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Bike On The Train

  • 08-12-2020 5:37pm
    Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭


    Planning on doing the Royal Canal towpath from Mullingar to Dublin on Friday, can I take my bike on the train?

    Anyone want to join me?



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,724 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    You're not supposed to be leaving the county so that's a no

  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭rcklap

    BBBBut my bike. Yeah fair point, new plans so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 Eabbey

    As of the 18th we are allowed to leave the county, so you should be able to still plan this ride, unfortunately I'm not able to answer your train question, but I am following for an answer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,948 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    I's imagine it would be a lot better after a prolonged dry spell. I'd say it will be heavy going in places at the moment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,449 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    Dont know if this answers your question - I have never brought my bike to the train station and not been able to get a place for it on the train.

    If you are booking your ticket online there should be on an option for bike.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 32 Thecairn

    well, did you bring the bike on the train after?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    Don't know about the OP but two of us took the 9.05 Sligo train as far as Mullingar yesterday. We weren't able to book the bikes the night before but took a chance and, sure enough, the two spaces were already full when we arrived. Having previously been told to put bikes in the wheelchair area on a different trip, we did just that and the ticket checker ignored them. Had the space been needed, we would have moved but the train was largely empty except for the bike spaces.

    All the cyclists disembarked in Mullingar and two of us had a very pleasant 90km spin back to Dublin.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    mullingar to dublin to have the wind on your backs?

  • Registered Users Posts: 39 stones81

    Did you follow the Greenway all the way back if so is it suitable for road bikes

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,228 ✭✭✭Breezer

    There’s an entire thread on that here:

    In summary, it’s smooth surface as far as Maynooth.

    Then a mixture of compacted gravel and dirt/grass from Maynooth to Clonsilla, doable on a road bike if it isn’t soaking wet.

    Clonsilla to Castleknock is the Deep Sinking, tree roots and mud, not suitable for a road bike.

    From Castleknock to Spencer Dock it’s tarmac again.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    Thanks Breezer for linking the other thread.

    We stuck with the Greenway/towpath as far as Pike Bridge at the main entrance to Carton House, cut through the Estate before rejoining the canal at the county border at Confey. It was pretty slippy from there to Porterstown Road where we bypassed the Deep Sinking through some housing estates and picked up the towpath again at Castleknock Station. It was grand from there home.

    And yes Haphaphap, we only decided to do the route W to E the night before when we saw the forecast.

    Check out my activity on Strava:

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,948 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    Just curious (as someone who hasn't been on an intercity train this century) are there bike spaces/disabled spaces on each carriage or do you have to find a specific carriage?

    The last time I travelled by train with the bike, it went into what they called the Guard's van or mail van or something like that.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,724 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    That carriage seems to be specifically for the cork train.

    Most other trains have one carraige, sometimes 2 that have bike spaces for 2 bikes, but you can with caution fit 5-6 bikes if you do then opposite ends and trust your friends

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,413 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Specific carriage will have 2 bike spaces, make sure you tick for it when buying the ticket as you could get booted if busy

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    Most, but not all, of the Cork trains and the Belfast Enterprise trains have a guards van that will take plenty of bikes but you might want to bring a bungee cord to stop the bike moving around. The InterCity trains have just two bike spaces per four carriages. From my experience, these are often full even when I have pre-booked a space and I have yet to find someone to agree to move. On the tourist routes the bikes are often festooned with panniers so squeezing an extra bike in as suggested above isn't possible. I once encountered an unbooked bike that was so heavy the owner couldn't lift it on to the rack but wedged it in diagonally taking up both spaces. I can't imagine how you would fit 5-6 bikes in without encroaching on the corridor - 3 was the most we managed on our trip to Longford a few years ago.

    You're allowed bring bikes on Commuter trains and the Dart but not during rush hours. I have always found IE staff to be very helpful in suggesting alternatives when bike spaces are full. There was however a report here of a number of bikes having to be removed from a train when an officious inspector started quoting health & safety legislation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,948 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    There was however a report here of a number of bikes having to be removed from a train when an officious inspector started quoting health & safety legislation.

    I would hope that they'd inform the cyclists that they were going to do that rather than simply throwing them onto some random platform along the way.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭tnegun

    You can get booted from an empty train too, myself and 6 other cyclists were asked to leave at Maynooth on the first Sunday morning Sligo train last September. The guy on the counter in Maynooth warned us that the checker on the train was notorious for it so we removed wheels and made the bikes fit in the luggage racks but he was having none of it. He also insisted that bikes be removed from the wheelchair spot despite assurances that we would get off if the space was required during the journey he then insisted that only 2 bikes could use the dedicated bike spot despite 4 fitting without issue.

