Author Topic: Tandems on Trains  (Read 15007 times)

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #50 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?

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #51 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

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #52 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #53 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.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #54 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.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2016, 08:43:20 pm »
Worth following the policy to the letter in case of jobsworths, I reckon.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #56 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.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #57 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.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #58 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

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #59 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.


Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #60 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #61 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:



It's a really neat/compact bike!

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #62 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.  :)
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #63 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..

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #64 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.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #65 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #66 on: April 07, 2016, 04:14:44 pm »
You have to do it with a solo, let alone a tandem at Princes Risborough. ::-)
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #67 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #68 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. 
In the dark, all views are the same.

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #69 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.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #70 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.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #71 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #72 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.

321up

  • Avatar photo by "Pedal Castro"
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #73 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?

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #74 on: January 29, 2017, 02:25:43 pm »
Just turn up at the station with the tandem