Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Freewheeling => Tandems => Topic started by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 07:18:54 pm

Title: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 07:18:54 pm
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: JohnHamilton on February 22, 2012, 07:33:29 pm
S&S Couplings. Useful for trains, hire cars, getting up Travelodge stairs. Wouldn't buy another tandem without them now.

Tandem club has a useful page on tandems on trains.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Tim Hall on February 22, 2012, 07:40:24 pm
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:

When we took the tandem down to darkest Cornwall from Paddington with FGW, I found I had to book two spaces. Which wasda bit odd, as the spaces were next to each other and the tandem is, as its name implies, arranged in a longitudinal fashion. The guards train managers were equally puzzled, and were expecting a brace of bicycles each time.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 07:41:44 pm
I think what you get is a random answer since they probably get asked this once in a blue moon.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on February 22, 2012, 07:48:15 pm
The Big Problem with First Great Western is, despite using very similar looking rolling stock to East Coast (rower40 will be along in a minute to put me right on this), it's configured differently so the bike space involves a set of vertical hangers (not at all Tandem Friendly) rather than the East Coastian carriage shaped bike park with Sheffield stands.

ETA: What this means is, if we were car-less, and heading West, we would probably ride over a few days before an audax ride. In fairness to The Train Companies - tandems are rather a large and unwieldy things to have to accommodate.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 07:52:57 pm
The Big Problem with First Great Western is, despite using very similar looking rolling stock to East Coast (rower40 will be along in a minute to put me right on this), it's configured differently so the bike space involves a set of vertical hangers (not at all Tandem Friendly) rather than the East Coastian carriage shaped bike park with Sheffield stands.

East Coast use Intercity 125 & 225 trains. I've never used one of their 125s, but the 225s have sheffield stands for loads of bikes and they are in a very large guard's van as it's a dummy power car.

FGW use 125s, the line isn't electrified. They use wheel bender racks.  It seems that one tandem is accepted per train (possibly out of date info).

I'm used to travelling on both these services with a solo bike, so I know what to expect. FGW trains also have space in the guard's van which I've seen opened once when another train had been cancelled. They seem not to use this space normally.

I have no idea of the situation on East Coast 125s. I would prefer to book on a 225 train because there is a lot of available space on those trains.


Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 07:54:48 pm
Additional note: advice on FGW 125s in practice is to go on read wheel first and slot that in the rack. We have a pannier rack which might not help here, though. It means that you can turn the front wheel 90 deg to make it fit.

I might take a measuring tape with me the next time I'm on one (a week tomorrow).
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Wowbagger on February 22, 2012, 07:57:53 pm
S & S couplings for us.

I much prefer not to split the tandem, because where you have to change trains, it becomes a right PITA.

We've put the tandem in one piece in GWR guards' vans, Eastcoast (and whatever their forerunner was), East Anglia big trains and the shuttle services between Southend & Lpoo & Fench St, Trans-pennine express.

The trains where we've had to split it, and had no problems, were south-west trains to Portsmouth / New Forest, and the guard there was actually familiar with S & S couplings. Without S & S we'd have been blocking the door and wouldn't have been allowed on. For the sleeper, with dangly bike spaces, it needed to be split, and on Virgin Supervoyagers. On the sleeper, we had to get up at 1 a.m. in Edinburgh because when several trains join together, some guards vans get taken out and we had to wheel the two halves of the tandem about 500 yards along a platform. I've never seen such a long train!

The only real issue I've had with staff was at Fort William last April. I was on crutches and although we had booked bike spaces for 4 bikes, one of them was our tandem. Shouldn't have been a problem and fitted in the dangly spaces OK but a jobsworth decided to make her presence felt and was threatening to chuck us off the train. Her parting shot was "No more tandems, OK?" so I wrote to the Scots Dept of Tourism for clarification. Why no S & S tandems if you've got bike reservations? Their reply was that, if the tandem is split, they no longer consider it to be a bicycle and it's therefore luggage and it's up to the guard's discretion whether they take it or not. Sounds like bullshit to me.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on February 22, 2012, 08:04:18 pm
I think that, much like our beloved NHS, our railways have become sausage machines intent on moving as many people for as little cost as possible.

