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

 

Can I take my bike on the train?

Yes, you can. 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.

Bikes travel for free

In the UK, there’s no charge for taking your bike on the train, but depending on which Train Operating Company (TOC) you’re travelling with, you might need to reserve a space for your bike

Not only is it free to travel with bikes on the train in the UK, many train stations have secure bicycle parking that’s also free of charge.

Peak-time bike restrictions

Commuters, take note… During peak travel times (weekdays 07:00 – 10:00 and 16:00 – 19:00), full-sized bikes aren’t allowed on trains to and from London. This includes all London Overground trains.

You also can’t bring full-sized bikes on weekday local rail services to and from Cardiff between 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00.

Why not consider a fold-up bike? They’re allowed on all trains at any time of day.

Fold-up bikes

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.

Fully folding commuter bikes are very popular and are available from all major bike shops. An entry-level bike will cost you around £130 to £300. High-end folding bikes range from £500 – £1,000.

More expensive folding bikes are usually lighter to carry and quicker to fold away, which becomes important on busy trains.

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!

Reserve your bike space

While all bikes go on the train for free, sometimes you may need to book a space onboard for your full-sized bike. All trains have limited bike space, typically three to six spaces per service. In general, trains with a seat reservation system also have a bike reservation system. These tend to be long-distance mainline and intercity services. 

Depending on where you travel, different operators have different rules. Bike reservations are compulsory on the following TOCs:

Bike reservations are recommended, but not compulsory, on the following TOCs, where bikes can travel without a reservation, subject to space: 

Reservations aren’t available for operators not listed above and the majority of local services, for example, Northern rail services and Southern railways. On these trains, bikes are permitted, provided there’s space. They must be stored so they don’t block aisles or doors though.

Making a reservation: 

  • If you’ve already got a booking and you’d like to add a bike space, call 0333 202 2222 (or 0044 333 202 2222 if you’re calling from outside the UK). For data protection, we can only talk to the lead booker.
  • If you’re making a new booking and you’re planning to bring a bike with you, call us on 0871 244 1545 (Calls cost 13p a minute plus your phone company’s access charge. Calls from outside the UK may cost more.)

Finding the onboard bike carriage

Where bike reservations are compulsory or recommended, the train will have a dedicated cycle carriage. Ask platform staff for the location of the cycle space, so you can board the correct carriage.

Bikes on replacement bus services

Only fold-up bikes can be taken on rail replacement bus services. Check in advance to see if there’s any planned engineering work, especially if you’re travelling at the weekend, otherwise, it may be a long ride home!

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