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Bike stolen from Avanti West Coast train

My bike (Croix de Fer 20, 2021, blue) was stolen this morning from Avanti West Coast train in Coventry. A man got on with a cheap bike at Watford Junction and got off in Coventry with mine. Avanti requires to store bikes on a separate carriage with next to a drive, where only crew has access to. The train manager provided access to the thief and watched him taking my bike instead of his. Avanti does not allow locking bikes on trains. I'm wondering if I can pursue a compensation from the train company as it didn't take reasonable care to prevent this theft? The loss is estimated at £800.

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26 comments

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Grumpy17 | 1 month ago
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This would be fairly simple for train staff to 'police',up to a point.

You get a cycle reservation ticket along with your train ticket. You should be required to show this if you want to gain access to the cycle storage carriage to get a bike. I say 'a bike' because there would be nothing to stop you booking your £10 wreck of a bike onto the train and then making off with someone's £3000 carbon .But then you,the thief, have also made a booking so you should be traceable, as generally there are only one or two bikes in the cycle carriage anyway. At least on the journeys I have made.Realise this isn't foolproof but it would at least give some extra level of security.Also,on Avanti services you can sit right next to the entrance to the cycle carriage so you can and should be keeping an eye on other shady individuals going in there, even under staff supervision.

 

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stonojnr replied to Grumpy17 | 4 weeks ago
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but I thought that was the Avanti process, your bike doesnt get in the special cycle storage carriage without a printed reservation, that you then need to show to get access back to the bike, and there should be no walk ups even if theres space, you still need a printed reservation.

the mistake here seems to be the guard gave access to someone simply with a bike reservation, but then didnt match the right bike with right passenger and basically let them take any bike they fancied instead.

Ive never used Avanti to carry a bike so I dont know if thats because theres a gigantic hole in Avantis process because it relies on people to be honest and only take their bike, or the guard screwed up and didnt check the reservation matched properly.

and that maybe just because Avanti trains are frequently late, and theres time pressure on dwell times in stations, which the whole cycle carriage thing creates more problems with.

I never used to use Anglia's special train carriage for that reason, which totally relied on people being honest fwiw so Avanti havent created a new thing, but because the whole process of getting the bike off the train, meant rushing down the platform to the special bike carriage, hoping the guard remembered you and was unlocking the door to get your bike out, which all easily added 5mins to their stop time, and trains dont usually stop in stations for 5mins, let alone an additional 5mins.

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notMyRealName | 1 month ago
5 likes

Damn, that sucks. I generally feel pretty relaxed with my bike on Avanti trains because the compartment is locked and I don't have to worry about people being grumpy with me for it being "in the way". I have been forgotten at the end of the line once or twice, especially if there's been a staff handover at some point, so I try to make a point of politely reminding the train manager of my existence a bit before my stop. Last time I did this he was quite chatty about the bikes and asked me which one was mine, I wonder if it was because of some internal communication after this happened, the timing lines up approximately.

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gekebiba | 1 month ago
4 likes

Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions and support. 

British Transport police were helpful, and collected a statement from me and the train manager, though it looks like despite the abundance of video recording, they might not do much with that except for "sharing with local police" who "might know something". 

I am still not sure how I could pursue the case with Avanti. Shall I complain to them directly? Does not look like charities like Cycle UK support such cases.

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Flâneur replied to gekebiba | 1 month ago
2 likes

Yes, obviously complain, a (registered) letter to the CEO perhaps? This should not have happened by Avanti's stated procedure.

British Cycling or Cycling UK legal cover (with membership) may support a claim. Were you a member of either at the time of the theft?

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gekebiba replied to Flâneur | 1 month ago
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thanks for the ideas.

yes, I was a member of Cycling UK. however, it looks like this membership provides only a discount for an additional theft insurance rather than such an insurance. Cycling UK provides legal help in case of an injury of damaged only as far as I can see

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brooksby | 1 month ago
1 like

Quote:

Avanti does not allow locking bikes on trains.

What does this mean?  You can't lock your bike to some part of the train, or you can't lock it to itself?  And, in either case, why not?

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

Avanti does not allow locking bikes on trains.

What does this mean?  You can't lock your bike to some part of the train, or you can't lock it to itself?  And, in either case, why not?

My guess is that they might conceivably need to move the bikes (e.g if handlebars got tangled) and they wouldn't be able to do that if they're locked.

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HLaB | 1 month ago
2 likes

SCUM! My colleague came into the office a bit bruised one day.  Some scum had tried to nick his Brompton from the train. He managed just to grab it and wrestle it off them. 

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john_smith replied to HLaB | 1 month ago
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And what happened to the would-be thief?

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HLaB replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
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Unfortunately they got away  7 

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essexian | 1 month ago
8 likes

I am really sorry to hear about your loss. I dislike travelling with Avanti for a number of reasons including the fact that it can be hard to keep an eye on your bike...whilst I have had at least three experiences where no one has been on hand to open the door for me at my destination station! 

