18

In the UK, some train stations have bicycle lockers, such as in Earley or Lancaster. It looks like smaller stations (but not the very smallest) are more likely to have those than larger stations; I couldn't find any at Reading, Paddington, or Birmingham New Street.

But the question is: how do I access those lockers? I couldn't find any relevant information on the websites of National Rail, South Western Railway (manages Earley), or Virgin Trains (manages Lancaster); I only find information about taking bicycles on the train, not parking them securely beyond the useless "you can park your bicycle at the station".

How would I get apply for access to one of those bicycle lockers? Who manages them? Are they by subscription only, or can I rent one for the day if available? With Google Search, I found results for different parts of the USA and for Ireland, but the UK ones remain a mystery.

17

Cycle storage appears to be a local amenity, and not centrally managed by the railways. For instance, in the West Midlands, they are operated by Network West Midlands and you would rent one from them. Things are organized as a Bicycle Locker User Club (BLUC) with Transport for Greater Manchester locations. Local councils may also oversee storage facilities, both at and outside of railway and bus stations, for example Wandsworth, London.

As with such schemes in the U.S., the bicycle lockers are aimed at local commuters who would ride their bicycles from home to the station, then take the train to work. The Network West Midlands requires a yearly subscription, and initial membership in the TfGM BLUC is for two years. In any case, we may surmise from these requirements as well as the wording of the applications they are not intended for ad-hoc users or visitors— for most of whom ordinary bicycle stands or racks might be deemed adequate.

  • Peculiar that they are often located on the platform, as opposed to outside the station, despite not being managed by the railways! – gerrit Oct 12 '17 at 9:42
  • TfGM also has the Cycle Hubs at a lot of the Tram Stations whose membershipis for 1 year. – Philbo Oct 12 '17 at 16:09
8

This isn't a set of individual lockers, rather it's a secure bike shed which requires a pass card to access, but I know of a similar facility at Surbiton station (also managed by South Western Railway).

I found a blog, from a disgruntled commuter who couldn't get a space in the secure parking shed. It's from 2010, when it first opened, when the franchise was run by South West Trains (SWT).

Apparently the way to get a card was to be lucky:

I spoke to the SWT police liaison officer on Wednesday 12th May, when I first saw the poster telling us that spaces had all gone. He called me back to say that the station manager had put up a poster and spaces where taken on a first come, first served basis. All places when within the day.

Another cyclist told me that he had asked at the service counter and had his name had been written down and was later told he had been successful.

[...]

I was aware that the secure compound was coming, from discussions with SWT Customer Service Centre, when the construction started, I was actively looking out for a notice telling me how to apply for a place. I did ask at the counter, to be told that customers would find out in due course. If I can miss the publicity then there was something flawed.

This would tally with choster's answer that it's a local amenity, and possibly not a well managed one at that. Your best bet may be to talk to station staff to find out local information.

7

At many smaller stations, the bicycle lockers are essentially unmanaged. It is just a metal box, you turn up, put your bike in, then put your own padlock on the door. Lockers at Blantyre station Lockers at Blantyre station. Photo from Cyclestreets, by Andypreece, CC-BY-SA

So no cost, and no need to book it in advance. But it does mean it is first come first served. Small stations may only have a few lockers, and they are often filled up by commuters in the morning, and in use for the whole day. So you are unlikely to get a space, unless you arrive early in the morning.

Most stations have plenty of other bicycle parking, ie racks. This is usually next to the lockers. So no problem finding somewhere to park your bike. Though this means you need to lock it securely to the rack, as well as remove any parts that could be stolen, eg lights. And probably not as much protection from the weather, though some racks are partly under cover.

  • I was primarily hoping to reduce the chances of my bike being stolen. But if it's only as good as my own padlock I'm not sure the box would add that much security. – gerrit Oct 12 '17 at 13:35
  • 1
    Given that most padlocks (that would fit the lockers pictured) are worse than a cheap D lock, those lockers would only be much use if vandalism rather than theft was the issue. Including (attempted) component theft, we do have to worry about vandalism, though this is very variable between stations IME. Do you (vlcaw) know if there's also a hardpoint inside to lock the bike up? That would help a lot. I suppose carrying just a small padlock means less weight, but plenty of people leave decent locks at the station, locked to the ends of the racks. – Chris H Oct 12 '17 at 13:40
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    You can turn up and put your own padlock on the door? In that case, what I would expect is: 1. Locker is installed. 2. First guy comes along and puts a padlock on it. 3. That guy takes his bike in and out, but always leaves his padlock on it even when empty, because he doesn't want to turn up and find there are no lockers available. 4. Noone else gets a chance to use the locker. Seems a pretty rubbish system to me! – AndyT Oct 13 '17 at 9:01
  • 1
    @AndyT It appears to be possible to look through the grid, so at the very least station management could impose a policy "padlocks on empty lockers will be removed". Or you could do that yourself... – gerrit Oct 13 '17 at 11:08

protected by JonathanReez Oct 13 '17 at 11:26

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