CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

2 reservations for tandems?

(41 posts)

No tags yet.


  1. SRD
    Moderator

    Guard on East coast service said (grumpily), 'Do you have 2 reservations? usually tandems have 2 reservations'. Anyone heard of this before?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. Darkerside
    Member

    Googling reveals nothing on their main cycle FAQ page, but on the separate 'can I take my cycle with me?' FAQ it does say tandems must have two reservations. Hardly clear, and makes no difference anyway as their cycle racks are diagonal...

    EC are still my preferred toc for cycles, mind.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

    "makes no difference anyway as their cycle racks are diagonal"

    Some are vertical hangers.

    I used to think that it was 125 (diesel) with 'normal' (large) luggage vans, but I 'think' I've been on one with the small (vertical hanging) ones.

    Generally the trains have 1st Class at the London end with 225s (electric) having the van at that end and 125s at other (long walk at King's Cross!)

    BUT I don't think East Coast web site will let you book more bike spaces than seats/passengers.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. Darkerside
    Member

    I was pondering that even as I wrote it. I was on diesel and electric over the weekend and both had the luggage van. However, I also remember a train with hangers in a fairly large alcove at the very end, rather than in the middle like Virgin/XC. Might have been one of Virgin's non-pendelinos? I'm not quite enough of a trainspotter to be much use here...!

    I'm assuming tandems don't fit vertically anyway?

    Interestingly EC's web site says that trailers are ok, which is good to know.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. kaputnik
    Moderator

    The Class 43 locoos (IC125) were designed with large guards compartments at each end. The youngest are now 30 years old, the oldest are beginning to approach 40. They've been through a number of configurations since privatisation and currently most of those in the EC fleet have the hangers in the end of Coach B, the quiet coach, accessible by a regular slam door, with a small extra leaf that seems permanently bolted shut. The compartments at either end of the trainset at the back of the locos seem partially filled with equipment but otherwise unused. EC have one ex-East Midlands trainset that has a different interior config, but I'm not sure what it's bike racks are like.

    The Class 91s (IC225) have only ever done the east coast service and only ever been in the GNER / NXEC / EC fleet since privatisation, so the fleet is still standard. They have 5 sheffield-stand type racks in the driving trailer at the opposite end from the loco. If you book the quiet coach (B) it means a long walk/run down the platform from seat to bike! There is LOADS of unused room in the trailer, however space in the the IC125 is very limited, you would struggle to get a tandem in. I have seen trains coming into Edinburgh from the north with far more bikes than regulation in the compartment, but I guess that was thanks to a friendly guard.

    The EC website only lets you book 1 cycle reservation per seat reservation. You would need to have 2 seat reservations to book 2 cycle reservations, so you would struggle if you were soloing on the tandem.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. crowriver
    Member

    Funnily enough I looked into this recently as I was considering purchasing a 2nd hand childback tandem from Cumbria and bringing it back on the train.

    Tandem club web site has information on travelling by train. However the site is the best resource and up to date: http://deaves47.users.btopenworld.com/bikes/cyclingbytrain.htm

    From personal experience last summer, the East Coast 225s have the Sheffield stand type racks: no problem for a tandem. 125s have hanging racks. meaning possibly the removal of front wheel and hanging tandem from rear wheel.

    Bizarrely tandems do require two bike reservations where they are carried at all: Scotrail has a blanket ban :-( Virgin trains carry tandems, but again train suitability is an issue: Pendolinos apparently okay, but as I have noticed when traveling with the wee folder Voyagers have a small bike space, vertical hangers and not terribly wide door to access: an issue with a long bike.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. kaputnik
    Moderator

    Voyagers have an issue in being thoroughly rubbishly designed, both inside and out. Virgin ordered a lot of them and they've caused trouble ever since. Too small, too short, toilet smells have never been cured, windows too small and don't align to seating, noisy, too much vibrations come through the underfloor diesel engines etc. etc. Oh yes and did I mention they are butt ugly? The old-fangled 125/225 sets of separate locos and carriages are a far more pleasant place to spend 4 or 5 hours of your time.

    The seats in the 125's Mark 3 coaches could do with improvement though, those of the 225's Mark 4s are far more comfortable.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. LaidBack
    Member

    Helios fits single space - EC un-official policy is not to encourage bikes of any sort. Quite successful as vans have rarely more than a bike in them.
    Two spaces should be booked on EC though just to show willing.
    One on Scotrail - tandems banned but they did think about allowing to East Lothian.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. kaputnik
    Moderator

    I think franchises realise that if they encourage bikes (like Northern Rail) that means they get more bikes and then they have to do complicated and expensive stuff like meet the demand. Thanks to the franchise system, long term thinking like this is not encouraged.