However, I note your comment: "Avanti does not allow locking bikes on trains." I always lock my bike when travelling with a massive D lock. The way I read the sign is that you can't lock your bike to the train but locking the wheels to the frame etc doesn't seem to be banned. I would hope that if someone tried to carry a locked bike off of a train would be challenged by the Train/Station staff.... 

Finally, I've been on trains where I've booked and turned up to find the storage area full of "bikes*" without resevation slips: mostly into Birmingham. Its a madness. We need better bike spaces on trains...although these would quickly been filled up with suitcases, pushchairs and other general junk.

 

*they are mostly junk. 

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IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
2 likes

If bikes have to be booked on the train then - unless they paid cash at the ticket office - Avanti should have details of who else had a bike on that train. BTP should be able to identify the thief. That and CCTV from the stations where the thief got on and/or off.

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wtjs replied to IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
7 likes

BTP should be able to identify the thief

I foresee BTP following the example of the terrestrial police and resorting to the GDPR dodge: we can't tell you whether we hold that information as it could lead to the identification of a person who could then suffer a telling-off.

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open_roads replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
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Yes - or replying with "sorry, all of our officers are either off sick or attending a mandatory residential training course on preferred pronouns" 

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kevgravelkev | 1 month ago
9 likes

If you're a member of Cycling UK I'd get ont to their legal team with this.

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HoarseMann | 1 month ago
9 likes

Yes, I think they have failed in their duty of care to you here and I would pursue compensation.

You will need to report the theft (if not done so already) with BTP https://www.btp.police.uk/ to get a crime number.

It might also be worth registering it on the lost property website in case the thief dumps it: https://www.lostproperty.org/ and on https://www.bikeregister.com/

Avanti's website notes that a ticket is required to access the 'secure' area for bike storage and they will assist in retrieving your bicycle, that sounds like responsibility to me:

https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/travel-information/onboard/bikes

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IanGlasgow replied to HoarseMann | 1 month ago
7 likes

I agree with this. I've only ever travelled with my bike on trains where you can sit beside the bike. I accept responsibility for the bike in that situation.
From what I've read Avanti make you reserve a space for the bike, print the reservation and attach it to the bike so they can see whose bike it is. Passengers have no access without supervision from Avanti staff - so they're taking responsibility for the bike and preventing you from doing so yourself.

The wording on their website is about the "secure area" that only staff can access and the need to show your reservation to collect the bike.
"Your printed bike reservation will need to be shown to our team members to gain access to the train to board your bike, it will also be required to retrieve your bike on reaching your destination" - in this case they've let someone leave with a bike without checking their reservation matches the bike they've taken.

https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/travel-information/onboard/bikes

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wtjs replied to IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
4 likes

I've only ever travelled with my bike on trains where you can sit beside the bike

I must put in a commendation for Merseyrail here- excellent service from Southport down through Liverpool to Chester. I have travelled with a trailer both ways. Lots of places for bikes, although it can be hard work on the lifts. It's also easy going up the escalators, although I haven't yet braved a downwards trip.

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wycombewheeler replied to IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
3 likes

IanGlasgow wrote:

I agree with this. I've only ever travelled with my bike on trains where you can sit beside the bike. 

aside from the ridiculously small lockers, reservations that don't mean shit if someone get's their luggage in there first. My peeve with GWR is that when making a bike booking you must reserve a seat. That seat is almost certain not to be adjacent to the bike lockers.

Why would any cyclist want to be 3 carriages away from their bike?

Also impossible to book from Maidenhead to Bristol/Exeter with a bike booking. Bikes must be booked, bike bookings nead a seat reservation, but this is not possible on the short leg from Maidenhead to Reading which is a free for all. So two tickets must be bought, increasing the expense.

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Dnnnnnn replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
1 like

Try contacting them via Twitter direct messaging - I've used them to make bike reservations in the past and had very rapid, helpful replies. They'll probably tell you if there's bike space on the longer-distance train you want to book with one ticket covering two trains before you commit to booking. They may also be able to change your seat reservation to be near the bike storage.

More generally, DMs on Twitter seem very effective for getting rapid and helpful responses to all sorts of things. Not sure why but it's the only reason I retain a presence in Elon's house of hate.

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john_smith replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 month ago
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Via tw*tter? And then people are getting upset because the minimum age is being lowered. The world has gone nuts.

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Dnnnnnn replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
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Aren't you thinking of WhatsApp? Either way, what's the relevance here?

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john_smith replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 month ago
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You're right--that was the other one. The relevance is that people keep complaining about how damaging the platform is, yet they carry on using it.

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Rod Marton replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
2 likes

The good news is that GWR no longer insist on bike bookings. Though this doesn't solve all the other issues with carrying bikes on GWR trains.

For the Maidenhead to Bristol booking, it would probably work out cheaper to split the ticket at Didcot. It usually does.

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MattKelland replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
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GWR also allows you to make bike and seat reservations on its services yourself via your online account, regardless of where you got your ticket.

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