Passengers on trains with Tandems are as inconvenient to this as patients with (say) unusual dietary needs, or three legs.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Feline on February 22, 2012, 08:34:49 pm
Our need to get it on a train is likely to be a pretty one off situation, since it's the one and only time we are planning to do a long one direction only ride (a York arrow). Unfortunately riding back afterwards isn't possible because I have to be back to work the night shift on Easter Sunday.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Fidgetbuzz on February 22, 2012, 08:52:57 pm
Just get the train yourself - leave Simon to sort out the bike and luggage  :)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on February 22, 2012, 08:58:11 pm
Fboab and I are test riding the southern section of our Arrow route on Saturday that will land us in Grantham for a train ride home on Sunday.

We'll let you know how that turns out! (Bike storage is of the 2-wheel-benders-outside-the-disabled-loo variety).
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: rower40 on February 22, 2012, 09:00:22 pm
The only time I've taken a tandem on a train was to last year's Cheam & Morden hilly 50.

It was definitely res non grata on a Meridian.  No way of getting it round the corner from the vestibule to the bike area, so I just left it transverse between both doors, thereby blocking the driver's emergency exit should anything nasty have happened.  As there was only one intermediate stop, and it was pre-sparrowfart on a Saturday, the guard turned a blind eye.

No complaints on the sub-Thamesian 3rd rail network.  Just find the area with the tip-up seats.

Then it came back north on a Pendolino to Mordor, followed by a class 170.

The only reservation was on the Pendolino - obtained 15 mins before train departure.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Feline on February 22, 2012, 09:31:55 pm
Just get the train yourself - leave Simon to sort out the bike and luggage  :)

I have considered getting the train back and then driving back to York to fetch Simon and tandem. This does seem pretty ridiculous though. It also leaves me with a slight issue of living 10 miles from the nearest station with no viable public transport option to get home if I am bikeless. I suppose I could dump a BSO there the day before and hope it is still there when I get there, but again this seems a bit ridiculous!
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on February 22, 2012, 09:43:07 pm
One-way van hire an option?

You'll, fairly obviously, never get a tandem on a Voyager (any flavour).
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: fboab on February 22, 2012, 09:54:18 pm
No2Son & I once got one on a replacement bus service (Thetford-Norwich). With a trailer.

That probably only works with children. Where something requires effort, it's a lot easier to get people to go out of their way with a child involved.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Wowbagger on February 22, 2012, 09:56:14 pm
With cripples too. I was on crutches on Mull last year and the bus companies took our tandem from Tobermory to Craignure and from Oban to Fort William.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on February 22, 2012, 09:59:24 pm
No2Son & I once got one on a replacement bus service (Thetford-Norwich). With a trailer.

The stuff of legends.    :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on February 22, 2012, 10:10:59 pm
One-way van hire an option?

You'll, fairly obviously, never get a tandem on a Voyager (any flavour).

This is why we'd go via London. I think driving back from an arrow isn't a good idea either.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on February 22, 2012, 10:31:03 pm
We went on a FGW for our wedding. They generally take tandems on their High Speed Trains. To book ahead phone 01752 675646. You might have to tell them how to book it on (as 2 bike spaces), and possibly get them to ask their manager. My cousin has taken 3 tandems (1 for him and his wife, and 2 with his 4 daughters on, the older ones piloting the younger :D) on FGW - he lives in Yatton so they arelocal for him.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Feline on February 22, 2012, 11:36:04 pm
We went on a FGW for our wedding. They generally take tandems on their High Speed Trains. To book ahead phone 01752 675646. You might have to tell them how to book it on (as 2 bike spaces), and possibly get them to ask their manager. My cousin has taken 3 tandems (1 for him and his wife, and 2 with his 4 daughters on, the older ones piloting the younger :D) on FGW - he lives in Yatton so they arelocal for him.