    I wouldn't mind paying a fiver extra on my ticket to reserve bike space if it meant a wagon with 20 bike spaces on the train, with decent racks, well secured (CCTV, locked from public access) and some space for your luggage.

    Pipe, meet dreams.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. Darkerside
    Member

    Odd. I've always found EC pretty supportive of bikes so long as they're properly booked. I'm not sure if Edinburgh suffers unduly because it's a busy stop with not much time available, whereas I generally board at Glasgow, Kings Cross (both termini) or Durham (fairly quiet).

    I would object to paying a fiver more, especially when I can get first class Glasgow to Durham for under £15...

    Have Northern Rail got any stock under 300 years old? They run the Chester/Piccadilly line I used as a child with something in bright yellow that often failed because the doors wouldn't shut. Also the only line I know of with request stops, which I'd always assumed was a normal thing until advised it was distinctly weird...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. crowriver
    Member

    EC un-official policy is not to encourage bikes of any sort.

    Yes, even when they are trying to be helpful. Like sending me to the wrong end of the platform in an intermediate station, then at the last minute telling me it's the other end: cue me running with panniers, trailer, two bikes several hundred yards past a by now busy crowd of passengers waiting on the platform.

    Also you have to reserve your space well in advance: too short notice and the train crew/guards profess ignorance and treat you like an irritant to be hustled away from the train, not allowed to board. Same day or even previous day reservations not advisable: too risky.

    When it works, it works quite well and people are helpful but it can still be a bit stressful.

    One on Scotrail - tandems banned but they did think about allowing to East Lothian.

    That makes sense as the bike bay is long and is just tip up seats with a bit of velcro. Got the tagalong attached to bike on Scotrail services a few times: longer than a real tandem! Service to Glasgow via Bathgate also has good space usually.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. fimm
    Member

    I have to say that the platform staff at Durham were very helpful when we arrived with 2 conventional bikes that had been booked on well in advance - the one man informed the train crew "there's two bikes to go on, they have reservations" no problems. Getting off at Edinbrugh could have been an issue as we were in coach B at the other end of the train and were still there when the "we are now approaching Edinburgh" announcement came on and everyone stood up... fortunately the train was terminating at Edinburgh and we just went down the platform but another time I would make sure I started going down the train well before we got to Edinburgh.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. crowriver
    Member

    The advice I received from train staff was to be up and ready and in the coach adjacent to the guard's van well before the train arrived at the station. Otherwise you bike might get left on the train with you on the platform, or you can hold up everyone else...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. SRD
    Moderator

    @fimm Durham staff always fab. Mr SRD commuted for 2 years always by bike, they were always great. Ditto when we visited as family (also by bike). Best station staff, even under stress.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. gembo
    Member

    I went down recently and it was vertical hangers both times with three hangers, fine on way down, two bikes and fine-ish on way back as four bikes. last time on GNER there were horizontal spaces for at least twelve bikes - luxury

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. SRD
    Moderator

    One the way back with a friendlier/helpful guard I asked about the two reservations thing. He said yes in theory you need two, but then agreed that you can't reserve them online. Didn't seem fussed. Explained that there is a yellow line around the back of the racks, and as long as the bikes clear that it is fine - Helios just on the line. Can see that a 'normal' tandem would go over. But not sure how having 2 reservations would make any difference. This was on the 'usual' train with three Sheffields on one side and two on the other. (which according to K'niks post above makes it a Class 91s (IC225))

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. kaputnik
    Moderator

    Also the only line I know of with request stops

    There's a few on some of the West Coast / Far North lines. Corrour of Trainspotting fame jumps to mind.

    Have Northern Rail got any stock under 300 years old?

    In defence of older stock, some of it is much better for cycle provision than its newer siblings!

    Because the trains never turn around, you can tell which end the bike compartment will be at so long as you know what sort of train is coming. In Edinburgh, electric is always at the east end and diesel at the west end of Platform. Just find the platform sign for "wait here for coach B" and you'll be closest to the bike wagon. At Kings Cross, bikes at south end on electric and north end on diesel.

    Or to put it another way, heading up (to London) the bikes are at the back of the train on diesel and front on electric. And vice versa.

