Bike storage on brand-new LNER trains ‘downright dangerous’

Azuma arrives at Waverly Station. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Azuma arrives at Waverly Station. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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LNER is considering changes to its brand-new Azuma trains after their bike storage compartments were condemned as “downright dangerous”.

The move came as cycle storage on ScotRail’s refurbished inter-city trains was described by the Scottish Government’s active nation commissioner as a “disaster”.

The Hitachi-built Azumas, part of a £5.7 billion UK Government programme, have run since August between Scotland and London.

Cycling UK head of development Scotland Suzanne Forup discovered a major flaw when she boarded a train in Dunbar.

She tweeted: “A complete bike shambles – we couldn’t get my wheels into [the] hook. It’s incredibly frustrating not to have a system that works after a highly-expensive transition to new stock [trains].”

Ms Forup said later: “I had to leave my bike precariously wedged in place. The poor attention to detail in the design is shocking.”

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said: “The cycle storage is not just difficult or impossible for many people to use, it is also downright dangerous.

“Lifting a bike to reach an overhead hook, on a moving train and with other passengers around you, is simply not safe. LNER has accepted the urgent need to improve the design.”

Lee Craigie, the active nation commissioner for Scotland, had similar problems on ScotRail’s refurbished Inter7City High Speed Trains.

She tweeted: “Your HST refurb bike storage is a disaster. The wheels don’t fit on the hooks and you can’t get more than one bike in the space.”

She said: “I’ve had a mixed experience of travelling by train in Scotland with my bike.

“On some services – like the express between Edinburgh and Glasgow – ScotRail have excelled. But on the Inverness line, travelling with a bike has been stressful at best and impossible at worst.

“Thankfully, ScotRail are listening and I’ve had some very encouraging conversations.”

LNER spokeswoman Kate McFerran said: “We gather feedback from customers with bikes and cycling organisations to help us understand how we can make potential improvements.

“We have also been working with Hitachi Rail and the [UK] Department for Transport to identify where modifications can be made to cycle storage.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’re absolutely committed to engaging with the commissioner and other key groups about cycling topics.

“Cyclists are a key consumer group for ScotRail, and we want to enhance their experience when travelling with us.”