COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Irish Rail’s first of new Intercity railcar carriages are one their way to Ireland and the company is ordering new Dart commuter trains. For both the company needs to keep bicycle storage simple.
Train companies around the world have a horrible habit of using over complicated bicycle racks that are often inaccessible to anything but the lightest of bicycles and are a poor use of space.
IrishCycle.com before has written how the Copenhagen model of brining tons of bicycle on trains is only possible if there’s huge extra available capacity on trains. For places which have little or no capacity on trains at peak times, then the Dutch system is likely a better fit, And it has a far grater potential for scalability.
Read our previous article to see why, but you’re likely underestimating the scale of investment needed to get the train capacity Copenhagen has that allows so many bikes on trains at rush hour.
But there’s a bit of a happy balance between what Copenhagen has and the current situation of just two bicycles on trains (as is the case with most Intercity trains in Ireland).
This is the first of the new trains:
As we covered last year, these new carriages — which will be added to existing sets of trains — are to have a multi purpose area:
Last year, Barry Kenny, communications manager at Irish Rail, said: “This area will allow for limited bike storage on the new carriages: the seats are flip up and there will be bicycle restraints fitted to the wall panels so bicycles can be leaned against the flip up seats when the seats are in a raised position.”
He added: “As you know, these carriages are predominantly being used in the Commuter area in the short term so it will be a first come / first served situation particularly when regular seating is full. The external door of the carriage at the multipurpose end will feature a large bicycle logo, and floor markings will be included too.”
I’d plead with Irish Rail or anybody willing to listen to please avoid complicating the space for bicycles on the new Intercity carriages or on the Dart new trains.
This is an example of the space on a Dutch Intercity train — flip down seats and bicycles packed in so you can fit 4 bicycles in the space that only two would fit if there was any rack:
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