That's great to know, and Yatton is our local station!  :D
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on February 22, 2012, 11:44:13 pm
We went on a FGW for our wedding. They generally take tandems on their High Speed Trains. To book ahead phone 01752 675646. You might have to tell them how to book it on (as 2 bike spaces), and possibly get them to ask their manager. My cousin has taken 3 tandems (1 for him and his wife, and 2 with his 4 daughters on, the older ones piloting the younger :D) on FGW - he lives in Yatton so they arelocal for him.

That's great to know, and Yatton is our local station!  :D
Cool :thumbsup:. I have 2 lots of cousins there, both with 4 children. The others are a bit young yet.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: matthew on February 23, 2012, 12:36:24 am
No2Son & I once got one on a replacement bus service (Thetford-Norwich). With a trailer.

That probably only works with children. Where something requires effort, it's a lot easier to get people to go out of their way with a child involved.
not even always then!! late 80's touring party of mum and dad on tandem, two sons on solos, my dad, me and sister, no child over 10 and we got put on a rail replacement bus. Rather the mum and four kids did (with the kids bikes) but the two dads had to ride. Chris was solo on the tandem and still dropping my dad, though we had the panniers on the bus.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Oscar's dad on February 23, 2012, 09:03:01 am
Tandems on trains  :hand:  Please stop!!!  I have only just recovered from our tandem and a solo on French trains experience in 2010, the therapy cost a fortune.  Do not mention tandems on trains again.  OK?

Thank you.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on February 26, 2012, 07:20:01 pm
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7183/6932190941_e7b16269c1.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40735552@N05/6932190941/)
IMAG0357 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40735552@N05/6932190941/) by Pelotonhound (http://www.flickr.com/people/40735552@N05/), on Flickr

East Midlands Trains - Class 158 as used on the Liverpool/Norwich service. As you can see, the "facilities" are less than tandem friendly, and require one of the team to form Mk I Knee Wheel Benders as demonstrated by fboab here.

There were mutterings from the staff, and the guard/ticket collector/etc was looking very doubtful as we loaded it on (who can blame him - we basically blocked the door). I made a point of saying we would stay with the bike (there are fold-down jump seats) and this seemed to calm him down, and we were allowed on.

Nice attitude from the woman we had to evict to use the spaces too. No mutterings or grumblings at all.

Chances are, on another day - we'd have been looking at an 85 mile ride home.

ETA: Oh - also, Station facilities can be an issue. Here is someone demonstrating the vertical tandem lift manouevre.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7041/6786289806_340214df8d.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40735552@N05/6786289806/)
IMAG0356 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40735552@N05/6786289806/) by Pelotonhound (http://www.flickr.com/people/40735552@N05/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Wowbagger on February 26, 2012, 07:28:09 pm
Is that a Swallow tandem? As built by Pete Bird, formerly of Essex fame (IIRC he was a silversmith working in the Brentwood area when he lost his job under the Thatcher purges and took up frame building). I thought his tandem was called a Toucan.

I have an early tag-along which he built, and that has been hanging in our garage for the past 25 years waiting for a grand-child to grow large enough to ride on it!
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: jogler on February 26, 2012, 07:41:16 pm
Pete Bird had an arrangement with another chap to build frames for retail by Swallow Tandems Ltd.These built-by-another frames were called Toucan's.
A tandem carrying the Swallow name was built by Mr. Bird.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on February 26, 2012, 07:48:58 pm
It is indeed a Swallow tandem, as built by Mr Bird of Essex fame.

It belongs to Assassin of this parish, who has very kindly lent it to us to save it from a shed-bound retirement, and support our nacent tandem career.

It has considerable history that we have so far completely failed to live up to - but, y'know.... early days.

I believe its hallowed past includes the Tour de France, 24 hr TT records, LEL, PBP and other L33t stuff.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Tim Hall on February 26, 2012, 08:02:04 pm
Pete Bird's brother diid a FNTRTTC last year - the one down to Newhaven.

Anyway...

Back to Tandems on trains. Today we went by train from Three Bridges to New Cross Gate, changing at East Croydon.  The Three Bridges-East Croydon leg was  easy, as expected. Class 377(?) with gert big space by the tardis loo. However, identifying which way round the set of four coaches is, is tricky. And as the tardis loo is either in coach 2 or coach 3 this can make for entertaining running down the platform. I know from the side it's easy to tell which door, by the two red stripes either side, but I'm after a method of identifying it from the front as it hoves into view.  Any gricers got any tips they'd care to share?

