Bikes on Trains

Taking your bike by train gives you the freedom to explore London and its countryside as well as  places  further afield.

You can find out train times and fares – as well as the names of train operators – from www.nationalrail.co.uk

Local and Regional Trains

In general, you can take your bike free of charge on trains throughout SE England.  The main restriction is that you cannot take your bike (unless folded) on trains arriving in London in the morning weekday peak period or leaving London in the evening peak period.  Similar restrictions apply to trains arriving at or departing from Cambridge and Brighton.

Individual operators’ definitions of ‘peak period’ vary as follows:

Operator

Morning

Evening

From

To

From

To

Southern (see note 1)

07:00

10:00

16:00

19:00

South West Trains (see note 2)

07:15

10:00

16:45

19:00

Thameslink

07:00

10:00

16:00

19:00

Notes:

  1. Similar restrictions apply to trains arriving at / departing from Brighton at these times throughout their journey.
  2. There are currently no restrictions on services beyond Guildford and Hook except on Waterloo – Salisbury – Exeter trains, where reservations are required (no charge).  Bicycles cannot be carried on services from Clapham Junction to Richmond – Hounslow – Feltham between 07:45 and 09:00.

Depending on the type of train, you may have to:

  • Put your bike in a designated area (look for a bicycle logo on the outside of the carriage; failing that, a wheelchair).
  • Stand with your bike near the (sliding) doors.

Check with the operator or the blue pages of the National Rail timetable if you wish to take a tandem or a tricycle on a train.

Save money on local train journeys by buying a Network Railcard.  These cost £24, last a year and entitle you – and up to three people travelling with you – to a 1/3 discount on fares in S.E. England.  You can also buy a six-zone one-day Travelcard from national rail stations for the price of a four-zone card.  The main restrictions are that you cannot travel before 10:00 or with a ticket costing less than £10 on Mondays to Fridays; nor can you travel on Eurostar, the Gatwick Express or Heathrow Express.

Long Distance Trains

There are generally no restrictions on folded bikes, except that First Great Western insist on their being in a container or case.

You can take a non-folding bicycle on most long-distance trains, though you will usually need to reserve a place.  This usually free of charge.

Bicycles are generally carried in a luggage space at one end of the train.

Check with the operator or the blue pages of the National Rail timetable if you wish to take a tandem or a tricycle on a train.

You will usually be able to secure the cheapest fare for yourself by booking for a specific train at least a week in advance.  Train operators are now reintroducing the facility to book cycle spaces on line through their own web sites. First Great Western and East Coast both have this facility. If you are using other operators, check carefully that your cycle space has been booked before parting with your money!

The Underground and Overground

You can take an unfolded bicycle with you free of charge on certain sections of the London Underground (see below). You cannot travel between the hours of 07:30 – 09:30, and 16:00 – 19:00, from Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Bicycles are permitted on all sections  of the Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, as well as the Overground.

Bicycles are permitted on other lines where they do not run through tunnels.

Bicycles must not be taken on moving escalators.