Author Topic: Tandems on Trains  (Read 15700 times)

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Tandems on Trains
« 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:

JohnHamilton

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #1 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.

Tim Hall

  • Bright are the stars that shine Dark is the sky
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #2 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.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #3 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #4 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.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #5 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.



simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #6 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).

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #7 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.
Basses lower the tone.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #8 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #9 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.

Fidgetbuzz

  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 08:52:57 pm »
Just get the train yourself - leave Simon to sort out the bike and luggage  :)
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #11 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).

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #12 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.
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #13 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!

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #14 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).
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #15 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.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #16 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.
Basses lower the tone.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #17 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:
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #18 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #19 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.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #20 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

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #21 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.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #22 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.

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #23 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2012, 07:20:01 pm »

IMAG0357 by Pelotonhound, 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.


IMAG0356 by Pelotonhound, on Flickr