The leg from East Croydon to New Cross Gate was a bit trickier. Dunno what class, but the bike space was only long enough for a solo. We did a bit of diagonal jibbling on the way out, and I stood with the bike in the door space looking helpful on the way back. I think a full length tandem would be getting on for impossible.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: IbisTouche on February 26, 2012, 08:16:53 pm
Nice Swallow Chris. We stick to our Ibis tandems with their handjobs. Last year at this time we took to Malmø from Helsingør, across Øresund, to a 200 km brevet with the train. No problems and sleeping good at the way home...
Carsten & Dorte
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: TimO on February 26, 2012, 08:36:22 pm
I think that, much like our beloved NHS, our railways have become sausage machines intent on moving as many people for as little cost as possible.

Passengers on trains with Tandems are as inconvenient to this as patients with (say) unusual dietary needs, or three legs.

.., and like the NHS, the exact basis for the rules are lost somewhere in the mists of time.

I'm guessing, that like getting bikes over the Dartford crossing, at some point in the past, when bikes as a form of transport were more common, and more acceptable, the government of that time put some legal requirement into the legislation that forced companies that run train services to carry bicycles.

Over time, they seem to have managed to bend these rules to a degree, to stop carrying bikes when the trains are busy, and only provide facilities for a minimum number.

I wonder why tandems and tricycles seemed to get left out of that legislation? Presumably they have always been relatively rare, so someone just forgot about them or ignored them.

As has been said, children are one way to make people more likely to help, and recumbent trikes also often succeed in getting where strictly speaking the rules don't allow them, because people assume that the users are disabled (and sometimes they are, but not always).

In some respects it would be nice if the rules were clarified and organised across train companies, but there's always a risk that this may just allow them to universally refuse to carry tandems. :-\
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: chris on February 26, 2012, 09:07:05 pm
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:

Total contrast to the Danish railways where the guards moved people out of their seats so that we could get our triplet, tandem and trailers on to the train!

(http://www.tandem-club.org.uk/nf2002/2005-07/post/p050731z.jpg)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: IbisTouche on February 27, 2012, 04:25:25 am
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:

Total contrast to the Danish railways where the guards moved people out of their seats so that we could get our triplet, tandem and trailers on to the train!

(http://www.tandem-club.org.uk/nf2002/2005-07/post/p050731z.jpg)

We have not tried to be showed out of the train. We have only used them before and after the brevets where there are not so many other users. The main reason why they dislike tandems is that the regulations for fire-escape-ways in the trains makes is ner to impossible to make room for a tandem, after what they say. On the other hand they have made an agreement with the visually handicapped that they can have  tandems on trains if they members of their organisations. All us others non-handicapped have to work on in the pedals and become in a better condition!
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on March 06, 2012, 10:39:23 am
Simon, are you in the Tandem Club yet? They have some more details on their website for FGW, including some pictures of tandems in-situ on the HST 125s. It's in the members only bit of the TC Website, which is a bit odd - dunno why it's a seekrit  :-\.

Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Feline on March 06, 2012, 11:54:27 am
Simon, are you in the Tandem Club yet? They have some more details on their website for FGW, including some pictures of tandems in-situ on the HST 125s. It's in the members only bit of the TC Website, which is a bit odd - dunno why it's a seekrit  :-\.

Yes, I joined us both up. We haven't really looked at the members area of the site yet, thanks for the heads up! 
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on March 06, 2012, 12:41:39 pm
We’ve booked tickets back from York finally. I had to take a later than ideal train, but it goes direct to Yatton from Paddington rather than to Bristol then either change (can be tricky to get the tandem on the regional services). I had a look in the HST racks and by booking two spaces we have the advantage we can push the front or rear wheel through the rack between two slots, this giving us more length.

When I actually booked, the guy on the phone line was completely unfazed by the word ‘tandem’ unlike the customer services I spoke to last week.

