Railway stations in £5 million 'cycling hub' plan

Scheme will see big increase in safe storage

by Tom Henry   June 24, 2009  

temple meads.jpg

Every major railway station in the UK should become a ‘cycling hub’ with vastly improved facilities for bike-to-train commuters, the Transport Secretary has said.

Lord Adonis was speaking ahead of the launch of a £5 million scheme to provide ten terminals with more storage space for bikes, copying the set-up found in train stations all over Holland. As we reported last month the first such rail/cycle hub is already on its way independently of the minister initiative.

The Leeds CyclePoint is a joint venture between Network Rail, the local council, and franchise operator Northern Rail. The latter is owned by the Dutch national railway Ned Rail, a company that doesn't need any persuading as to the benefits of encouraging cycling – Ned Rail has found that the provision of extra cycle parking and bike storage has significantly boosted the number of passengers it carries.

Lord Adonis has been cycling around some London stations to see what the state of current facilities are, and has said that the rail network is currently ‘letting down’ cycling commuters.

He has also visited Leiden in Holland, where he saw cycle parking for 4,500 bikes – 300 more than the entire city of London.

“I think we can do a lot better,” he said. “There is a big job to be done but I am determined to see improvements in the facilities at our stations.

"I want to see every major station also serve as a cycling hub, as is the case in Holland," he added. "Cycling in Holland is not in the genes, it's in the facilities that are available."

A survey to be carried out as soon as possible will decide which stations are to be used for the cycling trials, and it is widely expected that London will feature prominently among them following the minister’s sight-seeing mission by bike.

Train operators are said to be desperate to increase passenger numbers and the creation of cycling hubs has been seen as one way of attracting those who would otherwise not consider leaving their bike in an insecure stand outside a station. It is also hoped that the hubs will encourage more frequent rail travel by occasional train users.

On his bike tour of the capital, Lord Adonis:

• had to hunt ‘long and hard’ before finding a packed set of racks at London Bridge, where some cycles had been chained to wire fence – apparently a safer option than using the racks.
• Found the racks at Liverpool Street station full, despite it being a Sunday
• Discovered that at King’s Cross and Paddington, the racks were on a platform, and some staff had no idea where it was.

9 user comments

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Let us take them on the bloody trains ffs.

How requiring everyone to have *two* bikes (one at the start of the journey, one at the end) will help matters is beyond me. Nonsense like this will assist the train operators in wriggling out of any requirement to carry bicycles on board.

repeat after me; "WE ARE NOT HOLLAND"

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
24th June 2009 - 15:15

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John_the_Monkey wrote:
Let us take them on the bloody trains ffs.

How requiring everyone to have *two* bikes (one at the start of the journey, one at the end) will help matters is beyond me. Nonsense like this will assist the train operators in wriggling out of any requirement to carry bicycles on board.

repeat after me; "WE ARE NOT HOLLAND"

Apart from attitude and some topographical variation what is so different? I agree for long distances I want to be able to take my bike on the train more easily, but for commuting two bikes works fine. Infinitely preferable to lugging a folder on to the train and in the long run more practical too. If we really want to boost rail/bike commuting where are we going to put all those extra bikes on the train?

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
24th June 2009 - 16:04

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Having spent yesterday in Utrecht I think a major advantage for the Dutch is the enormous number and quality of cycle routes *to* the stations.

posted by smilzo [71 posts]
24th June 2009 - 21:08

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Mr Sock wrote:

Apart from attitude and some topographical variation what is so different?

For me personally, two *long* walks each end of the journey, if I'm not going by bike. (And, as the third commenter points out, the quality of routes to & from stations).

Quote:
I agree for long distances I want to be able to take my bike on the train more easily, but for commuting two bikes works fine. Infinitely preferable to lugging a folder on to the train and in the long run more practical too. If we really want to boost rail/bike commuting where are we going to put all those extra bikes on the train?

