Cycles on trains


Germany knows how to do it properly

Trains in Germany carry clear signs to show where cyclists can load their bikes. Train operators in Britain by contrast usually like to keep cyclists guessing.

Advice for taking your bike on trains in Europe:

Problems and solutions

Each train operator in Britain has its own regulations on permitted numbers, pre-booking, charges and time exclusions. It makes some cycle/train journeys a logistical nightmare. What is needed is simplicity. There could be uniform provision of two metres of carriage space on all trains at all times. That would give room for six to eight bikes stacked end to end. When not being used by bikes, standing passengers could use the space.

Progress in Britain

Bike & Go Hire a bike at your destination.

Bikes go free: Greater Anglia has abolished the fee for taking a bike by train. You still need to book a place on the inter-city services though.

Bikes go free: There are parts of the London Tube system where you can take your bike. Download a Transport for London map showing the green lines here:

Merseyrail permits cycles at any time and promotes cycle routes starting and finishing from its stations. Where other operators ban bikes during major events, Merseyrail promotes the Liverpool-Chester bike ride, running extra trains to bring the riders back.

Why bikes and trains are magic

People prepared to cycle to the station and use trains for the long leg of their journey are rivalling the personal mobility that a car can provide without the many social costs of motorised road use.
If more people used bikes and trains as a combination, there would be fewer calls for road building, people would be healthier, energy use and carbon emissions would be cut and general safety would improve.
The Strategic Rail Authority (now defunct) carried out an investigation into bikes on trains, whilst ATOC have preparared this Cycle-Rail Toolkit.
You can download the full Railfuture response to the SRA's cycling on trains consultation paper (July 2004) Railfuture response 204Kb Or read a text version by clicking SRA Cycling