We also decided after Saturday’s experience that lifting the tandem onto the high roof of Feline’s car is impractical.  The slide on carrier doesn’t fit Feline’s bars so we ended up going to SJSC and getting the hydraulic lift. This was complicated to put together and caused some head scratching when the amount of force required to pull the lift down ready to load the tandem was excessive, however this is a known and easily fixed issue (you stick the lifting arm in and pull with all your weight, and it comes down and once you know how, you can release the hydraulic mechanism for stowage so that it can be brought down with no effort and only engaged when the tandem is to be lifted). Rather unimpressed with the handlebar clamp, though. Why has no-one in the bicycle industry heard of oversize bars?


Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on March 06, 2012, 04:32:24 pm
Good news, Feline and Simon!

(http://www.tandem-club.org.uk/nf2002/2005-07/post/p050731z.jpg)
I love that photo! I liked it the first time I saw it and it still makes me smile now.  :) I especially like the way the little one at the back of the triplet is turning round and rummaging in the panniers as you ride, perhaps for a secret mid-ride snack.  8)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: phil d on March 06, 2012, 07:39:36 pm
We also decided after Saturday’s experience that lifting the tandem onto the high roof of Feline’s car is impractical.  The slide on carrier doesn’t fit Feline’s bars so we ended up going to SJSC and getting the hydraulic lift. This was complicated to put together and caused some head scratching when the amount of force required to pull the lift down ready to load the tandem was excessive, however this is a known and easily fixed issue (you stick the lifting arm in and pull with all your weight, and it comes down and once you know how, you can release the hydraulic mechanism for stowage so that it can be brought down with no effort and only engaged when the tandem is to be lifted). Rather unimpressed with the handlebar clamp, though. Why has no-one in the bicycle industry heard of oversize bars?
That sounds like the BTS tandem carrier, which we've used for many years.  Seems very flimsy, but I've driven to Lucca (in Tuscany) and back with two of these on the roof, and you'd hardly know they were there until you looked at the fuel gauge falling like a stone!

You only need to use the "brute force" option once.  After that you just flick the little flap at the bottom of the upright and everything moves easily.  The handlebar clamp is indeed the weak point.  One of the guide pins on the sliding part of the clamp broke on mine ages ago - doesn't appear to have compromised security.  Spare parts can be purchased from the manufacturer direct.

One word of warning.  The wheel support bar is very long.  It is very easy to mount the whole unit a little too far back, and then it adjusts the shape of the tailgate (if you have a tailgate, of course).  Don't ask how I know that!  I have cut the bar short fore and aft, to fit the bike (plus a little)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: aidan.f on March 06, 2012, 08:38:08 pm
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on March 06, 2012, 09:23:45 pm
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.

We looked at the bolt but could not (yet) work out how to replace the bolt with a longer one. It needs the correct type of cross-piece on the end that sits inside the handlebar clamp, I'm not sure what that'd be called.

Unlocking in transit I already identified as a possible problem, and a strap seemed to be an eminently sensible precaution to prevent unwanted movement.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: phil d on March 08, 2012, 07:29:22 am
The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.
That surprises me - I have always found the locking mechanism very sound (and I ALWAYS check it is engaged).  It's only a piece of wire in a slot, but the forces on it are not great.

Part of the strength of the system is its geometry - if all the bike/rack interfaces are secure it shouldn't droop far!
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on March 16, 2012, 10:07:46 am
With a new operator in this region (Greater Anglia), there seems to be some clearer guidance for tandems on their website:

http://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/cycling

The owner operator is a Dutch company, so one might hope for a more sympathetic approach to cyclists than previously. We shall see.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: clarion on March 16, 2012, 10:21:15 am
Useful link :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Feline on March 16, 2012, 01:53:50 pm
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.

We looked at the bolt but could not (yet) work out how to replace the bolt with a longer one. It needs the correct type of cross-piece on the end that sits inside the handlebar clamp, I'm not sure what that'd be called.

Unlocking in transit I already identified as a possible problem, and a strap seemed to be an eminently sensible precaution to prevent unwanted movement.

