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Spokeswoman responds to 'rumours' that no bikes will be carried from 2015...

First Great Western has refuted claims that it is to ban all bikes from its trains from next year.

Rumours had been circulating that from January 1, 2015, no more bikes would be carried on any services.

Philip Hoare wrote in the Independent this week: :Yesterday in Brockenhurst, the railway station close to the site of the accident, I was trying to get my bike on the train back to Southampton.

“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

"A pair of onlookers to this confrontation – repeated, I’ll wager, in train carriages many times that day – noted that they’d witnessed a similar altercation on another train that week, which was brought to a conclusion by the guard informing the riders that First Great Western were about to ban all bikes on their trains from the first of January.”

But when road.cc contacted First Great Western for comment, a spokeswoman answered: “That’s all they are - rumours. There are no plans to change the current bicycle policy.”

When road.cc went online to check the terms of the current bicycle policy however, the webpage was down.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

18 comments

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bigdanbro [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Seems highly unlikely. However, new FGW trains are due in 2015, specifically to replace the existing high speed services e.g. those between London Paddington and Bristol/Cardiff/Cheltenham. A member of the platform staff at Didcot Parkway told me recently that these trains would have significantly less carrying space than the existing trains i.e. 2 either end, rather than the current 6.

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hallamhash [21 posts] 3 years ago
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That's a real shame if they do reduce the space, I've found the FGW high speed routes to be the most cycle friendly (and popular) trains I've ever used.

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Rich71 [52 posts] 3 years ago
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First great Western are a disgrace anyway,same old crappy carriages for years on end,the seats are never washed,they just send a litter picker up to clear the area of rubbish
what about a deep clean of the upholstery and the nooks crannies between seats and wash the floors of sticky crap,its disgusting,i was travelling back from paddington 2 weeks ago and the train hadnt even been cleared up,the toilet had piss all over the floor,toilet paper strewn everywhere,the auto taps never work,the lock is all loose
As for the bike carriage,well it might aswell have been requisitioned from Auschwitz,grim rusting old racks,the straps to secure your bike are rotting and filthy and the velcro long since gone,plus there is only room for about 5 bikes on the main routes into London from wales/s west
i mean there are 2 bike carriages,one at either end and yet they only open the one carriage halving the capacity
Morons

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A V Lowe [614 posts] 3 years ago
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FGW is getting the IEP train - variously referred to as the Intercity Express Project, or the Incredibly Expensive Procurement.

The package is for a very different deal where the trains are pay as you use, and Hitachi & banks buy and maintain them. Several rail commentators note that these trains will cost much more than buying more of the current Pendolino, or rebuilding the current HST fleet, which is structurally good for another 40 years - apparently.

The CTC has been involved in testing the new IEP cycle provision, a bit disappointed with some of the final detail which the testing team suggesting that the porposals would be more difficult to use. The train design has 2 module spaces at one end of each carriage, one of which can be used for bike stowage, or the catering trolley or luggage, or a train manager's office.

There are several types of IEP, with 26 metre carriages instead of 23m ones, which will futher create challenges when they operate with the 20m of local trains and 23m of HST and other long distance trains. There will be more than one bike space module per train, but it will compete with other uses for the module space, and in railway economics the whole life costings deliver a figure for the earnings demanded per square metre of space in each carriage. Cycle space may need to demonstrate its value on attracting cyclists to use trains.

No-one has yet pressed the suggestion that having convertible space in the seated area might see off- peak potential to fill seats by carrying cycles. I see this on my regular trips where I can be the sole passenger in a 74-seat carriage for some parts of the journey.

Go count on some local trains typically on FGW you'll get 80-100 passengers on a 180-seat train, and 6-10 bikes at the weekend. On some routes there has been a 100% cyclist passenger load filling 13% of the seated capacity, and for events, working with a local train operator well over 30 bikes have been accommodated on a local train service.

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A V Lowe [614 posts] 3 years ago
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FGW is getting the IEP train - variously referred to as the Intercity Express Project, or the Incredibly Expensive Procurement.

The package is for a very different deal where the trains are pay as you use, and Hitachi & banks buy and maintain them. Several rail commentators note that these trains will cost much more than buying more of the current Pendolino, or rebuilding the current HST fleet, which is structurally good for another 40 years - apparently.

