Train Norwich to Portsmouth?

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Looking at getting two of us with two heavily loaded tourers from Norwich to Portsmouth, for the ferry to start our 3 month tour. Don't really want to cycle that bit as cycling across densely populated southern England is not really our thing. We might be able to get someone to drive us, but as there are trains I thought we could give that a look. Have never booked bikes on trains before, and to be honest I am losing the will to live!!!

As far as I can ascertain we need bicycle reservations on both Norwich to London, and London to Portsmouth legs. Greater Anglia website gives a ticket price of just over £50 for the two of us (very reasonable), but there appears to be no way of making bicycle reservations! So, went to the GWR website, same price ticket, and they have a bicycle reservation function - except it doesn't - it says reservations are not possible on a leg of the journey, but won't say which one - is it just the cross London bit, or one of the main legs?

Is there a resident expert on such things who can help? As we will getting the ferry the same day we need to be 100% certains our bikes will make it!
 

NorthernDave

Never used Über Member
I'm fairly sure that GWR have restrictions on the times non-folding bikes are allowed on board on some services, not sure about Greater Anglia. Or one of them could be like Northern who don't take reservations and operate a first come, first served policy for the bike spaces.
@mjr might be able to assist?

A few posters on here recommend the Hull Trains website for ease of use with bike reservations - worth a look?
 

Ice2911

Über Member
If you can go into the ticket office in Norwich. Say when you want to travel and that you need to book your bikes on. You can book 3 months in advance. They were incredibly helpful with me an found the best deal. Norwich to Penzance with fully loaded tourer £32. similar from Inverness back to Norwich £35. You get tickets to put on your bike. Have fun! About to book my train tickets for my next adventure in next two weeks. That makes it all very real:smile:
 

vickster

Legendary Member
You don't usually need reservations on SWR who go to Portsmouth from Waterloo I think on that route at least. But you can't take full size bikes in the morning and evening rush hours (but you should be out of those presumably). This might be why you are being told you can't make a reservation

https://www.southwesternrailway.com/travelling-with-us/travelling-with-a-bike

It's not a difficult cycle from Liverpool Street to Waterloo, you can't do it on public transport with bikes
 
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srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
You can't do it on public transport with bikes
Off-peak - circle line to Westminster, which is 5 minutes from Waterloo.

But if there's plenty of time, it might be easier but slower to ride from Liverpool Street to Farringdon, pick up a Thameslink train to East Croydon or somewhere further south and change onto a Southern train to Portsmouth. Both those train companies are quite bike friendly and run long trains. Croydon has ramps if the lifts don't work.

Or just ride across London - south from Liverpool Street to Monument and pick up the segregated and easy CS route to Westminster for Waterloo or Victoria.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Off-peak - circle line to Westminster, which is 5 minutes from Waterloo.

But if there's plenty of time, it might be easier but slower to ride from Liverpool Street to Farringdon, pick up a Thameslink train to East Croydon or somewhere further south and change onto a Southern train to Portsmouth. Both those train companies are quite bike friendly and run long trains. Croydon has ramps if the lifts don't work.

Or just ride across London - south from Liverpool Street to Monument and pick up the segregated and easy CS route to Westminster for Waterloo or Victoria.
Circle line unreliable, full of tourists and stairs to negotiate with fully laden bikes. I’d cycle
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
Circle line unreliable, full of tourists and stairs to negotiate with fully laden bikes. I’d cycle
So would I!

I was being theoretical, although the TFL wheelchair access guide suggests that Eastbound from Liverpool Street, Westminster and Victoria all have full step-free access. (http://content.tfl.gov.uk/step-free-tube-guide-map.pdf), and the Circle line (like all subsurface lines) is legal for bikes off-peak.

The main observation from my previous post (and sorry for forgetting to acknowledge that you'd talked about riding) was that trains from Victoria as well as Waterloo go to Portsmouth - although it's a chuggy route along the south coast. And now that Thameslink is a good service with long and open trains it provides an alternative to riding for cross-London journeys.
 
