Bikes and Trains

This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 22.

Anne Campbell MP inspects the ‘premier’ bike stands at Cambridge station, in front of TV and newspaper cameras
Image as described adjacent

It’s now more than two months since the 300 extra cycle parking spaces were opened at Cambridge station. Many cyclists appreciate not having to spend five or ten minutes hunting for somewhere to park. Word seems to be spreading, as fewer cyclists try to shoehorn their bikes into the original areas each day.

At the end of December, WAGN – the train operating company which runs the station – cleared out dead bikes and rotting leaves from half of the original stands, and they had plans to clear out the remainder during January. This clear-out was announced with suitably prominent posters, which included this delightful statement from the Area Business Manager:

I would take this opportunity of reaffirming our commitment to all cycle users at Cambridge Station. We acknowledge the benefits they bring in lowering traffic congestion in our station area.

On Friday 22 January, Anne Campbell MP visited the station, to highlight many of the improvements WAGN have been working on, at Cambridge and elsewhere:

Clear signing on class 317 trains
Image as described adjacent
  • 300 new parking places at Cambridge (jointly funded by the County Council)
  • six new ‘personal’ stands – a kind of halfway house to lockers, offering improved security and a guaranteed space, in return for charge of £2 per week. If these prove successful, WAGN will install more
  • the cycle hire and repair business featured in Newsletter 21
  • provision of free hire cycles to regular commuters, and new Sheffield stands at Ashwell and Morden, Ely, Littleport and Waterbeach – to enable commuters to park their own bikes at one end of the journey, and use a free cycle at the other end
  • plans for a cycle route through the car park (and hopefully filling in the gully, too)
  • cycle storage on the refurbished class 317 trains
  • clearer information about cycle carriage in timetables.

In Newsletter 17, we mentioned the code of practice for rail companies, CycleMark – Providing for Cyclists, which sets out objectives for rail operators for two distinct groups of users – those arriving at stations by bike (and needing cycle parking) and those wishing to travel with their bike (and use their bike at both ends of the journey). In conjunction with this code of practice, a CycleMark award scheme was set up, to recognise companies that have met the objectives. We have been so impressed with WAGN’s progress for cyclists in the Cambridge area, that, at our January meeting, we decided to nominate the company for a CycleMark award.

Clare Macrae