Can I take my bike on the train?

Yes, you can take your bike on the train, and more importantly, you should take your bike on the train! Thanks to Trainline’s new bike reservation feature, travelling with your bike on the train is simple and stress-free.

Trains connect some of the UK’s best cycle routes, putting cyclists within easy reach of thrilling mountain bike tracks and peaceful journeys through the countryside. Also, if you’re a commuter, taking your bike on the train is usually the cheapest and greenest way to travel.

Although the types of bikes allowed on trains can vary. Fully folding bicycles are allowed on all trains without restrictions or reservations. Reservations are sometimes required for full-size bicycles on certain services, and there are also restrictions on Peak-time travel. From 1st June 2023, all e-scooters, e-unicycles, e-skateboards and hoverboards are not allowed on trains in the UK. Please note that electric bikes and are still permitted. 

With so many different train companies, restrictions, and requirements, travelling with your bike on the train can be very complicated. To make things easier, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on everything cyclists need to know about bikes on trains, including how to book a bike reservation, how to board the train with your bike and much more.

What do I need to know about bikes on trains?

Are you interested in taking your bike on the train, but not sure how? Here are some key things to understand about bikes on trains: 

Bikes on trains

In this guide, we frequently talk about bikes on trains. Therefore, it’s important to note that when we talk about bikes on trains, we’re referring to push bikes with two wheels – either static or folding.

Be aware that the following are not covered by the term bike:

  • tandems
  • tricycles
  • motorcycles
  • e-scooters

Bikes travel for free

In the UK, there’s no charge for taking your bike on the train, but depending on which train company you’re travelling with, you might need to reserve a space for your bike. Jump to our train operator section for more on this.

Not only is it free to travel with bikes on the train in the UK, but many train stations offer secure bicycle parking that’s also free of charge. Some of the larger stations around the country are introducing Cycle Hubs which may require a one-off fee for access, which includes a key fob to store your bike there.

Peak-time bike restrictions

Many train companies have restrictions on bringing full-sized bikes on trains during Peak hours, especially for services heading into busy commuter destinations such as London or Edinburgh. The actual time varies between train companies, but Peak hours are usually classed as Monday to Friday, morning until 10:00 and then between 16:00-19:00 in the evenings. Bank holidays are excluded from this.

Fold-up bikes are allowed on all trains at any time of day.

Travel sustainably

Compared to cars and planes, trains are by far the most sustainable mode of transport. However, trains can’t always take you the full length of your journey. Therefore, travelling with your bike is an environmentally-friendly way to get from your location to the train station, and after your train journey, from the train station to your destination.

With Trainline, booking a cycle reservation on your train journey is simple.

How do I book a bike reservation with Trainline?

Booking a bike reservation for your train journey with Trainline is easy to do and best of all - completely free! 

While all bikes can travel on trains for free in the UK, you may need to book a space on board if it’s a full-sized bike as there’s limited space – usually 3 to 6 spaces per train. In general, trains with a seat reservation system also have a bike reservation system. These tend to be long-distance mainline and intercity services.

Here’s how you book a bike reservation with Trainline:

  1. Search for your single or return journey in the journey planner.
  2. Look for the bike icon in the search results. We’ll show you how many bike spaces are available and whether a reservation is required.
  3. Once you’ve chosen which service to travel on, we’ll give you the option to reserve a bike space, if one is required and available. We’ll also show you information on space availability and how many spaces you can book per person or group.
  4. Then, you can choose how to receive your train ticket. Currently, you must collect train tickets with a bike reservation coupon from a ticket machine at the train station.
  5. Before purchasing, we’ll show you the ticket, so you can check that you have reserved the correct number of bike spaces.
  6. Once you’ve purchased your ticket, we’ll remind you to arrive at the station early and collect your bike coupon.

How do I board a train with my bike?

Once you've booked your bike reservation, you can look forward to the journey! Before travelling, check out these tips on how to board the train with your bike.

Where bike reservations are compulsory or recommended, the train will have a dedicated cycle carriage onboard. Before your journey, we recommend you:

  1. Arrive at the station at least 15 minutes before your train is due to leave.

  2. Collect your train tickets and bike reservation coupon from the ticket machine.

  3. Ask platform staff for the location of the cycle space, so you can board the correct carriage (you may need staff to let you in via a crew door on certain trains).

  4. Board the train with your bike and place your bike in the reserved space.


Which train companies require a bike reservation?

Depending on where you’re travelling in the UK, different train companies have different rules on bringing bikes aboard. Check below to see which requirements and restrictions are in place for each train operator.

Do I need to reserve a space on the train for a folding bike?

