We still have a long way to go before the rail system is ideal for cyclists. Please report back to us with your experiences.
Most trains will take a limited number of bicycles (but rarely tandems). Most this is a free service, sometimes you have to pay a small fee with advance reservation required.
To get to Workington or Whitehaven via the railway will probably involve using the West Coast mainline service to Carlisle. The policy here is that bikes will be carried, but spaces must be reserved. However the number of bikes the train will take will not be known until you ring and make your booking, which must be done at least 24 hours in advance of your travel.
To get to Whitehaven or Workington from Carlisle means using the regional railway. The trains on this route will carry only 2 bikes and spaces are non-reservable. There is no charge to take your bikes on this section and some trains will be more flexible than others.
Providing you don’t wish to travel back along the Reivers route and make a round trip of it read on.
To get back to the start of the route at Workington or Whitehaven means you either cycling from Sunderland to Newcastle station or getting the local train to Newcastle and then taking the Newcastle to Carlisle route. On this service the policy is only 2 cycles per train on off-peak services (all other services ring and check beforehand) and all bikes must be reserved but there is no charge. From Carlisle take the regional line as detailed above to Workington or Whitehaven.
To travel home using the East Coast line the same applies; only 2 bikes on off-peak services, spaces must be reserved.
The Metro (local train service) to Newcastle does not take bikes. So those finishing at Tynemouth should take this into account when planning their homeward journey.
As I have mentioned, it is a good idea to ring and check times with the relevant company. One tip which might work with regards to bike space is to talk ever so nicely to the train guard and he/she might turn a blind eye to more than 2 bikes being loaded, depending on the space available. It is generally acknowledged that there is a certain amount of discretion which can be applied, so be nice to the nice people on the train!
General enquiries: 08457 484950
Carlisle to Whitehaven: 0845 6001159
Arriva Trains Northern
Newcastle/Carlisle & Sunderland/Newcastle: 0870 6023322
You may also want to check out The UK Bike/Rail website for comprehensive information on taking your bike on a train as well as one of the following sites to get online travel info at the national rail website
You might also want to look at this page written by a cyclist who has taken his bike by train many times Transporting your Bike by Train
Workington and Whitehaven are easily reached by road, the easiest option being from Penrith (M6 Jct.40) and then follow the A66 westwards bypassing Keswick and Cockermouth on the way.
If you are travelling by car then most landladies will let you park your car with them for a few days but please check first. If not then contact one of the following firms for details of secure parking.
Whitehaven - website – Jim Hewitson tel: 01946 692178
Park directly on the Workington to Whitehaven cycleway. This also a Sustrans Stamping Station
Workington – Mr. J.M.Perkins tel 01900 604997. Secure car parking
Newcastle – Hadrian Lodge Hotel – website – Tel: 0191 2627733
I have been informed that you can leave your car in the hotels car park. If you stay at the Hotel the night before there is no charge for leaving the car there – (otherwise £2.00 per day) but make sure you leave the car registration or you risk getting clamped – apparently it’s very strictly controlled, so no leaving it to chance.
Sunderland – St. Mary’s Car Park – Sunderland tel:0191 553 2785
St Mary’s is an award winning facility for both safety and design and has an impressive 100% safety record and offers both long and short term parking. Used and recommended by C2C’ers.