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Combining rail and cycling

If you live too far away from your destination to cycle the whole way, why not consider combining cycling with travelling by train?

National Rail encourages the integrated use of cycles and trains - two convenient and environmentally friendly forms of transport. 

- National Rail website
The benefits of cycling to the station are:
  • Lower cost of travel than by car, and even bus
  • Aside from walking, cycling to the station consistently offers the most reliable journey time for the customer
  • You feel healthier when you cycle or walk to the station

Bikes are allowed free of charge on most British trains at most times of day. However, there’s usually a limit of how many bikes can be carried per train, so you may need to reserve a bike space. Different train operating companies have different rules about cycle carriage, and some companies ban bikes on particular services at certain times, such as commuter trains into London.

Nearly a third of rail users and nearly half (47%) of those who drove and parked at the station, would like to use an alternative means of travel to or from the station

- Passenger Focus 2010, National Station Improvement Programme Final Report
Check out National Rail’s Cycling by Train leaflet for information about the different companies policies and contact details.

Having a folding bike will allow you take your bicycle on any train at any time. If you’re taking a full size bike on the train with you look for the signs showing you where to stand on the platform before your train arrives, or ask a member of staff. The other option is to use a different bike at each end of your train journey, and many train operating companies are encouraging this approach with more secure  bike parking and bike hire schemes.

Some other useful sites and apps:

  • Brompton Docks - fold up bike hire scheme which can be used at many stations.
  • Bike and Go - these are bike hire scheme run by Mersey Rail, Northern Rail and Greater Anglia Trains along their routes.
  • PlusBus tickets and Smart Ticketing (Oyster Card) to increase public transport use.
  • National Rail Enquiries’ Cycle Rail App  – Allows you to easily and quickly find out about: cycling facilities at stations (such as cycle parking); the rules for taking bikes on their journey; the number of cycle spaces on the train; and whether they need to reserve a space for their bike.

More information on the work Sustrans does with train operating companies, Network Rail and local authorities to improve journeys to the train station.