The photos that put Irish Rail’s anti cycling policy to shame

Posted on: October 21st, 2015

Irish Rail has just taken the regressive step of banning bikes from some of its routes, with the promise of extending the restriction to others, including DARTs in Dublin.


Irish Rail has taken the regressive step of banning bikes from its services in and out of Dublin’s busy Heuston station in the morning and evening rush hours.

The move has been made just as cycling is really taking off in the Republic and when roads are becoming clogged again as the recession lifts and more people have jobs to drive to.

We’ve gathered this set of photos of some of the fantastic bike-friendly rail infrastructure and ideas developed around the world; all of which put Irish Rail to shame.

The absence of any long-term plans like these on the part of the Irish decision-makers really is poor.


1. Stuttgart combining light rail and bikes

This one’s self explanatory; sticking a cart onto the end of the light rail – think LUAS – in Stuttgart so people can take their bikes as they go without even bringing them on board. We could put these on the LUAS and introduce a similar concept for our DART and Intercity services. How hard can it be?


2. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

As in Ireland, bikes are banned on some trains at peak hours because there is not enough room. But the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has gotten their fingers out and invested where they can, putting these cars onto many trains so your bike is locked in – not even touching anyone else’s – and you can sit beside it.


3. Indoor guarded bike parking at Dutch train station

They’ve had some great pro riders down the years and the flat nature of the country makes it perfect to get lots of people out on their bikes. But Holland has its infrastructure right too. In this clip you’ll see a 3,000-berth indoor, secure and guarded bike park right in Houten station. And the bike spaces are below the tracks – no walking for a mile in the rain after you park your mount. This facility is called the ‘Transferium’ because it’s the ideal place to transfer from two wheels to rail.


4. Copenhagen all the way

The Danish have put carriages on their trains specifically for bikes. You bring you rothar onto one of these and fix it in place – below – and then sit down next to it. When they launched this they erected mock carriageways on parts of Copenhagen cycle lanes so you had to cycle through them and get the message. They even have competitions encouraging people to come up with better ideas for cyclists, such as having bike pumps on trains.


5. Taiwan gets the bike bug

With its tourism industry hit by the SARS virus scare and the global recession over a decade ago, a film producer in Taiwan made a clip about exploring the island by bike and now it’s taken off in a huge way. All kinds of cycling infrastructure has followed, like this spacious train carriage for bikes on the main routes.


6. Getting around Germany

This is one of two carriages on the intercity service between Frankfurt and Nurnberg in Germany. Even a sprinkling of facilities like this, and a specific bike-based tourism drive abroad, could make Ireland a massive destination for cycling holiday makers. And it would really give flexibility to domestic travellers who wanted to cycle to and from train stations at both ends of their journey all over the country.

7. Ultimate flexibility in Korea

This is the subway in Korea, with additional carriages specifically for bikes. Imagine the posibilities it would open up to commuters in, for example, car-clogged Dublin if one of these was added to every DART train. If everyone else can execute ideas like these, why can’t the Irish?


8. European sleeper trains and bikes

On some European interail trains you can combine travel by train all over the Continent with bikes. You simply sleep in the carriages like the one above on long overnight trips between major cities, with spaces – below – to securely store your bikes as you go.