The CTC has been involved in testing the new IEP cycle provision, a bit disappointed with some of the final detail which the testing team suggesting that the porposals would be more difficult to use. The train design has 2 module spaces at one end of each carriage, one of which can be used for bike stowage, or the catering trolley or luggage, or a train manager's office.

There are several types of IEP, with 26 metre carriages instead of 23m ones, which will futher create challenges when they operate with the 20m of local trains and 23m of HST and other long distance trains. There will be more than one bike space module per train, but it will compete with other uses for the module space, and in railway economics the whole life costings deliver a figure for the earnings demanded per square metre of space in each carriage. Cycle space may need to demonstrate its value on attracting cyclists to use trains.

No-one has yet pressed the suggestion that having convertible space in the seated area might see off- peak potential to fill seats by carrying cycles. I see this on my regular trips where I can be the sole passenger in a 74-seat carriage for some parts of the journey.

Go count on some local trains typically on FGW you'll get 80-100 passengers on a 180-seat train, and 6-10 bikes at the weekend. On some routes there has been a 100% cyclist passenger load filling 13% of the seated capacity, and for events, working with a local train operator well over 30 bikes have been accommodated on a local train service.

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Gus T [317 posts] 3 years ago
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“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

Simple fold the pushchair up as it was designed to do you selfish b*tch!
We have a similar problem locally with pushchair users taking up wheelchair spaces on buses complaining that it's unfair to expect them to fold up their pushchairs and expecting wheelchair users to have to wait because of their idleness.
Parenthood is a lifestyle choice and it is the parents responsibility to deal with the issues it creates and they should not create issues for other people just because they want to make their lives a bit easier. It's about time we stopped being sympathetic to idle mothers who expect to get everything their own way just because they have the capacity to breed. Harsh but true.

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Doctor Fegg [147 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd be beyond amazed if FGW banned bikes from their trains. They're one of the few genuinely bike-friendly TOCs and have a full-time member of staff responsible for interacting with other modes of transport (principally bikes and buses). And as A V Lowe mentions, they have a new fleet on the way which will have dedicated bike spaces.

I'd give this about as much credence as the FGW guard who told me about 10 years ago that they were about to start a new service from Bristol to Peterborough via Oxford and Bedford. Anyone who knows that part of the country will know why that might, right now, be kind of difficult.

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willythepimp [116 posts] 3 years ago
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If only passengers could piss in the toilet and clean up after themselves...

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willythepimp [116 posts] 3 years ago
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The HST sets have a lot of cycle space that the platform staff are reasonably reluctant to use. Each power car has space for bikes in the 'boot' as well as the Guards' van cycle space on coach A. The HST's are not going anywhere soon, and will still be running the padd/pz routes for the forseeable future.

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Paul M [363 posts] 3 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

Simple fold the pushchair up as it was designed to do you selfish b*tch!
We have a similar problem locally with pushchair users taking up wheelchair spaces on buses complaining that it's unfair to expect them to fold up their pushchairs and expecting wheelchair users to have to wait because of their idleness.
Parenthood is a lifestyle choice and it is the parents responsibility to deal with the issues it creates and they should not create issues for other people just because they want to make their lives a bit easier. It's about time we stopped being sympathetic to idle mothers who expect to get everything their own way just because they have the capacity to breed. Harsh but true.

Sorry Gus T you really are aiming at the wrong target here. The mother could just as easily say that you could have brought a folding bike on board instead of your normal non-folder. And who says that it is easy or convenient for her to fold the pushchair? With a wriggling toddler in one hand and the pushchair in the other, on a moving train? Is she supposed to put the child on her lap?

And your cycling and bring your bike on a train is NOT a "lifestyle choice"?

What is entirely different of course is when other passengers, without toddlers and pushchairs, and not in wheelchairs, sit in the cargo area (which is NOT exclusively for bikes, it is for pushchairs, wheelchairs and large suitcases too) when they could easily have sat in a free seat elsewhere. I confirmed with my local carrier SouthWest Trains that their policy is cycles etc have priority for this area while other seats are available, subject to their conditions of carriage, which place certain restrictions on carriage of bikes in peak hours - restrictions which most of their guards don't understand correctly.

More to the point, the modernisation of rolling stock, which saw the demise of the guard's van, led to a huge reduction in the number of bicycles which a train could comfortably accommodate. I no longer take a standard bike anywhere on a train because I have been caught out, unable to make a return journey due to cycle restrictions. They should never have been allowed to get away with that.