OP
RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
I think a visit to the ticket office is in order! South Western saying you don't need reservations, it's first come first served is particularly unhelpful - if we are at the station with a cheapo "this train only" ticket and we are not first with bikes we are completely stuffed! Seems designed to put us off to be honest! Is it beyond the wit of railway companies to have a website where we buy tickets and reservation for us and our bikes - it can't be that hard!
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I'm fairly sure that GWR have restrictions on the times non-folding bikes are allowed on board on some services, not sure about Greater Anglia. Or one of them could be like Northern who don't take reservations and operate a first come, first served policy for the bike spaces.
@mjr might be able to assist?

A few posters on here recommend the Hull Trains website for ease of use with bike reservations - worth a look?
Greater Anglia Norwich- London services require reservations, max 6 per train (officially: the "Norwich in 90" trains from May will probably have space for 12 - oddly no peak restrictions on reserved bikes). I don't think any of the London-Portsmouth companies even offer reservations, so the tip of allowing plenty of time to cross London and bag the spaces is a good one.

GWR's website seems as good at booking what can be booked as anything. It stinks that so few train companies do bike reservations online.

GA policy https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/cycling/bikes-on-trains
 
I've done Ely to Winchester with a bike (albeit at a weekend) - Great Northern and then SWR

You don't need bike reservations on Great Northern or on Greater Anglia in this neck of the woods (I use GA a fair bit between Ely & Cambridge) although peak hour restrictions do apply, so how about Norwich to Ely and then Ely to Kings Cross? Is that doable for you guys? Or Norwich to Cambridge and then grab a Thameslink train all the way to Blackfriars.

Otherwise Circle line from Kings Cross to Blackfriars worked fine for me - both stations have step-free access (lifts). Outside of peak hours (when you can't take bikes on the tube) it's a breeze. Then it's a quick zip from Blackfriars to Waterloo on the bikes. CS7 iirc? It's about a mile and a half tops.

SWR is first come, first served, but the bike racks are in the quiet carriage, so that's a bonus. The only tip I can offer you is turn up well in time for the train i.e. before the platform is called, and then you should be fine.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
You don't need bike reservations on Great Northern or on Greater Anglia in this neck of the woods (I use GA a fair bit between Ely & Cambridge) although peak hour restrictions do apply, so how about Norwich to Ely and then Ely to Kings Cross? Is that doable for you guys? Or Norwich to Cambridge and then grab a Thameslink train all the way to Blackfriars.
I'd only do that if you can't get bike reservations on the Norwich-London service because it's slower (60-90mins I think) and will cost more (fewer advance fares).

Liverpool St to Waterloo is simple IMO. Out the station front, find Old Broad St to the right and take it south to Bank, straight over into Queen Victoria Street and then turn left onto a demotorised road (Queen St), right onto CS3 (pink), then at Blackfriars U-turn up onto CS6 over the bridge (at quiet times or if in a rush, one can take Queen Vic St all the way to CS6, but the Blackfriars junction still isn't great IMO), right onto National Route 4 (red) and after Waterloo Bridge turn left just before the railway viaduct then diagonally through it to the station.
 
OP
RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Thanks for all the responses - if we go by train the Norwich - London bit is fine, I know Norwich station and presumably since bikes are reserved they have a specific area for them (do they still have guards vans?). Will we need to remove all panniers from them or be able to leave them fully loaded?
The Mrs claims she knows the way from Liverpool Street to Waterloo, but as her knowledge is probably 30 years out of date how long should we leave to get there? - heavily loaded we will not be rocketing away from the traffic lights, and may walk busy bits.
The Portsmouth train where no reservations are possible - how does it work? Are bikes counted through at the gate? Where on the train do they go, and do we have to unload them?
Sorry for all the questions, but we have never taken bikes on the train before, and as it is the vital first part of the tour want to get it right. Once we are on the continent we can relax and make it up as we go along for a few months!
 
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