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Carriages are aimed at easing overcrowding and helping support growth of cycle tourism in Scotland

ScotRail has taken to social media to highlight new bike-friendly carriages that will be coming to the West Highland Line next year.

With space for 20 bike, the carriages – the first of their type in the UK – will also be able to carry bulky sports equipment such as ski bags, says the rail operator.

The carriages, which are being fitted out by Ayrshire-based Brodie Engineering, will also have seating areas complete with power sockets and Wi-Fi.

Five such carriages will enter service on the line and will be added to existing trains, rather than passenger carriages being removed.

The rolling stock will operate on the West Highland Line between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.

The aim is to ease overcrowding on the route as well as supporting growth of cycle tourism in Scotland over the coming decades.

Their introduction follows a 2017 Scottish Government report in which it said it was exploring “introducing dedicated carriages for cycles and other outdoor sports equipment on rural routes in the north and west” of the country.

The coming introduction of the carriages contrasts with the situation elsewhere on the UK rail network, with the latest generation of high-speed trains causing problems for cyclists wishing to take their bikes on those services.

> Cycling UK slams "awful" cycle storage on GWR's high-speed trains

Besides limited spaces, the new trains, rolled out by GWR and LNER also require bikes to be hung vertically from hooks, and which turn out to be unsuitable for wheels wider than those of a typical road bike.

Moreover, people who lack the strength to put their bicycle on the hook, or who have heavy or non-standard sized bicycles are simply unable to use the services.

Even a run-of-the-mill hybrid-style bike can be very difficult to store on the hooks – causing train departures to be delayed as cyclists, sometimes with the help of on-board crew, try to put their bicycle in the designated space.

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.