Bikes on Trains

Train

Your bike gives you the freedom to explore the countryside around London as well as further afield.

On this page you will find information on taking your bike by train. 

You can find out train times and fares – as well as the names of train operators – from www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Local Trains

In general, you can take your bike free of charge on trains throughout SE England.  The main restriction is that you cannot take your bike (unless folded) on trains arriving in London in the morning weekday peak period or leaving London in the evening peak period.  Similar restrictions apply to trains arriving at or departing from Birmingham, Cambridge and Brighton.

Individual operators’ definitions of ‘peak period’ vary as follows:

Operator Morning Evening
  From To From To
Abellio Greater Anglia(h) 07:45 09:45 16:30 18:30
c2c 07:15 09:45 16:30 18:40
Chiltern Railways (a) 07:45 10:00 16:30 19:30
Great Northern (King's Cross - Cambridge / Peterborough) (f)(h) 07:00 09:30 16:00 19:00
Thameslink (Bedford - Brighton / Sutton / Kent) (i) 07:00 10:00 16:00 19:00
GWR + TfL Rail to/from Paddington 07:45 09:45 16:30 19:00
Gatwick Express (b) No time restrictions
Heathrow Connect (c) 07:30 10:00 16:30 19:00
Heathrow Express (c) 07:30 10:00 16:30 19:00
London Midland (a) 07:00 09:59 16:00 18:59
London Overground 07:00 10:00 16:00 19:00
London Overground (Chingford/Enfield/Cheshunt lines) 07:30 09:30 16:00 19:00
South East 07:00 09:59 16:00 18:59
Southern (d) 07:00 10:00 16:00 19:00
South West Trains (e) 07:15 10:00 16:45 19:00
Stansted Express (g) Non-folding bikes are not permitted.
TfL Rail to/from Liverpool Street or Stratford 07:30 09:30 16:00 19:00

Notes:

  1. Similar restrictions apply to trains arriving at / departing from Birmingham at these times throughout their journey.
  2. No unfolded cycles will be permitted on the peak services extended from/to Brighton
  3. Morning restrictions apply to departure times from Heathrow.
  4. Similar restrictions apply to trains arriving at / departing from Brighton and those passing through Kensington Olympia between these times throughout their journey.
  5. There are currently no restrictions on services beyond Guildford and Hook except on Waterloo – Salisbury – Exeter trains, where reservations are required (no charge).
    Bicycles cannot be carried on services from Clapham Junction to Richmond - Hounslow - Feltham between 07:45 and 09:00. 
  6. Bicycles are never carried between Moorgate and Drayton Park.
  7. Only fully folded cycles can be conveyed on Stansted Express services at any time.
  8. Bicycles are not carried between Royston / Audley End and Ely on trains serving Cambridge from 07:45 to 08:45.
  9. The restriction applies to trains passing through central London between these times.

Depending on the type of train and how busy it is, you may have to:

Check with the operator or the blue pages of the National Rail timetable if you wish to take a tandem or a tricycle on a train.

Save money on local train journeys by buying a Network Railcard. These cost £30, last a year and entitle you - and up to three people travelling with you - to a 1/3 discount on fares in S.E. England.  You can also buy a six-zone one-day Travelcard at weekends from national rail stations for the price of a four-zone card.  The main restrictions are that on Monday to Friday you cannot travel before 10:00 or with a ticket costing less than £13; nor can you travel on Eurostar or the Gatwick Express.

Long-Distance Trains

There are generally no restrictions on folded bikes, except that Midland Main Line insist that they fit onto luggage racks.

You can take a non-folding bicycle on most long-distance trains, though you will usually need to reserve a place. Not all train operators allow cycle spaces to be booked on line, though Avanti West Coast and GWR – and possibly others – do so on their own trains. For other operators, you may need to book your journey at a station.

The arrangements for trains to/from London are as follows:

Operator Notes
Abellio Greater Anglia Maximum 6 cycles per train.
Eurostar See Eurostar web site.
GWR 2-4 cycles.
LNER 3-5 cycles.
East Midlands Trains Maximum 2 cycles per train.
Avanti West Coast Maximum 4 cycles per train.

On older trains (Abellio Greater Anglia, Avanti West Coast), bicycles are generally carried in a luggage compartment at one end of the train. On newer trains (GWR, LNER), they are stored vertically in cupboards at the ends of some carriages.

Cyclists have reported difficulties loading/unloading bikes at smaller stations with short platforms or no station staff, e.g. Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northallerton.

Check with the operator or the blue pages of the National Rail timetable if you wish to take a tandem or a tricycle on a train.

You will usually be able to secure the cheapest fare for yourself by booking for a specific train at least a week in advance.

The Underground and Docklands Light Railway

You can take an unfolded bicycle with you free of charge on certain sections of the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (see below). You cannot travel between the hours of 07:30-09:30, and 16:00-19:00, from Monday to Friday (no restrictions on public holidays).

Bicycles are permitted on all sections of the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, as well as the Docklands Light Railway (except to/from Bank).

Bicycles are permitted on other lines where they do not run through single-track tunnels. (See map)