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UK cycle-rail journeys set to hit 50 million a year

Rail Delivery Group launches campaign to promote its PlusBike initiative

Improved facilities for cyclists at railway stations across Britain such as secure parking and bike hire facilities have helped the number of cycle-rail journeys in the country approach 50 million a year, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The news comes as the organisation, whose members include train operating companies and Network Rail, launches a new campaign to promote its PlusBike initiative, designed to make it easier for people to plan and undertake journeys that combine cycling with train travel – whether for commuting or leisure.

According to the RDG, the approximately 50 million cycle-rail journeys made in 2015 represents a 40 per cent increase on 2010.

During the same period there has been a 75 per cent rise in journeys where a bike is parked at a station, with the number of cycle parking spaces set to treble from 25,000 in 2010 to 75,000 in 2017.

Part of that growth is due to facilities such as the recently opened CyclePoint in Cambridge, which has space for 3,000 bicycles as well as a branch of Rutland Cycling.

> New Rutland Cycling store opens at Cambridge CyclePoint

Information available on PlusBike includes the number of cycle parking spaces at individual train stations, as well as details regarding taking bikes on trains such as whether a reservation is required.

As previously reported on road.cc, just this week Great Western Railway has introduced compulsory reservations for bikes (other than folding bicycles) on its high-speed services, meaning that even if spaces are available cyclists who haven’t booked in advance will not be able to take their bike on board.

> Great Western Railway introduces mandatory cycle reservations for high speed routes

RDG’s managing director of customer experience, Jacqueline Starr, said: “Record numbers of people are getting on their bikes as part of their rail journeys.

“We have more cycle spaces at stations than ever before, and PlusBike shows people just how easy it is to take your cycle to the station or on the train, helping cycles play a key part of the customer journey.

“It’s great to see cycle-rail’s growth in popularity, and train operators and Network Rail are doing lots to improve facilities, working with government and local authorities.”

PlusBike can be accessed via the National Rail website and is also available as an app for Android and iOS devices.

The RDG added that in partnership with the Cycle-Rail Working Group, it has also published the Cycle Rail Toolkit 2 which it says “shares best practice and will help them make improvements to support and encourage even more cycle-rail journeys.”

> Brighton station and British Transport Police among winners at National Cycle Rail Awards

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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