then it might be a gamble but otherwise you might be OK. However, if you have more flexible (expensive!) tickets then you can just wait for the next train and hope there's space. Whilst the restrictions shown on the train companies' websites are sometimes ignored or just not widely followed, there are always some staff who follow them to the letter - others have empathy and common sense but you just don't know until you're there. I'm sure that foreign visitors would get better treatment though!
  4. OP

    Wendel New Member

    Thanks for the replies.
    Yes the ticket is for a specific train, a Friday at high noon.
    The problem is that we need to catch a connecting train and finally a ferry... :smile:
    Well I think we'll try.
    I'm just thinking of buying another ticket with cycle space reservations for a later service with which we would still catch the ferry, just to go sure. In that case the 1st ticket would be wasted. ;)
  5. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Veteran

    Market Rasen
    Annoying isn't it?
    How do they expect us to use the trains if this is how we are treated.
    I am a great believer in making the people responsible for the service use it. That way they can experience the frustrations first hand.
    How about making the transport minister use public transport for all journeys. I bet the standard of service would improve, and the problems solved in very short order. You could extend this for all the ministers - education minister forced to use state schools, health minister forced to use the NHS.
    Could prove very interesting!
  6. killiekosmos

    killiekosmos Über Member


    Check out the scenic/slow route. There are trains which run Newcastle-Carlisle - Dumfries - Kilmarnock - Glasgow. These are operated by Scotrail and are Sprinters. Sprinters all have cycle racks for around 10 bikes.

    Only little word of advice - check for a through train. I once got caught out with a change at Carlisle from Newcastle and the local train did not have much bike space.
  7. toroddf

    toroddf Guest

    If you are going for the Arran ferry, please note you can also take the Newcastle to Stranraer train. You just jump off at Ayr and take the train to Kilwinning and then either cycle to Ardrossan or take the train there.
  8. andym

    andym Über Member

    Erm, maybe blame the other cyclists who booked the spaces first?
  9. mike e

    mike e Guest


    I use East Coast nearly every month to travel to London with my bike and I get asked everytime for a bike reservation. I very much doubt they will allow you to travel unless your bike is reserved. You would be taking a massive gamble on the day to try and "blag it". It would very much depend on the mood and sympathetic nature of the staff on the day.

    Sorry for been honest, good luck.

  10. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    I have taken a bike on East Coast a good few times.
    While I've always been asked if I have a reservation, I've never had anyone ask to see it...
  11. sleekitcollie

    sleekitcollie Well-Known Member

    I've travelled on trains with bike a few times and usually manage to book in advance . But going up from inverkeithing to Kingussie in June and phoned to book space and tickets yesterday . Managed to book Perth to Kingussie and the return nxt day but the 1st train from inverkeithin to Perth Is non bookable so I'm going to have to take a chance . Wishing u all the best in ur train journey and the Scottish tour enjoy ( and remember ur "Avon - skin so soft " for the midges :becool:
  12. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    You really be at the mercy of the train manager/ticket inspector. Personally I wouldn't count on being allowed to get on the train without reservations.

    Problems might arise if someone with a legitimate booking attempts to get on at a later station - you might find yourself getting evicted.

    I faced the unpleasant prospect of missing a train because some unbooked cyclists had taken the spaces on a train leaving no room for me. To his credit, the train manager held his ground against the protestations of the squatters and refused to allow the train to go on until they got off.

    I also had the misfortune of missing a connection in Scotland where bike reservations on some services are strictly enforced. I ended up with a valid bike reservation and an invalid ticket - the train manager only wanted to see the cycle reservation.....

    My advice would be to attempt to book a service with bike reservations - you don't want to have your tour ruined by getting stranded and losing a day or so.
  13. theloafer

    theloafer Guru

    newton aycliffe
  14. Brains

    Brains Guru

    It depends on the individual train conductor.

    Last year we managed to get 12 bikes onto a sevice from Norfolk to London, no reservations and the maximum capacity of the train was 2 bikes

    But another day and another man it would be a case of "more than my jobsworth"
  15. Mad Doug Biker

    Mad Doug Biker Bikeoholics Anonymous

    Craggy Island
    If you are traveling from Newcastle to Glasgow you should be fine.

    I'll let you into a little secret.
    There is a vehicle called a DVT, or a Driving Van Trailer at one end of the Electric trains, Intercity 225 or the class 91 hauled/propelled trains.

    If you are travelling North, then the DVT will almost always be at the very back (London End) past the First Class section. Walk down and ask to put your bikes in there. It's simply an EMPTY coach!!

    I always dump my heavy luggage in there when I travel up from London so I don't have to bother about it (you don't have to be a first class passenger either). You only have to ask and they should be willing to do it for you as most people do not even know the space exists so the humble DVT's capacity tends to be grossly underused.
    It is the empty bit between where the train guard sits and where the Driver's cab is, so it's secure, and as I say, most people do not even know it's there, partly because it looks the same as the loco at the other end, except that it's not a loco, it's a driving trailer. It's past the First class section too, so you don't get much riff raff in that bit of the train.

    Having said that, I'm not sure if it has cycle racks, so you might have to leave them on the floor, I'm not sure as I have only ever used them for luggage (I leave my bags under the metal table usually). I think there are things for securing items though. It might be useful to try and enquire about that, but certainly, the trains DO have the space, so I'd advise you seriously to ask about it.

    The DVTs are the ones with the big sliding side door.

    I don't know what circumstances would prohibit it's use as I have never encountered any problems with it before (other than once when I was going from London to Glasgow and they had brought my luggage out at about Carstairs without me knowing, so it was sitting there outside the guard's van in the vestibule of the first class coach instead!).

    No, you don't have to hire a car, just ask for the DVT.

    You will not get a DVT north of Edinburgh though as the Inverness and Aberdeen routes are worked by HSTs, or Intercity 125s to the layman.
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