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Shades [344 posts] 3 years ago
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I have my my bike (full size) on the train in the Bristol/Bath area once a week and FGW are pretty easygoing (depends on which guard you get!) so it would be a shame if they changed their policy. I'm comparing this with someone who said trains running in S Wales were really strict on bike numbers, and trains into London where I'm led to believe full size bikes aren't allowed from 0600-1000? For times when I'm regularly taking a bike on the train, I use my folder; it just takes away all the hassle and risk associated with a full size bike. If I had a full size bike on the train every day I think I'd go 'nuts' (for a lot of the reasons already mentioned!). Another tip, put your bike in the bike section; anywhere else and your just 'fuelling' someone's complaint to the train company who then just considers banning bikes or being strict on numbers.

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Gus T [317 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul M wrote:
Gus T wrote:

“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

Simple fold the pushchair up as it was designed to do you selfish b*tch!
We have a similar problem locally with pushchair users taking up wheelchair spaces on buses complaining that it's unfair to expect them to fold up their pushchairs and expecting wheelchair users to have to wait because of their idleness.
Parenthood is a lifestyle choice and it is the parents responsibility to deal with the issues it creates and they should not create issues for other people just because they want to make their lives a bit easier. It's about time we stopped being sympathetic to idle mothers who expect to get everything their own way just because they have the capacity to breed. Harsh but true.

Sorry Gus T you really are aiming at the wrong target here. The mother could just as easily say that you could have brought a folding bike on board instead of your normal non-folder. And who says that it is easy or convenient for her to fold the pushchair? With a wriggling toddler in one hand and the pushchair in the other, on a moving train? Is she supposed to put the child on her lap?

And your cycling and bring your bike on a train is NOT a "lifestyle choice"?

What is entirely different of course is when other passengers, without toddlers and pushchairs, and not in wheelchairs, sit in the cargo area (which is NOT exclusively for bikes, it is for pushchairs, wheelchairs and large suitcases too) when they could easily have sat in a free seat elsewhere. I confirmed with my local carrier SouthWest Trains that their policy is cycles etc have priority for this area while other seats are available, subject to their conditions of carriage, which place certain restrictions on carriage of bikes in peak hours - restrictions which most of their guards don't understand correctly.

More to the point, the modernisation of rolling stock, which saw the demise of the guard's van, led to a huge reduction in the number of bicycles which a train could comfortably accommodate. I no longer take a standard bike anywhere on a train because I have been caught out, unable to make a return journey due to cycle restrictions. They should never have been allowed to get away with that.

We can agree to differ on this, but having seen too many wheelchair users left in the aisle's or at bus stops because of selfish pushchair using mothers I won't change my mind on this. The main issue for all users is that there is no concerted effort from the Govt, who set the standards for the cash cows, sorry Franchises, to insist that there are adequate & usable spaces in all carriages for bikes/wheelchairs/prams, it should be enforced by Transport Police that any collapsible bikes or pushchair is collapsed & stored in the racks rather than blocking passageways. As to the use of Guards van's, East Coast Railways & Virgin still have a variation on this, the difference, in my experience, is that Virgin have a better attitude to cyclists than East Coast. However after deviating from the original point, the issue in question was a mother who refused to collapse her pushchair to allow cyclists access to the bike racks so was in the wrong no matter how you try & paint it.

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climber [83 posts] 3 years ago
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"the issue in question was a mother who refused to collapse her pushchair"

Where does the original report say this? Just says she asked what was she to do. How about you (Gus T) paint with some facts?. And maybe a bit of tolerance and compromise?
Seems like she's not the only selfish "b*tch" about.

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christiandransfield [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Only last Sunday, 2 friends and I cycled to Land's End 90 miles, with the aim of catching the train back home that evening. When we tried to board the train, we were met by the rudest station master I've ever come across. He stated that it is FirstGreatWestern policy that only 2 bicycles are allowed on the train, as they are only insured to have 2 bicycles on the train at any one time, in case there's a fire. If the train had been rammed with people, I may have sympathised, a little. However, there were about 3 1/2 people on it!

As a result, one of my friends had to stay an hour at the platform, and catch the next train. While my other friend and I were on the train, we counted 2 other cyclists who were allowed on the train, after only 2 stops.