My fettle for the bar clamp involved elongating the bolt using a long nut
(http://www.weifeng-fastener.com/photo/ded583ee5afb8d9d6013a86a93620515/hex-long-nut.jpg)

and a length of M5 threaded studding.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v171/feistyfeline/tandemrack.jpg)

It seems to be a nice strong bodge :)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on March 16, 2012, 03:17:34 pm
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)

Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on March 16, 2012, 03:20:06 pm
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)

Can you remember if the car park has a height restriction on the way in? Even lying down in a Helton Stylee, we can't get under some height restrictions  :-\.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on March 16, 2012, 03:54:19 pm
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)

Can you remember if the car park has a height restriction on the way in? Even lying down in a Helton Stylee, we can't get under some height restrictions  :-\.

The park and ride or the travelodge? The park and ride does, going by this street view pic:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=oxford+peartree&hl=en&ll=51.792665,-1.284059&spn=0.005395,0.013915&sll=51.28442,-2.819352&sspn=0.04343,0.111322&hq=peartree&hnear=Oxford,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=51.792746,-1.284109&panoid=Cp-5nkpddq23-XZ5chmMhQ&cbp=12,55.63,,0,4.93

You can get off the d/c if driving direct to the start before you need to stop and unload.

Not sure about the travelodge.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on March 16, 2012, 03:58:01 pm
Thanks for that. I'll make sure my Stoker is (a) awake, and (b) primed to yell STOP! :).
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: fboab on March 16, 2012, 04:15:59 pm
I'll make sure my Stoker is (a) awake
After more than 20 minutes in the car? Hopeful, that.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Chris S on March 25, 2012, 07:52:34 pm
First Great Western update:

We had to take the dead Swallow back to Oxford from Bristol Parkway after The Dean Situation.

BP to Didcot: HST Paddington service (probably from Mens Pants). Two other cyclists present, all guards van spaces vacant. Helpful man with a torch who's single contribution was "Put the tandem on first please...". No problemo.

Didcot to Oxford: Commuter-type train with no bike spaces at all. We stood in the vestibule with the bike and kept it out of everyone's way at stops. No problemo.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on April 02, 2016, 06:03:49 pm
Bumping this as we need to get NEW TANDEM  ;D onto London-Bristol GWR (formerly FGW) service in June. And back again. It's a Circe Helios, so short as tandems go. Stoker L is 4 so if having a child on the back helps then we are good for that ;)

So -- any experience on that route? My recollection from previous journeys is that it's the type of rolling stock where they have 6 bike spaces with wheelbender racks at the end of coach A (but without passenger access from coach A during the journey).

Given that I can book 2 bike spaces from the website, is there an advantage to phoning -- will there be a specific note on the booking saying TANDEM INNIT or will it just be 2 bike tickets anyway?
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: CrinklyLion on April 02, 2016, 06:25:32 pm
https://www.gwr.com/~/media/gwr/pdfs/cycling/national-rail-cycling-leaflet.pdf?la=en

says
Quote
First Great Western
Tel: 0845 700 0125
www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk
High Speed Train services between London, South Wales and the West Country.
Reservations are compulsory Monday to Friday on services arriving into London Paddington between 0700 and 1000, or departing London Paddington between 1500 and 1900.
Six cycle spaces per train.
Tandems can be carried on most services.

Local services between London, the Cotswolds and throughout the Thames Valley.
Reservations not available. Two cycle spaces per train.
Restrictions apply Monday to Friday on services arriving into London Paddington between 0745 and 0945, and departing London Paddington between 1630 and 1900.

Local, rural and inter-urban services throughout the West Country.
Reservations advisable on Cardiff-Portsmouth services. Two cycle spaces per train.

