The UK is a great place to go touring by bike, but there are a few things to remember before taking a cycle on the trains. Planning a trip by train with your bicycle is quite easy in the UK, but there are some rules and planning in advance can help a lot. In this article we’ll go through the major train operators in the UK and see what you need to do to get bicycles on trains.
Virgin Trains: (From London to the Midlands, North-West and Scotland) Booking is essential up to 12 weeks in advance as space is limited on most of their services. A bike tag is needed from any of their offices showing the destination for cycles on their trains.
East Coast Main Line: (From Kings Cross to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh) Reservations can be made online or at a station for booking up to 12 weeks ahead and with a minimum of 24 hours notice. It’s advisable to put a label on your bike stating your name and destination station.
First Great Western: (From Paddington to Bristol, South Wales and stations towards Penzance) Cycles can be booked anytime up to 12 weeks in advance with a minimum of 2 hours notice.
East Midlands Trains: (From St Pancras to Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester and Lincoln) Limited space is available on each train and a reservation must be made at least 24 hours in advance either online or by contacting their customer services.
Cycles on trains for commuter routes into London
When planning to travel into London during the morning rush hour, and from London in the evenings there are restrictions. To complicate things each train company has a different policy during these times, so a reservation or a call to their customer services is essential.
Other train services – bicycles on trains
Most other train companies have different policies with bicycles and you should always contact the train company concerned for exact information.
Train companies attitudes towards cycles on trains
Over the last few years most train companies have improved their attitude towards cyclists and are starting to make the UK railway more attractive to cycle users. All train companies now allow fold up bicycles on their trains at any time which is ideal for London commuters. Other companies have opened up secure cycle areas at their own stations. For example Merseyrail has secured cycle storage with a special pass to get into the cycle area for customers leaving their bikes at their home station.
Traveling around the UK by bicycle is a great way to see the country and explore some of the beautiful countryside, but with a little forward planning it can also be stress free by taking cycles on trains.