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Combining rail and cycling

Folding bike being taken on to a train

You can take a folding bike on any train at any time.

Man and women waiting to alight train with bicycle

National Rail's PlusBike makes planning a combined bike and rail journey easier.

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:
  • cost - lower cost of travel than by car, and even bus
  • convenience and speed - aside from walking, cycling to the station consistently offers the most reliable journey time for the customer
  • healthier - 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 ahead of travelling. Different train operating companies have different rules about cycle carriage, and some companies restrict bikes on particular services at certain times, such as commuter trains into London.

The number of cycle rail journeys in which a bicycle is parked at the station has increased by 75% since 2010.

- National Rail

To help plan and make your cycle-rail journey easier, National Rail have created PlusBike - a one-stop shop for information about your combined cycle and rail trip. PlusBike can be easily accessed via the National Rail website or mobile app. 

Information on PlusBIke is shown specific to your journey, or by station and includes:

  • cycle facilities at stations, along with the number of cycle parking spaces
  • cycle-hire at stations or nearby with links directly to them
  • cycle carriage rules, including taking cycles on a train specific to your rail journey
  • whether a cycle reservation is required or available.

Check out National Rail’s Cycling by Train leaflet for information about the policiies and contact details of different train operating companies.

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 than ever before.

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 schemes 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. A PlusBus discount bus ticket give you unlimited travel around the origin and/or destination of your rail journey on participating operators' services. When you buy PlusBus with your train ticket you pay for your whole journey by public transport in one transaction.
  • PlusBike - National Rail Enquiries' one-stop shop for information about combined cycle and rail journeys. It allows you to easily and quickly find information to plan your journey. 
  • Santander Cycles - a London hire bike scheme. Simply go to any docking station with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.

Find out about the work we do with train operating companies, Network Rail and local authorities to improve journeys to the train station.

Read  our policy position on cycles on trains