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NXEC - no more tandems on east coast main line? *LINK*

Posted By: Peter Eland
Date: 20 October 2008

Has anyone else had a problem with taking tandems on National Express East Coast trains this weekend?

We'd booked two bike spaces several weeks ago for a trip to Berwick=upon-Tweed from York and back, as per usual, same procedure as we'd used before without problems. I think this had been the case since way back in GNER days.

On arrival at the station on Friday we were asked by the platform staff lady whether we'd mentioned it was a tandem when we booked it, as she was pretty sure they weren't allowed 'because of the length'. I obviously hadn't as I'd just booked it online as soon as cheap tickets went on sale.

She seemed to think there had been a recent rule change, and when the train arrived the train guard (or whatever they call themselves these days) agreed. But they let it go on in the end, as I'd booked it so long ago.

Can't remember the exact words she used but I got the impression there had been a problem with a tandem obstructing the 'hutch' which the catering trolleys live in within the guards van. Hence the 'ban'.

On exit at Berwick the chap on the platform also thought that tandem are no longer allowed, but would check with HQ.

After all that we were obviously not much looking forward to major hassles on our return. Very fortunately a fellow cyclist who lives nearby was also at the meet we were attending, had space in his pickup, and he took the tandem back for us on Sunday night. We took the bus back to Berwick station on Monday, missing out on a morning's ride, and caught our pre-booked train as normal bicycle-free passengers.

The relevant page on the NXEC website has changed in the last 24 hours (I checked it on Sunday night, when it did refer to the 'two bookings' method), and it now makes no mention of tandems:

http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com/On-Board-Our-Trains/Baggage-and-Pets/Cycles/

Sadly they seem to have informed (as far as I can tell) neither the TC, the CTC nor anyone else, such as those who may have already booked tandems onto their trains.

I don't know what if anything we (or the TC) can do about this. I'll email the CTC now to let them know too, and write to NXEC to request confirmation. I do hope that the long-standing policy of taking tandems on this line isn't now in jeopardy.

http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com/On-Board-Our-Trains/Baggage-and-Pets/Cycles/

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