Carriage of non-folding bikes on Crossrail: a breakthrough!
Paddington Station is a vital gateway to the City of Westminster, from which many rail passengers choose to continue their journey by cycling. Currently trains to and from the west London boroughs of Hillingdon and Ealing and beyond arriving at or departing from Paddington Station carry non-folding bicycles at off-peak times.
The situation when we started campaigning
In September, when Westminster Cycling Campaign took up the issue of carriage of non-folding bicycles on Crossrail, rail passengers with non-folding bicycles were facing a reduction in journey opportunities when their train services are diverted onto Crossrail in 2018:
4.1 The final policy on cycle carriage on Crossrail will be a matter for the Train Operating Company (TOC) responsible for the railway at that time. Crossrail is not currently in a position to be able to make commitments on the final cycle carriage policy that would be adopted by the TOC in the future. The project shares most subsurface stations with LUL and the working assumption is that there will be a ban on cycle carriage at all times between Acton Main Line and Stratford/Abbey Wood. Cycle carriage will be allowed on all other sections of Crossrail, but with peak hour restrictions as appropriate. Decisions on the restrictions on cycle carriage will be the subject of detailed development. A Crossrail route map showing these provisional arrangements, and based on TfL’s existing Cycle Carriage Map for the London Underground, is attached.
(Crossrail Information Paper E02 Cycle Carriage and Cycle Parking, available from www.crossrail.co.uk/assets/download/3383, dated 2008)
London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon MBE (Liberal Democrat) had questioned the Mayor previously about bike carriage on Crossrail, but enquiries by her and others had only elicited that Crossrail trains had the capacity to carry non-folding bicycles. The critical point was whether the Crossrail train operating company would allow the carriage of non-folding bicycles between Acton Main Line and Stratford/Abbey Wood at off-peak times, and not whether carrying bikes was physically possible.
Westminster Cycling Campaign contacted Caroline Pidgeon and worked with her Transport Research & Support Officer Ashley Lumsden to make progress on this issue. Enquiries to Transport for London simply reiterated the situation described above. It seemed that questioning officers wasn't going to move things forward, and the next step was to question politicians. A question was submitted to the Mayor, and on the last day of October we received news of a breakthrough:
Continued Carriage of Bicycles on Crossrail Routes
Question No: 2013/3463
What guarantees can you give to cyclists that existing lines taken over by Crossrail will have a similar or better regime for the carriage of bicycles when the lines and stations are transferred to Crossrail?
Written response from the Mayor:
Following discussions between my Cycling Commissioner, the Transport Commissioner and Crossrail, I can guarantee that the carriage regime for bicycles will be at least the same as now – in other words, that cycles will continue to be allowed on Crossrail trains running from the west to Paddington and from the east to Liverpool Street stations, except during the peak hours in the peak traffic directions. We hope, however, that we will be able to offer better facilities than this.
This post was edited by Westminster Cycling Campaign at 7:43am 8 September 2014.