    I had a narrow escape recently when the ticket I had bought online and an 99.9% sure I made seat and bike reservation with did not print out at the station with any reservations. I certainly had reservations heading north on the return trip. Explained to platform staff who said speak to guard, friendly guy on platform warmed the very surly guard up for me, who just shrugged his shoulders and said I'd have to wait and see what was in the compartment and what the reservations were like when train arrived. Fortunately for me there was space and no reservations getting on further down the line, so with a sigh and a shrug he let me on. I said thanks and smiled anyway, because I guess he gets that sort of thing all the time and thought I was pulling a fast one.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. SRD
    Moderator

    It's very annoying that East coast will no longer post tickets in normal post. You have to either collect in station or pay for courier/spec delivery (£5).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. Darkerside
    Member

    Really? I was intrigued whether anyone ever used that service as the pick up in station option works so well (and leaves me with no opportunity to lose the tickets beforehand).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. SRD
    Moderator

    I like to know that I have my tickets and bike reservations in hand when I leave the house. Hate having to remember which card I used to buy them and find printout with silly code on it, especially if rushing for a train.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  21. steveo
    Member

    The amount of "lost" tickets we had to deal with at Trainline while I was there was ridiculous. I can see why they do it tbh, due to the way the system is set up if a ticket goes missing the issuing agency has to purchase new tickets on behalf of the customer and if/when the original ones turned up the refund was offset against the new ones.

    When I worked at Trainline it was part of VT so if the customer bought a Virgin ticket on a Virgin train and was travelling from a Virgin station we could reissue the cheap Virgin ticket. If not we had to pay for a "walk on" ticket which at the most extreme could be a couple of hundred pounds more than the customer paid and we could be expect to be reimbursed.

    Until train tickets can be modernised they are valuable bits of paper and I can understand why a company would want to prove they got into the customers hands. Its not great for the customer though.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  22. Darkerside
    Member

    Fair enough. My usual ticket buying tactic (blimey, this is dull) is to book via East Coast using saved credit card, add the trips straight into my phone/google calendar with the reference tagged after the stations [GLC-DHM (G1234567)], then turn up ten mins early on the day to grab the tickets. Dead easy, but I could see it being a chore if it was daily rather than roughly fortnightly.

    As an aside, one day I will conduct a spectacular deed using my knowledge of station three letter codes. I'm just waiting on the right circumstances.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  23. steveo
    Member

    I used to know the three letter codes for all the stations on the WCML and the larger stations elsewhere, most the Cross country route and an alarming number of tiny little stations! Fortunately this data is beginning to fade and I'm becoming a little more normal...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  24. chdot
    Admin

    "
    Reservations are compulsory but free of charge. Four cycle spaces per train. Tandems can be conveyed subject to length restrictions. Loading restrictions apply at some stations with short platforms, see website for full details.

    "

    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/cyclists/2012CyclingbyTrain.pdf

    Search on EC web site didn't find "tandem".

    Don't know if "subject to length restrictions" means normal length tandems aren't 'allowed' in vertical hanging vans(?)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  25. Darkerside
    Member

    The might of Google clearly beats their internal search. Last para of http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/miscellaneous-pages/faq/?faq=45

    Posted 7 years ago #
  26. SRD
    Moderator

    oh, forgot to mention one bad thing on return, train pulled into platform 9, which meant I had to lug fairly heavily laden bike up stairs to the bridge. Bloke helped me up last bit. It's not that the bike is heavy, but I'm not tall enough to lift it high enough easily. luckily the freight elevator took me down to by the taxi rank and had plenty of room for bike in it. (there was a small lift on platform 9, but it appeared to need staff to operate, and no one around).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  27. cb
    Member

    "The might of Google clearly beats their internal search. Last para of http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/miscellaneous-pages/faq/?faq=45
    "

    That text also appears here:
    http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/help/

    ...in the On Board section.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  28. crowriver
    Member

    I normally book my tickets through the Scotrail web site, then get them posted out first class: usually arrive the next day. This is not an option if you book less than a week in advance (maybe the same with East Coast?) and it's the FastTicket machine at Waverley. Only snag is that you can't book cycle reservations online, you have to phone up and they post them out to you.

    Have not booked via East Coast site but would consider in future if taking a full sized bike or tandem.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    "Have not booked via East Coast site"

    If going EC you usually get an on-line discount via their site.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  30. chdot
    Admin

    Sent to EC this morning

    "

    Subject: 2 reservations for tandems? « CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum

    This might interest

    http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=7056

    Generally people with bikes are very happy with EC - and the fact that you can book bikes on-line is appreciated.

    The need for two tickets for a tandem is NOT bookable on-line but obviously won't affect many people and maybe difficult to change on website.

    In practice in might be simpler to just have one reservation even for tandems.

    Cheers,

    "

    Reply -

    "
    Thanks for your email.

    I will feed this back to our commercial and marketing teams re booking reservations for tandems.

    Kind Regards

    "

    Posted 7 years ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply »

You must log in to post.


Video embedded using Easy Video Embed plugin