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Why there are less cycle space on British trains compare to European ones?

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hkstudent

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When comparing cycle space on different specs of single-decker (local, regional and intercity) trains, British ones seems to be having less than European ones.
For example, for a Intercity / Eurocity trains by DB, or a local NS train, there would be at least 6 of them, compare to Crosscoutry (3), EMR (2) and Avanti (4).

I know that there's a argument of European charging bike reservation, but it costs usaully 5-8 EUR, which is less than 1/4 of an adult fare, and can barely cover the cost.
I wonder why British ones are falling behind, which makes group cycle trips (especially long-distance ones) difficult and pushing them to cars, which causes more environmental problems.


Of course, not to mention there was a Guardian's article discussing the poor design (too narrow and not fitting) of the "new" bike storages on Class 800 and Class 222
 
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Wolfie

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A quick answer is that UK rolling stock as a whole is smaller, due to the loading gauge being so. Space for passengers is often at a premium so bikes are not a priority.
 

coppercapped

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When comparing cycle space on different specs of single-decker (local, regional and intercity) trains, British ones seems to be having less than European ones.
For example, for a Intercity / Eurocity trains by DB, or a local NS train, there would be at least 6 of them, compare to Crosscoutry (3), EMR (2) and Avanti (4).

I know that there's a argument of European charging bike reservation, but it costs usaully 5-8 EUR, which is less than 1/4 of an adult fare, and can barely cover the cost.
I wonder why British ones are falling behind, which makes group cycle trips (especially long-distance ones) difficult and pushing them to cars, which causes more environmental problems.


Of course, not to mention there was a Guardian's article discussing the poor design (too narrow and not fitting) of the "new" bike storages on Class 800 and Class 222
Because the Department for Transport - which is the controlling body and supplier of funds for the train operating companies - prioritises the number of seats in a train over other uses for the floor area.

Address your concerns to Grant Shapps MP, the current Secretary of State for Transport.
 

py_megapixel

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Vertical hanging bike racks are, to me, little more than a box-ticking exercise so they TOCs can say that they have space for bikes. I'm not sure I've come across a single cyclist who prefers them to just proving a horizontal space to park the bike in.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Vertical hanging bike racks are, to me, little more than a box-ticking exercise so they TOCs can say that they have space for bikes.
Not yet seen them. Any pics available? Also, what lines / train stock are they currently already used on?
 

Techniquest

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Attached is a photo from October 2020 of the bike area on a Class 156 in Scotland, and so far it's one of my favourite bike carrying areas in the UK. Lots of space and easy to use.

Compared to the tiny space of a poor design on IETs...Forum says my photo of that is too large to attach, frustrating!

Bike spaces on trains are so varied in the UK, and I really dislike taking my bike (the one in the photo was my Apollo Phaze mountain bike, which was replaced in January 2021 by a Ridgeback Speed touring bike) on an IET if I can help it. Not always easy to avoid of course. I rarely managed to get my mountain bike up on the hooks on an IET, and even when I did the easiest way was to let air out of the tyre first!
 

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Bletchleyite

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Vertical hanging bike racks are, to me, little more than a box-ticking exercise so they TOCs can say that they have space for bikes. I'm not sure I've come across a single cyclist who prefers them to just proving a horizontal space to park the bike in.

The arrangement First North Western had, which was space for bikes at floor level (nominally 2, but 3 would fit) with a large luggage rack made of the kind of metal poles you tend to find on buses above it, was the best arrangement I have seen before or since. Made very good use of the space.
 

py_megapixel

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Attached is a photo from October 2020 of the bike area on a Class 156 in Scotland, and so far it's one of my favourite bike carrying areas in the UK. Lots of space and easy to use.
But you still have to hang your bike awkwardly by the wheel, which requires lifting it. Contrary to popular belief not everyone who uses a bike is ultra-fit.

The design on the FLIRTs look far better, for example - just wheel the bike into a space and clamp over the frame with a strap. Though admittedly that's not space-efficient.

Not yet seen them. Any pics available? Also, what lines / train stock are they currently already used on?
This photo from Wikipedia shows them on a Voyager:
1624975762718.png

They're also found on the IETs and probably others besides.