You're looking at the end point of this process though. That's what I find so frustrating about the "Amsterdamize" idea of advocacy. We're supposed to make this leap to where there'd just be too many bikes on the train with no intermediate stage. It isn't going to happen overnight, so things need to be done in a way that makes sense, with the projects following each other in a logical way. (I.e. you don't make the stations these fantastic bike transport hubs until people are confident that they can cycle there in relative safety, f'rexample).

In the meantime, you assist the "pioneers" for want of a better word, in getting out there and doing their own utility cycling under current conditions in the UK.

"Amsterdamization" is a gift to people who don't want to tackle the properly difficult barriers to cycling in the UK, imo, because it's quite infrastructurally biased - the money thing will always be in the way, and where it isn't, the boosters can trumpet big capital projects. IMO what would *actually* help in the UK is cracking down on dangerous and intimidating driving, reinforcing the right to ride on the road &c &c Difficult, multi-agency stuff that no one seems to want to do.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
25th June 2009 - 10:35

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I take it the picture used at the top of this piece is of a British staion - there seem to be plenty of 'pioneers' in them parts - London stations too.

There is already friction on trains going in to London between non-cyclists and folding bike commuters (of whom there are large numbers) over space and every time more bike parking is provided at staions it fills up straight away - which would suggest that there are plenty of people who want to leave a bike at the station or even both stations.

Yes all that you say about enforcing the rules of the road etc is true, but that doesn't make big capital projects wrong if they meet a need and these bike hubs will do just that.

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
25th June 2009 - 11:37

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looks like temple meads in bristol to me.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
25th June 2009 - 11:38

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Affirmative Mr Sock - it's Bristol Temple Meads Station

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
25th June 2009 - 11:48

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Mr Sock wrote:
I take it the picture used at the top of this piece is of a British staion - there seem to be plenty of 'pioneers' in them parts - London stations too.

Could be that I've got my local goggles on, I suppose. I live in a fairly rural area, and there isn't good a good transit option once I get into the city (plus, if I'm honest, I'd miss my ride).

I could ride the whole way, but tbh, it's on rural roads with unenforced speed limits and British drivers. I wouldn't think twice about a ride like that in France, over here it's seems like the dice are loaded against me.

Quote:

There is already friction on trains going in to London between non-cyclists and folding bike commuters (of whom there are large numbers) over space

Ah yes, Mr. D. Pyle and his crusade, as I recall.

I wonder if they're up in arms about wheely suitcases, or students with enormous rucksacks? Probably not, because they aren't bikes, is my impression. The problem is the rail companies packing people in like sardines in a can, not the fact that some of the passengers have the temerity to bring a type of luggage others object to (imo).

In the US they've managed to provide bike spaces on trains (in some districts by removing half the seats in the coaches) - Paul Dorn talks about this on his bike commuting blog as I recall.

Quote:
and every time more bike parking is provided at staions it fills up straight away - which would suggest that there are plenty of people who want to leave a bike at the station or even both stations.
Yes all that you say about enforcing the rules of the road etc is true, but that doesn't make big capital projects wrong if they meet a need and these bike hubs will do just that.

I guess if they're targeted where the bike parking is full, and if it doesn't prejudice existing arrangements regarding bike carriage, there's no harm. My worry about this though is that train companies are already only carrying bikes grudgingly as things are now (with the government unwilling to enforce any requirement for them to provide even a few spaces).

In a larger sense, I can't help feeling that legislators are tip toeing 'round the actual barriers to increasing the level of cycling in the UK, and avoiding dealing with them by spending lots of money on stuff like this instead.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [418 posts]
26th June 2009 - 10:00

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Problem is John this isn't "lots of money" as a fraction of the transport budget it's not even a drop in the ocean.

I reckon it will do some good, but it's not enough by a long way. Spending on cycling has increased a lot and one of the great things about it is that you don't have to spend lots of money to have a big impact, but it still needs much more money and much more political will behind it.

The biggest struggle though is changing people's attitudes to driving and transport - that Early Day Motion the CTC are trying to get through is a start. But spending more money to encourage people to cycle will also change attitudes - the best way to get drivers to think about cyclists is to get them on a bike occasionally themselves.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
26th June 2009 - 11:34

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