Bikes on a train – talk to me

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  • Bikes on a train – talk to me
  • muckytee

    Now then… I am planning to ride in more exotic places (Marsden/Todmorden) and I plan on getting the train there, since I have never biked on a train I have a few Q’s:

    What happens if a roadie has taken the designated bike space on the train?

    What do you do when you return from your ride all muddy and need to get the train home?

    Cheers xx


    Bikes usually have a designated space or spaces, and some trains require a pre booked space, then its sometimes up to the jobsworth guard if he or she allows you on.

    Then some trains are so chroniclaly overcrowded you may not be able to get your bike on past the passengers.

    Have a look at your TOC,S cycle policy online. and then pray for a space.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    Depends on the operator. Most local-ish trains don’t really give a fk. No reservations and just pile the bikes in. Longer distance services can require a reservation (cross country, virgin- rigorously enforced on the latter).

    Muddy on the train – maybe just take a clean t-shirt in your bag?


    The TOC is “Northern” no reservations required

    Muddy on the train – maybe just take a clean t-shirt in your bag?

    I meant more the bike – leaving muddy tracks and dirt everywhere.

    Premier Icon buck53

    IIRC both of those lines are run by companies that don’t let you book a bike on in advance, so it’s first come, first served. That said all trains have space for at least two bikes so you’re good if only one other person turns up. If more than two bikes it’s down to the train manager’s discretion, be polite about it, make an effort to keep out the way and you should be fine.

    As regards being muddy, get any loose stuff off and don’t sit down, no problem.

    Premier Icon spawnofyorkshire

    i’ve done exactly what you’re asking in taking my bike to hebden and marsden on northern rail services.
    As long as you don’t sit down i’ve never had a problem from the guards when caked in mud, they usually find it amusing. Avoid the transpennine express when muddy though as they’re not as happy


    Sure thanks, that’s what I wanted to hear. I’ll only be going from Huddersfield 🙂

    Premier Icon simmy

    Northern are fine about bikes as I’ve used them a few times when I’ve bonked out and bailed it to get home.

    Like has been said, just don’t sit down. Mind you with most passengers on trains, you would want to stand guard against your bike stop it being nicked.

    I personally wouldn’t care a bit about muddy tyre marks inside as all the northern trains I’ve been on are filthy anyway.

    A gem is the St. Albans to Watford train, used it since 1998 to get to work. Ride ten miles to snorkens from here and back. Space galore, even no first class charge despite first class carriage. Staff excellent and never any bother.

    And during rail replacement by coach, they chucked the bike underneath and even got it out at the other end!

    Premier Icon sparkyspice

    Southern trains have a policy of not allowing bikes during commuter hours in their small print which stuffed up our South Downs Way expedition a couple of years ago. Check and double check with the actual staff (not online), to see how the land lies…

    You should be fine on Northern rail, even at busy times – I use them on an almost daily basis for both commuting and leisure.
    They have a few different cycle storage methodson their trains depending on which type of unit you get on. But all services have a dedicaed space for at least 2 cycles. If these are taken don’t worry too much, just means you have to stand with your bike in another area of the train.
    I’ve been on a Northern service where 7 bikes got off at the same stop. As for being muddy – just sit on the floor or on one of the fold down chairs near the cycle storage

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Northern Rail is fine, if a bit overcrowded at times. I sometimes take the bike on the Manchester-Sheffield line and even at it’s busiest commuter times, I’ve always got on no matter how many bikes are there!

    They’re used to it, loads of people take bikes on for both commuting and to go out to the Peak District or Tod/Hebden.


    We regularly get the train from Bidston (Wirral) to Wrexham, ride to Llandegla. Get covered in mud, as long as you are polite to the train guard then all is fine to be honest.

    If we do decide to sit down then we atleast try and cover the seats before sitting down.


    I often get the train and it’s almost always fine.

    I think it depends on the experience of the ‘line’ you’re on and the accompanying staff etc with it. It sounds like you’re planning on using lines that are probably used quite often by mountain bikers so the staff will be used to it and will take a common-sense attitude. I’ve never ever been reprimanded for being muddy and I’ve got on the train in some right states before now.

    The only time I’ve ever had a problem was coming back from Bolton to Manchester on the last train home. I’d just finished a race and was done-in, so cycling was out of the question and plus it was pitch black anyway. I saw the train manager and he told me to put my bike on the bike carriage but when I looked I couldn’t find it. I started to panic that the train was going to pull off so I just got on and stashed my bike in a doorwell alongside another lady who had her commuter bike there too. When the train guy saw me he went off on one, shouting how he’d already told me to go to the bike carriage etc. When I explained I’d looked and couldn’t find it and was scared the train would leave without me he told me to use my ‘common sense’ which annoyed me a bit as despite being in the wrong I don’t think I’d omitted to use ‘common sense’ as I was out the way and stood next to my bike ready to move it if needed. When I told him this he threatened to throw me off which unfortunately carries some weight when you’re on the last train home in the dark, and don’t know where you are. Had to apologise like a mug in front of smirking passengers which was hard to swallow.

    Have to say though, that was the one in one-hundred time where I’ve ever had any trouble, always been fine otherwise.

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