Author Topic: Tandems on West Coast Partnership  (Read 7074 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« on: 12 December, 2019, 04:30:34 pm »
Now that Virgin West Coast is no more, does anybody know where on the interwebs to find the various hoops that need to be jumped through to get a tandem bicycle onto a First Trenitalia train (hopefully)?

https://tandem-club.org.uk/files/information/trains/tandemsontrains_advice.html is lacking in detail, even for older franchises.
http://www.atob.org.uk/bike-rail/uk-bike-rail-restrictions/ is thorough but not quite up to date.
Nothing relevant in https://westcoastrail.co.uk/ that I can see.
Anywhere else to look?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #1 on: 12 December, 2019, 04:55:05 pm »
Nothing useful on https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/onboard/travel-advice/bikes

Under Virgin, tandems were allowed on Pendolinos (Class 390 EMUs), where the cycle space is a large cupboard in the crew compartment of Coach A.  You need a member of staff to gain access.

The Super Voyagers (Class 221 DMUs) have dangly bike spaces accessible from public vestibule.  You might just about get a small-wheeled tandem in there with a bit of improvisation.

No idea if they're planning to make policy or physical changes...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #2 on: 12 December, 2019, 06:47:37 pm »
I'm looking at a Scottish 400 next year and it is over 1100 miles round-trip to the start. Transporting the audax tandem (shortish 700C jobbie, no S&S couplers, wheels off is easy) by train would be preferable to driving as the car is insured for <5000 miles annually. Getting the tandem between London and Edinburgh by train might be doable but further north by Caledonian Sleeper or Scotrail doesn't look viable.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #3 on: 12 December, 2019, 06:52:23 pm »
It's the same staff running the same trains*, so if they'd have been ok with tandems before they will be for now.

However, the policy is here, with no mention of tandems, so you don't have anything to fall back on if you get refused.

https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/onboard/travel-advice/bikes

(* hurray for privatisation)

Wowbagger

  • Stout dipper
    • Stuff mostly about weather
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #4 on: 12 December, 2019, 06:55:57 pm »
I'm looking at a Scottish 400 next year and it is over 1100 miles round-trip to the start. Transporting the audax tandem (shortish 700C jobbie, no S&S couplers, wheels off is easy) by train would be preferable to driving as the car is insured for <5000 miles annually. Getting the tandem between London and Edinburgh by train might be doable but further north by Caledonian Sleeper or Scotrail doesn't look viable.

LNER, who replaced Virgin, still had some older trains on daytime services between London and Inverness.  Iirc the 1200 from Kings Cross is normally one of these.
Quote from: Dez
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #5 on: 12 December, 2019, 07:04:39 pm »
LNER, who replaced Virgin, still had some older trains on daytime services between London and Inverness.  Iirc the 1200 from Kings Cross is normally one of these.
Not any more. LNER have replaced the Inverness train with a Class 800 Azuma, starting this week.
Though ScotRail are now using HSTs for most trains between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Inverness. So they may have more space for tandems.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #6 on: 12 December, 2019, 07:07:26 pm »
I'm looking at a Scottish 400 next year and it is over 1100 miles round-trip to the start. Transporting the audax tandem (shortish 700C jobbie, no S&S couplers, wheels off is easy) by train would be preferable to driving as the car is insured for <5000 miles annually. Getting the tandem between London and Edinburgh by train might be doable but further north by Caledonian Sleeper or Scotrail doesn't look viable.

LNER, who replaced Virgin, still had some older trains on daytime services between London and Inverness.  Iirc the 1200 from Kings Cross is normally one of these.

Zoomers replace the IC125 on the Chieftain on the 19th.
Most if not all East Coast Edinburgh services will be by then too.

Hire a van, and offer bike space for contributions getting bikes to Inverness on the train is tricky, getting them to Dingwall even trickier all due to only having 2 spaces a unit/set.
Your only hope of more space to Dingwall/Inverness is if the partly refurbished HST sets are running on the HML and even then you're chancing it.

Can you pack the tandem down to luggage size?
i.e. wheels off, bars turned, wrap up in a couple of bin bags and "it's a double bass honest"

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #7 on: 12 December, 2019, 08:51:11 pm »
Not interested in playing the maybe game. Driving is the only option.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #8 on: 05 March, 2021, 10:18:28 am »
Good news. I have just had email confirmation from the Avanti West Coast MD's office that the tandem permissive policy for Pendolino services remains as it was with Virign. That is, two tandems per Pendolino.  Later in 2021 the physical arrangements for cycle carriage will change to a bracket system but they are still happy to carry tandems but expect all four spaces will have to be reserved for two tandems after that.

I have just updated

https://tandem-club.org.uk/files/information/trains/index.html

on the Tandem Club UK site. While the Avanti West Coast website does not reflect the policy correctly please contact me at the TC email below for documentation to carry with you.

Once leisure travel reopens it should be possible to arrange rail assist from London to the Western Highlands using this service plus the new ScotRail Active Travel service.

Please update me on your experiences, using the address:  trains@tandem-club.org.uk.

Martyn

Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #9 on: 05 March, 2021, 11:13:20 am »
Does anyone have a picture of the bike spaces with actual measurements for width by height by depth etc?

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #10 on: 05 March, 2021, 12:17:32 pm »
Later in 2021 the physical arrangements for cycle carriage will change to a bracket system but they are still happy to carry tandems but expect all four spaces will have to be reserved for two tandems after that.

This sounds ominous for those with non-standard cycles.

Re: Tandems on West Coast Partnership
« Reply #11 on: 13 March, 2021, 06:23:53 pm »

I have just updated

https://tandem-club.org.uk/files/information/trains/index.html

on the Tandem Club UK site. While the Avanti West Coast website does not reflect the policy correctly please contact me at the TC email below for documentation to carry with you.


Please update me on your experiences, using the address:  trains@tandem-club.org.uk.

Martyn

No need to contact me for documentation as the Avanti West Coast website had now been updated with a new FAQ including specific permission for tandems on Pendolino with two reservations for each bike. As station and train staff may not be aware of this policy it is a good idea to take a print from the website with you or have it linked on a phone. I'm still keen to hear about how it works out in practice.

Martyn