Carriage of non-folding bikes on Crossrail: a breakthrough!

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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)

Weston Williamson architects' impression of Paddington Station, from Crossrail.co.uk

The breakthrough

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

Caroline Pidgeon:

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.

Replies

Caroline Pidgeon's Transport Research & Support Officer has updated us on a further question that had been posed to the Mayor. It appears that while we have been successful in maintaining cycle carriage that is at least the same as now, with non-folding cycles allowed from the west into Paddington and from the east into Liverpool Street, the Mayor is not ready to commit to anything further:

Cycles on Crossrail

Question No: 2013/4028

Caroline Pidgeon

Many cyclists will be pleased with the positive response to my request to ensure cyclists can continue to take their bikes on routes converted to Crossrail (MQ 2013/3463). Would you now look favourably at putting in place rules that, while recognising that joining or alighting from deep-level stations with a bicycle may be difficult, allow the carriage of bikes from surface stations through the deep tunnel to other surface stations?

Written response from the Mayor:

Providing guidance to customers on the carriage of bikes from surface stations through the sub-surface section of the route to other surface stations will form part of TfL’s policy considerations.

A question from the Mayor's Question Time session on 23 July 2014 confirms the position stated previously. Thank you to the Green Party and Tom Bogdanowicz for forwarding this:

Bicycles on Crossrail
Question No: 2014/2523
Onkar Sahota
Can the Mayor confirm his commitment that he will ensure Crossrail allows for bicycles to be carried onto trains on the western section of Crossrail into Paddington?
Written response from the Mayor:
I can confirm that it is our intention that the carriage regime for bicycles will be at least the same as on current services that will serve Crossrail stations. Cycles will therefore 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.
TfL is however yet to finalise its policy for the carriage of non-folding bicycles on the completed Crossrail network. The policy will take into account the operational and safety needs of the railway, consistency with other modes (particularly London Underground, with which Crossrail will share a number of stations), and the views of stakeholders.

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