Virgin Restricting Access to Cycle Area on Pendolinos

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by DynamicSpirit, 9 Sep 2019.

  1. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,847
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    I took my bicycle from Lancaster to Euston today, and sat in one of the usual 'Reserved - Cyclist' seats right next to the door to the cycle compartment.

    To my astonishment, when the train was approaching Euston and I stood up to go sort out my cycle for getting off, I found there was no way to get back into the cycle storage area: The door from the passenger compartment to the cycle area simply didn't have the usual passenger-operable button to open it. This meant that, despite sitting right next to the cycle compartment, I had to walk down the length of coach A to the passenger door, and then back along the platform, with my rucksack and two very heavy panniers, to wait for the conductor to let me in. I asked the conductor about this, and she said that Virgin were progressively removing the button that currently gives access to the cycle storage area from all their trains.

    Why???? This seems an extraordinarily bad thing to do, which will seriously inconvenience cyclist-passengers, and has the potential to delay trains too:
    • Unloading cycles will now take longer because you can't get to the cycle to prepare it for unloading until the train is in the station and someone has let you back on it (this is what could delay trains).
    • Anyone in coach A has much further to walk to get to their cycle.
    • It becomes impossible to get to your cycle en route (for example to retrieve anything you've left with it, or to check it's OK).
    • If you have heavy panniers and rucksack (as I did today) you may need to carry them separately from the cycle area to the passenger compartment after loading your cycle. This leaves a risk that the door could close while you're in the middle of retrieving your bags - and then you're basically screwed because you can't open it again - you'd have to go and find the conductor before you can get all your bags.
    Is there any sensible reason to justify this?
     
    Last edited: 9 Sep 2019
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,847
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    And to add... it also seems incredibly bad for safety: It means that, if there's a fire or some other danger in coach A, then any passengers sitting between the fire (or whatever) and the door to the cycle area would be completely trapped, with the only exit from their seats blocked.
     
  4. HamworthyGoods

    HamworthyGoods Member

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    15 Jan 2019
    Seems the same policy as applied to the TGS on a tram
     
  5. NoOnesFool

    NoOnesFool Member

    Messages:
    301
    Joined:
    26 Aug 2018
    If it's a similar set up to Meridians, this will be the crumple zone when forming the leading coach, meaning passengers are not allowed to travel in this compartment.
     
  6. ic31420

    ic31420 Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    23 Aug 2017
    WHAT? My bike is in the crumple zone...! Put the bikes in the safe cell and the unwashed in the crumple zone!!!

    Seriously though, if that's the case why has it been okay up to now?
     
  7. FManc

    FManc Member

    Messages:
    300
    Joined:
    21 Jul 2011
    It’s to restrict access to the drivers cab I would imagine.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    41,224
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    There is an emergency release.
     
  9. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    I hope they're ready for it to be operated incorrectly lots more, then!

    This seems a bit of a backwards step that must increase dwell times every station where a bike gets off, surely?
     
  10. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,847
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    I would imagine that can be much better done by having a non-passenger-operable door at the entrance to the driver's cab itself. And I'd have assumed that already exists (though I've never looked that closely).
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    41,224
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    There is a bit of an issue on Pendolinos with people ending up "stuck" in the cycle area with bike when staff forget to let them out, as the cycle area has no passenger door controls. I do wonder if this is intended to "force" them out onto the platform, making it visible to the guard and preventing this issue, rather than specifically to keep people out of that area (as there's a secure door into the cab itself anyway, and this door is not particularly secure even with the mod).
     
  12. ricoblade

    ricoblade Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    28 Sep 2015
    From my experience, on both LNER and Hull Trains there is no access from the passenger carriage to the cycle store.
     
  13. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    Neither of those operate Pendolinos and there is definitely access on LNER's Azumas because it's between carriages. Did 125s/HST sets ever have access to the store? Not adding it would be less annoying than removing a facility that was already there.

    I realise class 180 Adelantes currently on Hull Trains don't, but that's just yet another reason why they're widely hated (and a relatively minor one compared to the reputation for fires...)
     
  14. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    13 May 2019
    Would anyone want to get off the train in that situation and risk your vehicle for onward transport leaving without you? This seems a particularly poor solution to what sounds like a problem of the train crew not opening the storage doors at certain stations which I think on Pendolinos should have all been booked in advance.

