Cycle protest at Eurostar flagship

Cycle parking at St Pancras Credit: Camden Cycling Campaign

UPDATE: For a report on the St Pancras protest, please follow the link on the right.

St Pancras International is to be circled by demonstrators on bicycles, assembling outside the German Gymnasium, Pancras Road, for 8.30am on the first day of public Eurostar services - Wednesday 14th November.

The demonstration will gather outside the German Gymnasium from 8am then will move off at 8.30am to cycle anti-clockwise round the flagship station.  The ride will pause for a minute's silence at the spot by Camley Street where last December Italian Emma Foa was crushed to death by a Channel Tunnel Rail Link lorry while cycling to work.  Members of her family are due to attend.

After going round anti-clockwise the ride will go round clockwise, walking where two-way cycling is currently not permitted.  There will be photo-calls at 8.30am and when the ride ends at 9.30am, both by the German Gymnasium.

Campaigners from the Camden and City groups of the London Cycling Campaign are calling for the highway authorities, Transport for London and the London Borough of Camden, with whom they met last week, to make urgent improvements including a 20mph speed limit around all of the station area – set to become the busiest interchange in Europe – plus completion of missing two-way links to the London Cycle Network.  By comparison, Eurostar's old home at Waterloo station, a mere 15 minutes ride by bike away was linked directly to the National Cycle Network.

Besides safe access, the campaign has called for carriage of cycles on Eurostar and secure cycle parking at the flagship station.

The campaign has already secured a partial victory through a commitment by Network Rail to install racks for 100 cycles the night before the opening, promising to expand the facility as demand grows. In addition, Eurostar has promised to enable customers by early 2008 to reserve cycles onto the same train that they are travelling on rather than the current “within 24 hours”, becoming the first high speed service in Europe to permit cycles on all its trains. It will update its website by the 14th to include cycling information such as the Vélib hire scheme in Paris.

At present there are only 30 unsecured 'wheelbender' loops at the furthest end of the car park. Camden Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Jean Dollimore said:
“Proper stands for 100 bikes is definitely a step in the right direction but the huge demand at other London stations shows we’re likely to need a lot more. Rotterdam's new railway station is to have 8,000 while Cambridge is being expanded from 2,000 to 3,000.”

Participant Mark Whitby, formerly president in 2001 of the Institution of Civil Engineers stated:
“St Pancras International itself may be a masterpiece of transport engineering but this stops when you walk out of the station.  The streets around it are the opposite of European best practice and are an insult to anyone who is walking or cycling.  While pedestrians leaving the new station are herded into 'cattle pens' to cross the road, cyclists are sent round an extended gyratory system.”

Koy Thomson, Chief Executive of LCC, said: “If St Pancras wants to present itself as the modern low-carbon alternative to air travel, it must set the standard for cycle-friendly travel across Europe. At present, it is way behind the times.

“We invite representatives from Train Operating Companies to be available to shake hands with cycling campaigners at the second photocall at 9.30am to cement a positive way forward in integrating cycle-rail connections. Some cyclists might even reciprocate by joining the first customers at the station's new champagne bar - especially as they should have somewhere secure to park their bikes.”

Comments on this article

Comments have now been closed on this article.

Comment from David:

I'll be there to protest this incredible lapse of planning.


Comment from Ray:

Count me in, train companies in general are woefully inadequate when it comes to facilitating cyclists and will continue to be so, until forced by government to do otherwise.


Comment from Mark, Frequent Eurostar Traveller:

Good luck with getting the new St Pancras station sorted out for cyclists from the start. Now is the time to put the pressure on. I agree with all your demands.


Comment from Sue:

Dreadful! - I agree. Yet another example of poor and unsustainable planning. Good luck.


Comment from Chris:

I am amazed that given the general support for cycling there are no proper facilities at St Pancras - I end up having to leave my bike at Kings Cross and walking across to St Pancras.


Comment from Arthur:

Being registerd disabled Easyjet extends my baggage allowance considerably and allows me to take a Brompton free of charge. I am going on Eurostar 27/12/07. Could be a test case?


Comment from Paul:

Appalling. Where's Ken? How did that get through planning stage? Yet another example of the british lack of support for cycling.


Comment from Ian:

Absolute disgrace. What is the point in harping on about a reduced carbon footprint if you cannot use the greenist form of transport to get to Eurostar.


Comment from Trevor:

Arthur, don't worry, you _can_ take a Brompton or any other reasonably-sized folding bike with you on Eurostar as luggage. I've taken my Brompton all the way to Vienna by train, including the Eurostar leg, with no problem.

Strictly speaking you should cover the folded bike, but this can be as inexpensive as a bin bag if needs be. :)

The best guide to cycle carriage on UK rail is provided by A to B magazine, the folding specialists. See http://www.atob.org.uk/Bike_Rail.html


Comment from Jeremy:

I commute daily on the Midland Mainline, and have just walked through the newly opened St Pancras. It really is an amazing place. However I am astounded that they haven't sorted the cycle facilities out. I have to leave my bike at the inadequate racks at Kings Cross and walk across to St P.


Comment from K:

Would be wonderful to be able to travel with bike on eurostar. well done LCC. keep up the pressure.


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