Are you coming to Holland by train with your bike? Or do you want to take your bike on the train to get to the beginning of your cycle route? Then there’s good news. From 2015 Dutch Rail is to make more room for bikes on the train, according to a draft concession agreement (2015-2025) published in April.
More on travelling by train with your bike:
More bikes on Dutch trains. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
Dutch cyclists put their bike on the train to get to and from the beginning of a cycle route, or the destination of their cycling holiday. It’s a great way of getting around, but...
First you have to navigate your way through a busy station that was never intended for bikes - let alone heavily loaded ones. How do you get your bike up the stairs? Where is the lift? At last you reach your platform - hopefully there won’t be any last-minute platform changes... Where will the carriage for bikes stop? As the train comes into the platform, you make a mad rush to one of the few bike spaces. Can you lift in the heavily loaded bikes - and those of your children - in time? How many bikes will go in - or do you have to split up the family?
Taking your bike on a train - especially with luggage - is always going to be stressful, but if there are more bikes than available bike spaces, your dream holiday can soon turn into a nightmare.
Dutch Rail has never encouraged people to take their bike on the train. Not long ago, they considered restricting the service even more. Newly designed trains had no space for bikes at all, which was highly controversial. For years the Dutch Cyclists’ Union has lobbied for more capacity for bikes on the train.
“Everyone can see that there’s not enough space now,” says Wim Bot. “There are alternatives for cyclists commuting to and from work. They can take along a folding bike, use an OV-bike or have an extra bike of their own at the train station. But we think it should also be possible to take your bike abroad on every train and that cyclists from abroad should be able to bring their bike to Holland. We stimulate cycling, and this includes foreign tourists who want to cycle here.”
It seems like the lobby has paid off. The concession agreement for the coming ten years stipulates that Dutch Rail has to create more capacity for bikes. International travel with a bike is to be made easier too. Dutch Rail has to make clearer agreements with rail companies abroad about what ticket you need for your bike once you cross the border. And, last but not least, Dutch Rail is to investigate the possibility of safely transporting bikes on Dutch high-speed trains. So far, they’ve claimed it’s absolutely impossible. It’s hard to see the reasoning behind this, as there are no problems taking your bike on the French TGV.
Hopefully, bike transport between Holland and France will become easier in the near future. We’ll keep you posted.
Source: Dutch Cyclists’ Union