Using a bicycle and train combination can offer a healthier, more pleasant and often cheaper and quicker way of getting to work or for leisure and holiday purposes.
Unfortunately each rail operator has different policies. To avoid potential problems pick up a copy of the latest ‘National Rail Cycling by Train’ leaflet from the station. Its also available to read and download at www.nationalrail.co.uk
What prompted this article is the announcement that Great Western Railway is about to change its cycle policy.
Great Western Railway
From 16 May it will be mandatory to make a reservation on all their High Speed trains. Locally this means their faster trains operating on the London Paddington to Hereford route. You’ll need to make your reservation at least 2 hours before either by phoning 0345 7000 125 between 7am and 10pm or at a station ticket office.
Storage for six bikes will be in Carriage A where you’ll need to secure your bike with the strap provided, but not lock it. You’re also advised to tell the train manager your destination.
On their local trains there’s only space for 2 bikes and reservations can’t be made. No bikes will be allowed on trains arriving at London Paddington Monday to Friday between 07.45 and 09.45 and departing 16.30 and 19.00.
London Midland is the other main operator of trains through Worcester with services from Hereford to Birmingham and onward to Liverpool and London Euston.
Their policy is less complicated, but you can’t book a space in advance. They accept two bikes on each train and if the train is quiet the Conductor may allow more. The exception is services arriving in London Euston between 07.00 and 09.59 and departing from London Euston between 16.00 and 18.59 when no bikes are allowed.
The good news is that its free to take a bike on any train on the national network. There’s also no need to book and no restrictions on taking a fully folding bike such as a Bromptom.