I complained to FirstGreatWestern about it. The reply is as follows:

"First Great Western
Customer Relations
FREEPOST RSKT-AHAZ-SLRH
Plymouth
PL4 6AB

Tel: 03457 000 125
Fax: 08456 008 363
fgwfeedback [at] firstgroup.com

Ref: FGW140928BCBR

Dear Mr Dransfield

Thank you very much for your email received on the 28 September 2014 regarding your journey from Liskeard to Penzance. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your friends faced whilst travelling and I hope the below information will shed some light on the situation.

Cycles are allowed to be conveyed by train with the exception of a few routes. However, restrictions may apply at particular times of day and/or days of the week. A charge may be made for conveying a cycle and a reservation may be required. The Ticket Seller must tell you about these restrictions and any charges if you ask when buying
your ticket. You can reserve a space for your bike on a train service at any railway station with a staffed ticket office, or by calling 0345 7000 125.

It is in the discretion of the staff on a train service to decide how many bikes they allow on a service. They may refuse to accept an item of luggage, an article, an animal or a cycle if:

1) it may cause injury, inconvenience or a nuisance or it may cause damage to property;

2) there is not enough room for it;

3) the loading or unloading may cause delay to trains; or

4) it is not carried or packaged in a suitable manner.

I can only assume that the train manager on this service decided not to allow all three of you on at one station as he saw that it may have conflicted with one of the above four guidelines. Other then that he may have done so to ensure he had space to allow cyclists on at other stations as you said he did. As a result of the inconvenience we caused you I do believe we owe a more tangible apology. I am therefore happy to gesture you with £10.00 in Rail Travel Vouchers. These vouchers have been sent to your postal address and I trust that they will be with you shortly.
Thank you once again for your email and I do hope this information is helpful to you.

Yours Sincerely

Nicholas Sinnett
Customer Relations Advisor."

Make of that what you will. It still doesn't explain why the station master had stated to is that it was a legal requirement for them only to carry 2 bicycles on the train at any one time. No mention, in the letter, that they will be following it up; just a £10 train voucher to try to shut me up. As long as the money keeps flowing in, from the purchase of vastly overpriced tickets, they don't care what happens to their passengers.

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notfastenough [3727 posts] 3 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

Simple fold the pushchair up as it was designed to do you selfish b*tch!
We have a similar problem locally with pushchair users taking up wheelchair spaces on buses complaining that it's unfair to expect them to fold up their pushchairs and expecting wheelchair users to have to wait because of their idleness.
Parenthood is a lifestyle choice and it is the parents responsibility to deal with the issues it creates and they should not create issues for other people just because they want to make their lives a bit easier. It's about time we stopped being sympathetic to idle mothers who expect to get everything their own way just because they have the capacity to breed. Harsh but true.

I don't know the circumstances, but had that been my wife with our twins, she'd need 5 arms (and a lot of strength) to hold both babies, fold the buggy and steady herself so she didn't fall if the train lurched. Sorry, not likely to happen.

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Shades [344 posts] 3 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

“The two cyclists in front of me could make no headway, as the limited bike space was occupied by a woman and her pushchair. "What am I supposed to do?" she complained.

In some ways I'd rather they were on a train than thundering around in a 4x4..ie the 'pram' for kids who can walk or ride a bike.  3

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raymondox [4 posts] 3 years ago
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There will always be some conflict between pushchairs and bikes. The real problem is when people don't move out of the way for wheelchairs. Lets hope those same pushchairs would have been folded up to allow a wheelchair on.

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gr3g0ree [67 posts] 3 years ago
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2 weeks ago on Sunday I just cycled out of London, along the Thames and where not, all the way To Queen Elizabeth 2 Bridge. Shortly after 4pm had to decide to carry on further and catch any SouthEastern train or just ride back on the A207.
Decided to ride back. Can't leave this to chance on any Sunday evening especially if I need to be at work at 7am Monday.
I have a dream .... that I can ride out of London any direction, any time, end up anywhere near a train station and be able to carry my bike back on a train.

Its getting rather difficult to plan to attend a sportive way outside of London and relying on a train to get me+bike there. Whatever train station is nearby to a chosen sportive's start, for sure there will be others carrying bikes too (as we did to the FT London or Evans Reading this year)

Did anybody ever purchased ticket/reservation to carry a bike and wasn't able to board a train on a Sat/Sun morning?