The arrangement First North Western had, which was space for bikes at floor level (nominally 2, but 3 would fit) with a large luggage rack made of the kind of metal poles you tend to find on buses above it, was the best arrangement I have seen before or since. Made very good use of the space.
I think GWR Turbos have this kind of arrangement, but the luggage rack is mounted too low making it a bit of a hassle to get a bike in/out underneath it. Other than that small flaw I like it. I don't remember what FNW used to have.
 

Bletchleyite

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I couldn't find a picture of the FNW arrangement but it was very similar to this in Australia:

tipsonusingbikeswithvline01.jpg

Luggage above, bikes below... from betterbybicycle.com
 

py_megapixel

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I couldn't find a picture of the FNW arrangement but it was very similar to this in Australia:

Luggage above, bikes below... from betterbybicycle.com
Yes, that looks much better. Vaguely similar to the Turbos (I think) but with the luggage rack not extending out as far and mounted higher up.
 

skyhigh

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I couldn't find a picture of the FNW arrangement but it was very similar to this in Australia:

tipsonusingbikeswithvline01.jpg

Luggage above, bikes below... from betterbybicycle.com
This kind of thing?

cyclestreets37914-size640.jpg

(image shows bike storage under luggage rack on a 150 - from cyclestreets.net)
 

Techniquest

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Aha, I have found a photo of my mountain bike on an IET bike hook that will attach to the forum! I haven't got any more recent ones, I certainly have had much better fortune with my current beast with the hooks. They are a challenge though still!

@py_megapixel I know what you mean, we're not all super-fit. I certainly am not, nor are most of my friends who ride bikes. In general though, out of my lot at work, I am certainly not the fittest but I do ride the most. The hooks on the 156, yes of course it requires lifting the bike upright, but my point was that compared to a lot of cycle spaces on UK trains the hooks on the 156s are quite easy to use.

Of course, the easiest to use is also the bike space I use the most often which is on WMR. That is simply parking the bike in the allocated space near the lavatory. It is one thing I'll give the IETs credit for though, at least it's dedicated space for a bike and not shared with wheelchair users. Yes said space can be used for luggage on IETs, so it's not exclusive space, but at least there is an attempt!
 

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TUC

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Because the Department for Transport - which is the controlling body and supplier of funds for the train operating companies - prioritises the number of seats in a train over other uses for the floor area.

Address your concerns to Grant Shapps MP, the current Secretary of State for Transport.
Prioritising seats over floor area. Well, yes of course, what do you think most passengers would want?
 

Wolfie

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Prioritising seats over floor area. Well, yes of course, what do you think most passengers would want?
Absolutely. Yet another group who want their hobby subsidised. How many seats lost for those bike spaces? At least four.
 

samulih

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hhmmmm..... Wolfie, I do not think that is the right way to look at this issue as cycling is not a completely hobby to some, it is very good way of getting around etc. But we look life from different places, money to some life to some
 

Techniquest

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Absolutely. Yet another group who want their hobby subsidised. How many seats lost for those bike spaces? At least four.

We don't *all* complain about a lack of cycle spaces! It's fair to say we'd *like* more spaces, but not at the price of not being to then find a seat to recover from a challenging ride!

Quite, as an enthusiast of both cycling and rail, my priority is a seat. I don't take my bike on every train I go on, unsurprisingly, so a seat is always my top priority. If I've got to stand with the bike, fair enough. It is what it is!
 

Scotrail314209

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ScotRail do seem to be addressing this in the form of their 153s being added to the back of West Highland services. 156s were very regular full with bikes in summer, not to mention there is also additional seating in the 153s meaning that the services will have a slightly increased capacity.
 

al78

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Absolutely. Yet another group who want their hobby subsidised. How many seats lost for those bike spaces? At least four.
Typical antagonistic response by someone who puts people in a box then slaps a list of qualities on that box (i.e. use of the term "group"), because they haven't considered that within any categorisation of a group of people, there can be huge variance in opinions, wants and needs. People are individuals.
 

