Railwatch

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Railwatch 075 - April 1998

Bike friendly

Cyclists wanting to travel to the Lake District by train face a series of hurdles.

Many had trouble booking their bikes and two-thirds experienced problems loading bikes or worried about finding space for them.

Many of the people who drove to the Lakes with their bikes on the car were unaware that they could have used the train.

Now a Friends of the Lake District report urges operators and the tourist board to co-operate on a strategy to encourage cyclists to leave their cars behind.

"I am surprised any cyclists use the train considering the lack of space and confusing booking procedures," said James Newell, co-ordinator of the Lake District Transport Strategy.

The report costs £5 (post free) from Friends of the Lake District, Number 3, Yard 77, Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4ED

Elsewhere years of campaigning by cyclists for a more sensible attitude appears at last to be paying off. The Franchise Director has been ordered by the Government to ensure better provision for cyclists.

A grant of £150,000 from the Scottish Cycling Challenge Fund, with £150,000 each from ScotRail and Porterbrook will pay for improvements to class 158 and 156 trains.

They will be able to carry four cycles per two-car unit. The hated £3 cycle fare is also to be abolished, although it will still be necessary to reserve space on the Express and remote services.

Great Western has increased cycle provision from three to six on each train and cut the fee to £1. Thames Trains is modifying Turbos for cycle racks.

The first cycle ramps in a British station were installed on the footbridge steps at Blackhorse Road in Walthamstow, London. The ramps, funded by the local council, are widely used on the continent. But the local council has had to pay £2,000 each to Railtrack and Silverlink to cover legal fees to amend the lease!

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