Bikes on Trains

All trains in Britain carry folding bikes free with no reservation if folded and covered. 'Normal' bikes usually require a reservation. Very few trains will carry tandems or tricycles.

Chesterfield has a good train service with a standard daytime pattern of 5 trains northbound and 5 trains southbound per hour.

East Midland Trains Hourly Liverpool to Norwich. These trains will allow 2 full size bike spaces to be booked Their website doesn't mention this but if you speak to them by telephone they may reserve 4 bikes because increasingly the trains are made up of 2 x 2 car trains.

Twice hourly Sheffield to London, again 2 bikes only unless it it is scheduled to be an HST (most trains are Meridian units). If it is an HST you may be able to reserve more bikes.

Cross Country trains operate an hourly service from Plymouth to Edinburgh with some trains going beyond to Penzance or further into Scotland. There are also additional trains to Reading added into the timetable at certain times. These trains also carry just 2 full size bikes in a rather cramped locker in the middle of the train. You have to hang a full size bike up by its front wheel. Cross country run another train per hour in each direction which doesn't stop at Chesterfield at present.

Northern Trains operate a Nottingham to Leeds hourly service. They too advertise only 2 bikes per train but are well known for being lenient especially at off peak times.

Basic summary of trains departing Chesterfield (M - F daytime)

Northbound Platform 1

  • xx.02   Edinburgh via Leeds, York, Newcastle
  • xx.18   Leeds
  • xx.37   Sheffield
  • xx.47   Sheffield
  • xx.52   Liverpool via Sheffield, Manchester

Southbound Platform 2

  • xx.06   Plymouth via Derby, Birmingham and Bristol
  • xx.22   Nottingham
  • xx.39   London via Derby
  • xx.52   Norwich via Nottingham
  • xx.59   London via Derby

East Midland Trains also operate the Matlock to Nottingham service which is hourly, 2 bikes per train.

All bike reservations in the UK are now free. The very informative page from A to B Magazine on UK rail cycle carriage is available here.

If you log onto the East Coast Rail website they will reserve bike spaces on line. You can book any rail journey in the UK on this site.

Sheffield Trams

Folding bikes in a bag are carried at the discretion of the conductor. Non folding bikes are not carried. 

Travelling abroad

Following some confusion in 2015 it is still possible to send your unfolded bike by Eurostar although it isn't guaranteed to travel on the same train as you! It is possible to pay more to reserve a space on your train but bikes must be checked in as luggage, they travel in a separate compartment and are loaded and offloaded by Eurostar staff. This service operates on London, Paris and Brussels routes only.

You can make a reservation or find out more about this service by calling 08705 850 850 or visit the EuroDespatch Centre in person at St Pancras International. Charges are £20+ one way and it’s necessary to quote your Eurostar reference or show your ticket.

This puts Eurostar on parity with low cost airlines such as Ryanair on cycle carriage, but with the benefit of offering you a carbon neutral journey.

This change in policy has come about as the result of sustained lobbying by cycle campaigners such as the CTC.

East Midland Trains offer through ticketing from Chesterfield to Paris, Brussels and beyond - not sure how you would coordinate that with booking your bike with Eurostar though!

There is at least one Eurostar per hour to Paris during the day, slightly less frequency to Brussels. 

Members of the Campaign have used ferries from Harwich and Newcastle to get to continental Europe. The railway station at Harwich is adjacent to the ferry terminal whilst Newcastle ferry port is about 6 miles from Newcastle station linked by mainly off road cycle track.

Le Shuttle run the car shuttle trains from Folkestone to Calais and will also carry cyclists, you bike is put in a trailer and you travel by minibus!

The Secretary has cycled between station in London whilst his family have hired two taxis - one for two childrens bikes and a Brompton and one for the people.

Onward travel by train with your bike in Europe is generally easier that in the UK but very few high speed trains in Europe carry bikes, however, many overnight sleeper trains do. A marvellous website for train travel information is The Man in Seat 61, the specific bike pages are here.

if you have any information you would like to add please contact the Secretary or Webmaster.