JohnMcL7

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The lack of cycle space on the Scotrail HSTs is frustrating offering just two spaces especially given they were promising a substantial increase in capacity and that wasn't at the cost of seats either using disused toilet space and the power car areas. I've been trying to get the bike booked recently but can't get space on any vaguely suitable times and cycling isn't just a hobby, it's a great form of transport when combined with the train allowing the train to do the big miles but the freedom to travel as needed at the other side.
 

Wolfie

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hhmmmm..... Wolfie, I do not think that is the right way to look at this issue as cycling is not a completely hobby to some, it is very good way of getting around etc. But we look life from different places, money to some life to some
You make a valid point
 

Falcon1200

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The hooks on the 156, yes of course it requires lifting the bike upright, but my point was that compared to a lot of cycle spaces on UK trains the hooks on the 156s are quite easy to use.

Agree 100% regarding the hooks on Scotrail's Class 156 sets, in fact I used one yesterday ! It would help a little if my bike was a bit lighter, but I managed to get it up OK (sorry) and I am 61. Once up, the bike is secure and I can sit in a normal seat. I do agree however that limitations on bikes on long-distance services are a pity, but as said there has to be a balance between seats and possibly unused space.
 

notlob.divad

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This photo from Wikipedia shows them on a Voyager:
1624975762718.png
The voyager ones I find particularly pathetic. There is supposed to be room for 4 bikes there, but as you can see, there is no way you could get a 2nd in without first twisting the handlebars. Terrible design for a box ticking exercise.
 

py_megapixel

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The voyager ones I find particularly pathetic. There is supposed to be room for 4 bikes there, but as you can see, there is no way you could get a 2nd in without first twisting the handlebars. Terrible design for a box ticking exercise.
Indeed. Making matters worse is the fact that staff sometimes fill one of those sections with the litter collected from the rest of the train. Someone asked about this practice on Twitter a while ago, to which the reponse was "sorry, there is no other space on the train for the rubbish bags" - who on earth made that design decision??
 

notlob.divad

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The solution to this is fold-down seats in the bike space. Not sure whether passengers would want to take a fold-down seat on a long journey though.
The probelem with 'shared use' space (and this isn't just bicycles), but it tends to be used on a first come-first served basis, even by people who the space is not best designed for. So someone who could perfectly use any seat on the train, chooses the fold down seat in the bike/luggage/wheelchair area because it is conveniently near the door. Next station someone gets on with a bicycle/someone with large luggage/* and inevitably a conflict will occur. Sensible people would obviously see that everyones journey would be improved for the original person to move. But how often does that happen? Without any resentment?

* I specifically excluded a wheelchair user here, as there are equality laws, to enforce priority for the wheelchair user, however even then it can and does lead to conflict situations arising.
 

Bletchleyite

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Indeed. Making matters worse is the fact that staff sometimes fill one of those sections with the litter collected from the rest of the train. Someone asked about this practice on Twitter a while ago, to which the reponse was "sorry, there is no other space on the train for the rubbish bags" - who on earth made that design decision??

What's wrong with the space behind the Standard end cab which used to contain the cycle spaces? I thought they were moved there so as to allow for staff use of that area?

The probelem with 'shared use' space (and this isn't just bicycles), but it tends to be used on a first come-first served basis, even by people who the space is not best designed for. So someone who could perfectly use any seat on the train, chooses the fold down seat in the bike/luggage/wheelchair area because it is conveniently near the door. Next station someone gets on with a bicycle/someone with large luggage/* and inevitably a conflict will occur. Sensible people would obviously see that everyones journey would be improved for the original person to move. But how often does that happen? Without any resentment?

* I specifically excluded a wheelchair user here, as there are equality laws, to enforce priority for the wheelchair user, however even then it can and does lead to conflict situations arising.

Agreed. Tip-up seats just cause conflict, and are only really useful for a very narrow window of numbers. When the train is very busy, the area is better as standing space. When it's not busy, there are other seats.

I'd remove the lot.

As for wheelchair space, it should not be used for other purposes, as this again causes the wheelchair user to experience conflict when they need the space, which is not acceptable. OK, someone might put a few bags there which staff can move, but the situation should not be allowed to arise that a cyclist has to alight because of a wheelchair user boarding - the areas should be separate.
 
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