London North East Railway (LNER) says it is working to identify where modifications can be made to the cycle storage on some of its new trains after Cycling UK said that the system now in use was “downright dangerous”.
Not only is bike space limited on the latest generation of high-speed trains rolled out by LNER and Great Western Railway (GWR), it is also necessary to hang bikes vertically from hooks that are unsuitable for wheels wider than those of a typical road bike.
We first reported on the challenges of this particular system in May 2018 and our own Jack Sexty documented his attempt to bring a bike on a GWR train yesterday in our live blog. (Jack delivered a one-word review. It was not a positive review.)
Cycling UK’s Sam Jones described the provision on GWR trains as a “broom cupboard masquerading as cycle storage”.
The Scotsman reports that boarding an LNER train in Dunbar which used the same system, the charity’s head of development for Scotland, Suzanne Forup, tweeted:
Wow, new Azuma @LNER on 08.56 from Dunbar a complete bike shambles - we couldn't get my standard 700 wheels into hook and took two guards to close other door. Can't see how this will encourage cycle tourism or sustainable transport integration... @transcotland pic.twitter.com/9jzN8gofbS
— Suzanne Forup (@backonmybike) October 1, 2019
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said the design was “downright dangerous,” but revealed LNER had accepted the need to improve it.
“Lifting a bike to reach an overhead hook, on a moving train and with other passengers around you, is simply not safe,” he said.
An LNER spokesperson said: “We gather feedback from customers with bikes and cycling organisations to help us understand how we can make potential improvements.
“We have also been working with Hitachi Rail and the [UK] Department for Transport to identify where modifications can be made to cycle storage.”
Another rail operator, ScotRail, has been receiving mixed reviews for its efforts to accommodate cyclists.
New bike-friendly carriages will be coming to the West Highland Line next year in a bid to encourage more cycle tourism. However, storage on the operator’s refurbished inter-city trains has been described by the Scottish Government’s active nation commissioner, Lee Craigie, as a “disaster”.
“The wheels don’t fit on the hooks and you can’t get more than one bike in the space,” she said.
Craigie said that while on some services ScotRail has excelled, on the Inverness line, “travelling with a bike has been stressful at best and impossible at worst.”
She added: “Thankfully, ScotRail are listening and I’ve had some very encouraging conversations.”
A spokesperson said: “We’re absolutely committed to engaging with the commissioner and other key groups about cycling topics.
“Cyclists are a key consumer group for ScotRail, and we want to enhance their experience when travelling with us.”