Travelling with 3 bicycles
I have planned a cycling holiday in Ireland, starting from Galway or Westerport and wanted to take the train from Dublin (we arrive at the airport and will cycle to the station). Coming from Sweden, I assumed this would be easy to just book online...
The problem is that there are 3 of us (1 adult, 2 children) and it seems (according to the Irish Rail Web site) that only 2 bikes spaces exist on the trains on those routes. This rail users site seems to say that there are 3 spaces on those kinds of trains. Which is correct?
From people's experience, do the guards on trains strictly enforce the number of bike rules? Are the going to allow 3 bikes or are the chances high that if we try and travel like that, then we'll not be let on?
The added complication is that officially, children can't travel with bikes without an adult. So splitting the group is a bit tricky! Catch 22.
Perhaps the trains and guards are like those in the UK (where similar restrictions officially apply). 9 times out of 10 the guard will just let it go and travel is not a problem (especially with children and being holiday makers). It is just the rare occasion that it gets difficult.
Of course the next challenge is actually booking the bike spaces online!
Thanks for any guidance you can offer.
Martin (Lund, Sweden).
There are 2 available bike spaces on the train. There is no scope for an additional bike http://www.railusers.ie/images/bikes/ICR-bike-rack.jpg
There is a third space behind a locked door which is not generally available to the public. This space is unsuitable for many types of bikes.
Enforcement is variable, however any additional bike will block a door and therefore be a safety issue.
Could you dismantle one or both of the children's bikes so that it would fit on as normal baggage? As an alternative, while I realise it is nice to have your own bike, it might work out cheaper just to hire bikes in Westport or Galway than paying the airline to ship your bikes. The going rate is around 15 euro per day per bike.
Co-incidentally I just walked the Great Western Greenway, and noticed that hiring bikes there is big business. One-way hires and childrens bikes are no problem and it shouldn't be an issue to get bikes that take panniers.
The arrangements on Irish Rail for bike carriage are most dissatisfactory and as far as I am aware it is not possible to book a bike ticket at the moment. With three people travelling, car hire for a few days might work out pretty competitive with the train.
At a risk of going off-topic for this forum, as an alternative, I would also suggest the Royal Canal Way which is accessible from Dublin and goes 140km west and is easily managed with mountain bikes. Mostly it is paved or fairly smooth grass and could be managed on a hybrid but a road bike would not be suitable.
Finally I would suggest a bit of caution if cycling with children who haven't cycled in Ireland before and you're planning on getting into the city from the airport. I presume you know the lay of the land, but it is not legal to cycle on footpaths in Ireland. While there are cycle paths in the city, they can end suddenly and force you onto roads. Cycling in Ireland is not like in continental Europe and it would be unusual to see children cycling in the city.
Bikes can be booked online in conjunction with ticket purchase.
If you are not offered this option, this means all spaces have already been taken
I think you will be able to fit another bike in between the two stands on the rack without having problems. On commuter routes the trains racks handle a lot more than two bikes.
However the only way around it would be to travel on the 13.25 to Galway or 12.45 to Westport and make an adult and child booking on one of the bike coaches and then make another separate adult (if child can't take bikes) on the other space. Then sit together, they say you have to sit with bikes but people don't half the time. Nobody will steel the bike which you are not near and there is CCTV if anything happens. The train is split in two by the way.
Enforcement won't be a real problem as its middle of the day and train should be quiet. There is a lather train at 17.30 however that will be full of commuters and bikes and probably best to avoid or the 19.35 which will be quiet.
Thanks for the feedback.
Looking at booking the tickets online, when trying to book 2 people with bikes on gets a bike place showing but no seats anywhere on the train (16.30 departure from Dublin to Galway). When trying with no bikes one gets to choose from every single seat but no bike spaces are shown (instead 2 handicap) seats are displayed.
I guess it might be easier to ring and get things done over the phone?
So do I understand correctly that some of these trains have two carriages with places for bikes and some just one carriage? I don't mind not sitting with the bike.
Is leaving this until on the day a reasonable option? On a Tuesday afternoon in June (17th) will the train be busy and is it common to see all the bike spaces being used?
The options of hiring bikes and such are no so good, as I already booked the flights and bike tickets. I didn't anticipate this transfer problem. :-(
Probaly best to call. The 16.30 will have two spaces however in first class there is ample space to store another bike.
Turning up on the day could be fine however my advice would be to call and book the two availabe spaces and bring the thid on the day and fit it in between the two booked spaces or store it in first class there is lots of space behind the shop and it wouldn't be disrupting anybody as that carriage will most likely be empty anway. Another option is in the coach where the bikes are stored there is space at the other end where wheelchair passengers go, and it's very uniklely both spaces will be taken up by wheelchairs especially mid week and there is room to put it there.
22 easily carry a lot more bikes that they are suposed to duing commuter times.
Let everyone be very clear here
The maximum approved bike capacity is THREE ONLY
Two spaces are available to the public and may be reserved (if you book online you cannot pick your seat, a seat is allocated automatically when a bike reservation is requested)
The third space is not generally available for use by the public, you may find the catering trolley living there.
You may be refused travel if you try to bring more than 2 bikes onboard ANY long distance service.
Storing a bike in a wheelchair space or carriage end is unacceptable and will if staff find you, may result in being removed from the train.
If that is the legally allowed amount then why do irish rail have no enforcement of it. Doors/entrances to coaches are blocked everyday day of the week and staff don't do a single thing about it....
Staff can't just decide to be selective on the number of bikes onboard.
As you highlight long distance, there is no difference between a 20 minute train to Newbridge or longer one to Galway. The legal requirement doesn't change because of distance.
We can only advise what is legal and what Irish Rail has approved
Suggesting actions which are in contravention of published rules is unhelpful and will result in unhappy passengers.
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