If you want to take a bike on the train, folding bikes are a great option due to their size and weight!

Fully folding bikes with wheels up to 85cm are allowed on all trains – no restrictions and no need to reserve a space. The only rule is that you must be able to carry the bike onto the train and fit it in the luggage rack.

Some train companies have specific rules about bringing folding bikes onto their services, these include:

  • London Overground: a limit of one folding bike per vestibule area during Peak times.
  • Stansted Express and c2c: folding bikes should be carried in a protective carrying case.
  • East Midlands Railway, LNER and South Western Railway: folding bikes must be stored as luggage.
  • Lumo: only folding bikes allowed onboard. 

Trainline tip: When buying a fold-up bike, practice collapsing and assembling it a few times at home first. You don’t want your first attempt to be on a busy station platform during rush hour!

Can I travel with my bike on trains in London?

You can take your full-sized bike on trains around London, as long as you avoid travelling at Peak times. Peak times vary depending on the train company and station you’re travelling to, these include:

National Rail trains travelling into London: Monday to Friday, between 07:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00.

London Overground: Monday to Friday, between 07:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00 (except on public holidays). Except, trains leaving Liverpool Street between 07:30-09:30 and arriving at Liverpool Street between 16:00-19:00.

London Underground and the DLR: Monday to Friday, between 07:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00 (except on public holidays). Some Underground lines don’t allow bikes at any time, mostly through central London, this includes:

  • Victoria Line – the entire line
  • Northern Line – the entire line, except between High Barnet and East Finchley, Edgware and Colindale and Hendon Central and Golders Green
  • Jubilee Line – between Finchley Road and Canning Town
  • Central Line – between White City and Leyton and between Wanstead and Newbury Park
  • Piccadilly Line – between Oakwood and Barons Court and between Hounslow West and all Heathrow stops
  • Bakerloo Line – between Queen’s Park and Elephant and Castle
  • London Trams – the entire line

Transport for London: between Monday to Friday, between 07:30-10:00 on trains arriving into Paddington, 07:45-09:45 on trains arriving into Stratford or Liverpool Street, between 16:30-19:00 on trains leaving Paddington and between 16:30-18:30 on trains leaving Stratford or Liverpool Street, (except on public holidays).

Fold-up bikes are allowed at all times on all services.

Why should I travel with my bike on the train?

If you’re planning a trip with your bike and not sure which mode of transport to take, choose the sustainable option - choose train!

As cycling becomes increasingly popular as both a sustainable mode of transport and a hobby, train companies around the UK are focusing on ways to make it easier to bring your bike onboard.

On LNER’s new Azuma trains, they’ve included more spaces for bike storage throughout the train than ever before (there’s even room for a Tandem up to 2.5m long if you remove the wheels).

Scotrail recently announced new bike-friendly carriages – able to store 20 bikes – will be coming to the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Mallaig next year, to help support the growth of cycle tourism in Scotland.

There’s no doubt about it – the train is the most sustainable way to travel long distances! Not only is it one of the quickest ways to travel, but the train also emits significantly less CO₂ compared to other modes of transport, such as planes and cars.

Heading out on your bike this summer? Discover top destinations, travel tips, money-saving ideas and much more in our summer train travel guide.

Bike policies on major train companies

Hoping to travel with one of the UK's major train operators? Check out their policies on travelling with a bike:

Avanti West Coast

Reservations: compulsory on all services

Bike spaces: 4

Avanti welcome bikes on board, but there are normally just 4 bike spaces on board. You’re best to book in advance, but you can also book a bike space at the station.

East Midlands Railway

Reservations: compulsory on services to London and between Liverpool and Norwich

Bike spaces: 2

Bike reservations are compulsory on the busiest EMR routes, as indicated above. Bike spaces must be reserved ahead of time – they cannot be booked on the day.

South Western Railway

Reservations: compulsory on services to Salisbury/Exeter/Bristol

Bike spaces: at the discretion of train staff

South Western Railway admit bikes on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Bikes are not permitted at peak commuter hours on trains to/from London.


Reservations: not mandatory

Bike spaces: at the discretion of train staff

Bikes are allowed on all Off-Peak Southeastern services, as well as weekends. Bikes are not permitted at peak commuter hours on trains to/from London.

Can I travel with my bike on replacement bus services?

If you’re planning on travelling on the train with your bike, there’s a chance your service might get cancelled and replaced by a bus replacement service.

Where should I travel by train with my bike in the UK?

Want to take your bike on a train journey, but not sure where? You can take your bike on one of these popular train journeys:

Frequently asked questions

Still not found what you were looking for? Take a look at the answers for some of the most frequently asked questions about bikes on trains! 

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