    I think that was me his line was that the bikes would impede a safe evacuation, fair enough if they're in the doorways and vestibules but he wouldn't even entertain them in the luggage racks so it's just an excuse and he was quick to mention the gardai too so no doubt loves creating conflict.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,421 ✭✭✭Gerry

    What a fupping baxter. Did you make a complaint, tweet irish rail, etc.. for all the difference it would make

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,450 ✭✭✭jebidiah

    I did the greenway to Longford last summer and had trouble with getting my bike on the train. I tried to get on to a train from Longford to Dublin at around 4 pm on the Sunday, and not only was it packed, but the two bike spaces were taken, and there were two "conductors" on the train. One was getting off, and as a fellow cyclist was fairly sound and was telling me that there are plans to add bike carriages (like those on the Cork line) to that route in future due to the greenway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    Unfortunately adding bike carriages isn't a simple matter as the Cork train has the bike/luggage room in the engine carriage whereas all the other InterCity trains have the engines integrated under the floor of regular carriages. Refitting some of those regular carriages by removing a bank of four seats and installing more bike racks is probably the solution but IE will need to be convinced it makes economic sense. Alternatively, they need to be told to do it by the Government/Minister for Transport.

    The Cork Mark 4 train:

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,724 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    The way they have the racks to me seems limiting to. Surely that same space can store 4-5 bikes vertically if they lock in against the carriage wall

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭tnegun

    Yeah I complained and was just fobbed off with

    "Thank you for your e mail.

    The 09.38 train from Maynooth yesterday was the Inter-City train to Sligo. Bicycles can only be carried on this service when they have been booked in advance. Staff have been advised that this rule must be strictly observed in the interest of customer safety as the bikes must be secured in the relevant bike racks."

    I responded with

    "Do Irish rail have any plans to address the lack of bike capacity? Running a near empty train on a Sunday morning and removing half the passengers because they had bikes seems counter intuitive to me? Also what's the issue with dismantled bikes in a luggage rack? They take up less space that some large suitcases! 

    I'm not trying to be difficult but it seems to me that with some effort more bikes could be accommodated on off peak trains."

    and got this final reply

    "For safety reasons bikes must be secured in the bike storage area of Inter-City services. On commuter trains bikes are permitted at off peak travel. Please see section on our website for full details. There is no doubt that extra capacity is required since the opening of the Greenway, however as you can appreciate in order to provide extra bike capacity it would involve substantial investment from the NTA.  Under the national development plan, we are currently progressing a major order of 600 new carriages, which will increase bike spaces on certain routes where needed."

    As far as Irish rail are concerned they'll wait for the new carriages which AFAIK are identical to the existing ones and are just intermediate cars so will have the same layout as existing so might add 2 more spots to the train!!

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,413 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    I once removed both wheels and locked them each side of the frame and carried it through. On intercity commuter trains we often have 4 bikes in the 2 bike space and there is another hidden space they don't tell you about unless your nice. The H&S reason, once it is not impeding a walkway and is secure, is complete BS but again, the letter of the law rather than the spirit seems to be something that the less pleasant in society thrive on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,421 ✭✭✭Gerry

    the last bit of your reply, about the new carriages is particularly galling. probably for the public transport forum but it would be good to get some confirmation on that..

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭tnegun

    From what I understand 41 new intercity carriages have been ordered to slot into the middle of the intercity DMU trains 22000. From what I've heard/read these were ordered to the same spec as previous so I doubt have any more than a max of 2 additional bike spots. The 600 in the reply I'm sure relates to the new stock for the Dart services so irrelevant to the Sligo line(North of Maynooth if Dart West ever happens) but either way there are no plans to add bike capacity that I can see. I emailed some TDs at the time too but nothing came of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    That's what I feared and it's very disappointing. I raised the issue on the Royal Canal Greenway Facebook page which is run by Waterways Ireland and asked that they request Iarnrod Eireann to add additional spaces for bikes on their trains. As before on other issues, there was no reply from WI. There was a time when that site was run by local enthusiasts and it was much more proactive in pushing for improvements.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,413 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Thankfully the inspectors on my route are fairly reasonable, they will give a warning but so long as everyone can stash them in a safe manner, nothing is said. Nice common sense. The sligo train was always a mixed bag for inspectors, from normal people to arseh*les.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,948 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    Thanks to the expertise of Mercian Pro, we managed to neatly get 4 bikes into the 2 bike space on the Rosslare train this morning. We encountered a very pleasant Irish Rail employee who was convinced it couldn't be done. He was amazed and even took his own picture for future reference. (He also warned us about cranky 'jobsworths' who are sometimes on the route).

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Nice looking Topstone 1? to the fore there, going off road?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,948 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    Not mine so I'm not sure which model it is but it's a Cannondale Gravel alright. I'll have to take a closer look next time. It was on it's maiden voyage. We didn't go off road today.