True stories from the Great Railway Disaster

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme No 5: so you want to take your bicycle?
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The Independent Online
Cyclists and cycling groups have long been campaigning for better

access to trains for bicycles. However, with the introduction of many new trains that do not have guard's vans, the situation has been getting worse rather than

better, as David Keep recently found out. Two weeks ago, he travelled by train from Crewkerne in Somerset to visit a friend near Newmarket. He wanted to take his cycle as the house he was visiting is 8 miles from Newmarket. As South West trains were unable to sell him a through ticket to Newmarket, he bought a return to Cambridge and the bicycle was taken at a cost of £3 each way.

When he got to Cambridge, he bought a ticket to Newmarket but was told that he would have to ask the "driver" about the bicycle as there was a limit of one per train. However, when he went to take the train, the guard refused him entry as Anglian Railways has recently introduce a new regulation, banning all cycles between 3.30pm and 5.30pm because, apparently, "of the possible danger to other passengers". It left him with the choice of waiting two and a half hours or cycling 22 miles. He was forced to resort to a taxi big enough to fit his bike in the boot.

Mr Keep found a leaflet on Anglian's services which did not

mention the new regulation. He says: "Although I have a car, travel by bicycle and train is my preferred mode on grounds of convenience, comfort, cost and environmental consideration." He adds that stations do not have proper secure facilities for cycles and therefore it is risky to leave them there. He has written to Anglian Railways and awaits a reply.