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We recently tried taking the train from Rüsselsheim with a heavy electric-assist oversized semirecumbent tandem bicycle. Unfortunately, we found that the lift was just a little too small (at most 0.1 meter / 4"). We lacked the tools and time to take enough off the bicycle to enable us to lift it up and down the stairs and there were no ramps, so we did not manage to get on our intended train.

Although the presence of lifts (or ramps) can be easily gained from public sources such as bahnhof.de, sizes vary, and we find that some lifts are large enough whereas others are not. Is there any (publicly available) dataset on the dimensions of railway station lifts in Germany, so we can estimate in advance whether our tandem would fit?

I'm guessing that the answer is "no", but one never knows!

(Of course, another question is that many trains have no or limited capacity for such large bikes, but at quiet times in regional trains, I've found it's usually fine.)

Hase Pino
Older model of Hase Pino to illustrate the length. Eva Kröcher via Wikimedia Commons, GFDL 1.2 / Free Art License / CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0

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    Indeed my first impression was that "if it doesn't fit in a lift surely it won't fit in a train", or at least "it won't fit in the allowed dimensions onboard trains"
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 14 at 16:47
  • Openstreetmap has an optional bicycle tag for highway=elevator, but of course that doesn't tell anything about its size. It would be a nice enhancement though.
    – Berend
    Commented Feb 14 at 17:04
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    I doubt a large semi recumbent tandem bike is actually permitted on trains. So that it doesn't fit in an elevator is moot. Commented Feb 14 at 22:42
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    @KristvanBesien No conductor has thrown us off an otherwise mostly-empty train so far, and the general rule for bicycles is "if there is place". The old IC even had/has specially bookable tandem places.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 15 at 8:18
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    @ROIMaison Vertically/diagonally might have worked, but we had a fully loaded porter rack bag that we would have had to unload and detach first. By then, we would have missed our train, so we decided that until the next train departs an hour later, we might as well ride to the next station, which had a level-access side platform.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 15 at 10:28

2 Answers 2

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The answer appears to be Yes!

I found some datasets maintained by DB, in CSV format, that have data for width, depth, height and door width of many cabins.

Data for the lift in Rüsselsheim is there, but unfortunately that one is missing the dimensions.

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Based on my experience from quite a lot of travel with a regular bicycle on German trains, the lifts are often so small, that not even a normal bike will fit. When travelling with heavy bags and panniers, it is tedious enough to carry a normal bike and luggage up and down stairs, so I have also been looking for more detailed information about lifts at German railway stations. I have not been able to find anything and I am afraid that the answer to your question is no, there is no such information available. I'll stand corrected here, as Berend found a source and linked to it in his answer. I won't delete my answer, since I think the next paragraph adds relevant information why the suggested alternatives to using a lift is not an option.

To address Peter M's comment regarding crossing the tracks directly: Even if many stations do have facilities allowing ground-level crossing of the tracks, these are with almost no exceptions not open to the public, even under staff supervision. The only place you can expect to cross the tracks at ground level is at rural stations with very little traffic where no over- or underpass is available. A while ago, ground level track crossings were in many locations used as on-demand disability access under staff supervision, but the policy changed some 5-10 years ago and DB does not even allow disabled passengers to use these crossings anymore, even if that is the only way to access a train platform.

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    I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I was trying to suggest that there may be heavy freight/maintenance lifts that are not generally accessible to the public.
    – Peter M
    Commented Feb 14 at 18:13
  • @PeterM If there is, I don't know why there should be and I have never seen anything like that, they will not just generally, but never be accessible to the public. Commented Feb 14 at 19:40
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    It's the Haso Pino, but the picture shows an older model that could be split (our model can be shortened, but not split, and we didn't have the shortening tools with us).
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 15 at 8:21
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    Plenty of stations do not have barrier-free access at all, so such heavy maintenance equipment would have to use the ground-level crossings that the public are not allowed to use.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 15 at 8:29
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    @gerrit Or in case of underground or elevated stations, maintenance equipment is often delivered to the platform by train, because there is no other way to get there. Commented Feb 15 at 11:46

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