    I know you all hate this sort of comment but that has never yet happened to me on Belgian trains where the low-level door needs to be opened with a key to let bikes disembark - the train crew note the destination on your ticket and return in good time. They cannott look at the bike tickets because Belgian bike tickets are day tickets not journey reservations (there are plenty of spaces, unlike the UK or the Netherlands). But I have not yet used a British train with a closed cycle store and I am glad they seem to be a rare thing.
     
  15. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,847
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    I agree that can be a potential problem - as with the current situation you are completely dependent on the conductor having remembered and made arrangements to let you off. However, wouldn't a better solution to that be to add a button to the cycle door on the inside, so cyclists can let themselves off the train. That would have the added benefit that staff wouldn't be tied up letting cyclists off, although it would have the disadvantage that cyclists may be more worried about their bike being stolen (Still I would imagine that's still a very small risk).
     
  16. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    20 Jul 2017
    Yeah, cyclists can take care of ourselves. We don't want to take up crew member's time or increase platform dwell time. Just give us the means to secure our bike and get it on/off the train easily (without us or it being trapped or left behind) and we won't be any trouble!
     
  17. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

    Messages:
    5,500
    Joined:
    1 May 2012
    My guess would be security.
     
  18. pt_mad

    pt_mad Established Member

    Messages:
    2,611
    Joined:
    26 Sep 2011
    Is it the case there is no button for passengers to get through from the bike storage to the passenger accommodation? I've seen people let on and the door closed, so presumably they must be able to get through the door to the seating?
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    41,224
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    There is, but it's not easy to get a bike off that way.
     
  20. xc170

    xc170 Member

    Messages:
    449
    Joined:
    28 Jan 2016
    This does sound like one of those rules Virgin love to come up with.
     
  21. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

    Messages:
    1,751
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2013
    Unlikely, as they're either stored in the power cars, so no public access, and the van area is accessed through the guard's office.

    It's a fuss over nothing, really, it is. People have managed fine leaving their bikes in a TGS for 40years
     
  22. RealTrains07

    RealTrains07 Member

    Messages:
    888
    Joined:
    28 Feb 2019
    The only way into an HST store was by opening the outside door from the platform so riders would only be able to get access to their bikes after they leave the train
     
  23. Nagora

    Nagora Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2018
    Well,unless they rode with their bikes. The 125 van used to be a popular option on some routes (SWT? It was a good while ago); I didn't have a bike and I enjoyed riding in the van in hot weather with the window open.
     
  24. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2014
    Location:
    Gateway to the South West
    True. People have also managed perfectly well with slam doors and all sorts of other things that we don't want or need to go back to. The point is not that a certain facility is the way it is, it's that it has been changed from something better to something worse.
     
  25. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

    Messages:
    2,850
    Joined:
    26 Aug 2012
    When did SWT ever operate HSTs ?
     
  26. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Member

    Messages:
    911
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2013
    Location:
    CLC
    Someone have a word with First Trenitalia and ask them nicely that when they re-furbish the Pendolino fleet to stick a bike rack somewhere in the middle of the train for around six bikes, with full access by the passengers.
     
  27. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2014
    Location:
    Gateway to the South West
    Or, put the button back where it used to be!
     
  28. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,847
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    Not quite sure what TGS means. But I wouldn't say it's 'a fuss over nothing'. For me personally, I'd say it's sufficiently awkward to make me think twice about using Virgin again when I need to take my bicycle. So LNR and TPE may find they get a bit more custom from me instead.
     
  29. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Member

    Messages:
    911
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2013
    Location:
    CLC
    You still wouldn't get off without assistance as the external door is a crew door.
     
  30. 43096

    43096 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,306
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2015
    TGS - Trailer Guard Standard. Vehicle in an HST set that has the van area at one end.
     
  31. Nagora

    Nagora Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2018
    I know. I was wondering that too but I've not lived in many places in England other than Newcastle (where I didn't travel by train much aside from the Metro) and Woking where I did commute for a few years and I know that I did ride in the van at least a dozen times - it wasn't some weird one-off. I'm in Swindon now but even before the 800s came in I'd always had a seat. So I'm assuming it was Woking and SWT.
     

Share This Page