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Are bikes allowed on the Elizabeth Line?

The central section of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail as was) is now open with off-peak cycle carriage permitted - what does that mean for you?

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Stations in the heart of London are becoming accessible to cycles at non-peak times in line with carriage rules on London Overground – so you’ll be able to take your cycle on the new Elizabeth line trains and get out at central stations!  The welcome off-peak access highlights the urgent need to provide high-quality cycle routes to all stations along with sufficient cycle parking.

The new Elizabeth Line will accept passengers with non-folding bikes from approximately 9.30am – 4pm with no additional fare for the cycle. Lifts will provide access to the train platforms at Tottenham Court Road, and Bond Street when it opens. Lift access is already provided at remaining Elizabeth Line stations.

As a general guide, overground sections of the Underground, Overground Rail and the DLR permit off-peak cycle carriage as well as the new Elizabeth Line. There are some specific restrictions as well as a few peak time exceptions.

This map below shows all routes that you can take a full sized bike onto:

The full permissions and restrictions on the Elizabeth Line are:

Launch of the Elizabeth Line Central Section (24 May 2022)

Non-folding cycles will be prohibited:

  • On trains arriving at Paddington (from the west) between 0745 and 0945, and departing Paddington (to the west) between 1630 and 1900;
  • On trains arriving at Liverpool Street (from the east) between 0730 and 0930, and departing Liverpool Street (to the east) between 1600 and 1900; and
  • On trains travelling in the Central Operating Section between 0730 and 0930, and 1600 and 1900.

Elizabeth Line fully open (spring 2023)

Non-folding cycles will be prohibited:

  • On trains arriving at Paddington (from the west) between 0730 and 0930, and departing Paddington (to the west) between 1600 and 1900;
  • On trains arriving at Liverpool Street (from the east) between 0730 and 0930, and departing Liverpool Street (to the east) between 1600 and 1900; and
  • On trains travelling in the Central Operating Section between 0730 and 0930, and 1600 and 1900.

TfL says that there will be tip up seats in five of the carriages where cycles can be more conveniently placed off-peak. Carriage 5 is the accessible carriage and offers space for wheelchair users. The first and last carriages have no tip up seats.

Cycle Parking

Cycle parking, while improved, remains insufficient or insecure at most stations. This is recognised in the Mayor’s Cycle Parking Implementation Plan which promises action to address it.

Paddington’s well located (on platform) cycle parking is invariably packed to the gills. At Stratford some cycle parking is so well hidden that it is barely used.  There is next to no cycle parking next to Tottenham Court Road station. Farringdon provides some spaces in Turnmills Street.

Unless the Mayor’s plan to build adequate and secure parking hubs at central stations is delivered the potential for bike-rail trips will be constrained.

Cycle access to stations

The new Elizabeth Line promises to expand the potential number of bike-rail-bike trips but only if riders (whether on shared-bikes or on their own cycles) feel secure riding to and from their workplaces.

It is high time that the short distance from Cycleway 3 (the East-West route from the Tower to Lancaster Gate) was extended the few hundred yards to Paddington Station. Similarly, Tottenham Court Road station needs a safe connection to the nearby Cycleway in Gower St. In sharp contrast, Farringdon Station, another Elizabeth Line stop, sits right next to the convenient and high quality North-South Cycleway.

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