Reservations can be made:
• At any staffed station
• Via First Great Western’s website
• Via First Great Western’s Telesales Team
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on April 02, 2016, 06:49:17 pm
I doubt the Helios will have trouble fitting in the space.  It's dangly rubbish you have to watch out for.  And those trains that ATW and Northern use where they have a couple of wheelbenders in the vestibule any full-sized bike sticks out into the doorway a bit.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on April 02, 2016, 07:49:38 pm
That service will almost certainly be a HST 125 with proper guards van. The apogee of British railway engineering.  :D No point booking two spaces as you'll be no wider than a normal bike and the length should be ok due to it being a proper guards van. Or proper ex-guards van.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on April 02, 2016, 08:15:11 pm
Actually with stoker bars it might be a bit wider than average... Googling around finds repeated mention of the "2 spaces booked for a tandem" idea so am inclined to do it to be sure.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on April 02, 2016, 08:43:20 pm
Worth following the policy to the letter in case of jobsworths, I reckon.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: davelodwig on April 03, 2016, 02:22:01 pm
I've used first great western as they have a train from Stroud to London on a HST125.

I had to ring up to book, but they understood tandems and booked two spaces for it even though it was only one wide. The guard was aware one was on the train so I suspect there is some box they can tick.

D.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on April 05, 2016, 03:04:37 pm
We used fgw on our wedding day to get to didcot with the tandem and my cousin has definitely used them from and to Yatton and they have moved 3 tandems on occasion- parents on one and elder 2 daughters piloting younger 2. Book as 2 bikes.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on April 05, 2016, 03:10:20 pm
I was wondering specifically about Yatton as I'm pretty sure the regular Bristol-Yatton train is a local one with no guards van -- and not much proper bike space? I'm sure we've had to stand with bikes in the vestibule bit before now. (We are lazy and get the train out to Yatton to the start of the Strawberry Way -- which is a long way round to Pilton but avoids the Big Hills and Nasty Traffic -- rather than cycling an extra 14 miles ;) ). At a pinch though if turfed off by the train manager, someone could solo the tandem down to Yatton and the others could get the train and then sit around in the station cafe waiting.

London-Bristol and back sounds like it will be fine though which is good as that is rather less flexible.

Tandem generally is ace :D
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: simonp on April 05, 2016, 03:23:14 pm
I've done Paddington-Yatton with no changes. However, I can currently only find the 21:45 regular service.

I'd consider going further to Weston Super Mare, the HSTs still go through to there don't they? Probably similar distance. The route from there via Bleadon and Webbington to Axbridge isn't too bad.

Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Rod Marton on April 06, 2016, 08:23:57 am
Most of the direct trains from London to Weston stop at Yatton: these are HSTs so shouldn't be a problem with a tandem.

However there are very few direct trains on a Saturday. So if you are planning to travel on a Saturday you may have a problem.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on April 07, 2016, 03:39:19 pm
We have to go to Bristol first; but anyway timetables seem to suggest that the direct trains only run at odd times of day.

However! Having wedged the thing onto a Thameslink train yesterday (we cycled down to my parents -- 8 miles! and only the second ride for 4-yr-old stoker L -- and then when time came to come back, L wanted to get the train instead, and I didn't want to make A Thing out of it), I feel more confident about our ability to wing it as necessary on local trains:

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1532/26290722055_495632620f_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/G4dPHi)

It's a really neat/compact bike!
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on April 07, 2016, 03:47:54 pm
That gives me more confidence to try the trip to playgroup if we can wing it on the train for some of it. I have done the return trip to Whitstable from Herne Hill on the train with it before but I've been a bit nervous since restarting this time.  :)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on April 07, 2016, 03:53:32 pm
It takes a bit of wiggling to get it sideways once you're on the train (iyswim) but it was easier once I'd done it once :)

I did have to hold it upright to get it in one of the lifts at Canada Water..
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on April 07, 2016, 03:57:37 pm
You have to do that in various places - I seem to remember the footbridge lift by the RFH being one.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on April 07, 2016, 03:58:29 pm
You have to do that in various places - I seem to remember the footbridge lift by the RFH being one.

University and Derby spring to mind.  And the 'B' lifts at Mordor Central if you don't have them to yourself.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Butterfly on April 07, 2016, 04:14:44 pm
You have to do it with a solo, let alone a tandem at Princes Risborough. ::-)
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on April 07, 2016, 04:17:35 pm
I had to flip the back wheel of my Brommie to fit it in the lift at Mordor once.  That was hopefully due to the presence of Luggage, though.  I can't remember.  Got distracted by a random kid asking me about Top Gear[1].


[1] Apparently James May's got one of those.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: arabella on April 07, 2016, 05:42:56 pm
I've been on the Bristol-Yatton Train (alighting at N&B) when it had at least 8 other bikes (a horde of teenagers and bmxs) on it as well as mine.  It wasn't at a busy period and I think it was 2 summers ago on a weekday evening.   That particular train had the flap-up bench seats but the yoofs had taken over that section of the train anyway (backwater between last door and end of the train).
I haven't been that way with a bike recently so forget what the rolling stock is like now. 
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: bhoot on April 12, 2016, 01:52:01 pm
We have Great Western experience with a full size tandem (and ours is very big) albeit not for a couple of years. We have done London-Oxford and return and also London-Bristol and Exeter-London.
We've always booked two spaces. We find ours fits better between two racks - which allows it to go further back. For us the most useful thing is being able to do a journey which starts where the train starts and to get to the train asap after boarding commences to nab the end two spaces - probably best the door side of the compartment not the partition side but either works as then there is something to fasten it to. The middle slots (or two non-adjacent slots) are not good news.  Getting on at Exeter and Oxford* was much more stressful as we didn't know what we would find when we got to the bike space. So if you are going to/from Bristol, on the way back it's worth trying to get a Bristol starting train rather than one coming up from Exeter or Weston.
*At Oxford the platform man told us we could not take the tandem but we ignored him, the train manager was just fine about it.

Local trains can be absolutely fine even if the rules say no (eg Chiltern). We are lucky that our local "local" trains in Anglia say yes and so our tandem is well travelled.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: bodach on June 24, 2016, 08:10:37 pm
I am not driving just now due to my brain surgery so McNasty and I are travelling to the Mersey 24 on the Pendolino and McNasty assures me we are booked on but have to book two bike spaces so we will give it a whirl. We are travelling from Glasgow to Crewe and back.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on June 24, 2016, 08:39:13 pm
Pendolinos have a relatively civilised bike space - it's just a decent sized storage area in the power car (Coach 'A') with some straps.  You shouldn't have much trouble getting a tandem in there (other than getting it round the corner from the external door).

The main issue is that the external door requires a member of staff to open it.  This is fine when boarding at Euston, where the driver will enter the train via that door, and similarly when they get off at the terminus.  It's a bit more fraught when you get on at intermediate stations, or when heading South, where the driver will be at the other end of the train, and you'll  need to track down a member of staff on the platform to unlock the door.

Once on the train, it's prudent to remind the train manager that you've got a bike to unload shortly before your stop.  Sometimes they forget.

As staff usually check bike reservations before letting you on, unreserved bikes occupying the space aren't a problem.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: juliet on June 25, 2016, 10:36:55 am
Re our trip to Yatton: we booked by phone with GWR & they were fine. Two spaces booked in the bike van (end of carriage A) on the London-Bristol leg; the Bristol-Yatton one you don't need to book but the local ?GWR? train we were on had a 3-berth bike space and we got 2 regular bikes plus the Helios in there no problem. A longer tandem might be a bit tighter fit but the guard was very helpful when we were unloading.
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: 321up on January 29, 2017, 02:13:50 pm
Last year we sucessfully took our tandem on Virgin Pendolino's on the west coast line on a couple of trips to Preston and to Glasgow.  We were planning to take our tandem on a train to Oxenholme in April but yesterday we went to the station to find out which services were Pendolino we were told that Pendolino's are no longer being used on that route.  I'm wondering how I can get conformation of this?
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Danu on January 29, 2017, 02:25:43 pm
Just turn up at the station with the tandem
Title: Re: Tandems on Trains
Post by: Kim on January 29, 2017, 03:27:25 pm
Last year we sucessfully took our tandem on Virgin Pendolino's on the west coast line on a couple of trips to Preston and to Glasgow.  We were planning to take our tandem on a train to Oxenholme in April but yesterday we went to the station to find out which services were Pendolino we were told that Pendolino's are no longer being used on that route.  I'm wondering how I can get conformation of this?

http://www.opentraintimes.com/ will tell you the type of rolling stock for a given train.