Why do the years roll by without this problem being solved? I tried to book my ticket back home many weeks ago on the internet but couldn't book a bike. I called by phone and couldn't book that way either. I had to go to the station in person. In the elapsed time (3 days) the ticket price had gone up by £34. In person I could only book the Thurso-Inverness section.
Adrian couldn't get his bike booked on the train I was booked on because 'there was no space'. It turned out that my bike was the only one on the train all the way to Inverness.
When I got to Inverness I met up with James who had left Thurso with Adrian 2 hours before me. They wouldn't let him on the train because he had no bike reservation. There was space but he didn't have a reservation. He could get on but not with his bike. He could have taken the wheels off and put it in a dustbin bag as 'luggage' but it couldn't go on as 'a bike'. He asked for a reservation on the next train which went in 2 hours but was told that that was not possible because you need to make bike reservations at least 3 hours in advance.
At this point he lost his rag and asked to see the station manager. In the end he did get a reservation on the next train but could not now get through to Cheltenham today. His mum will have to come and collect him from Birmingham New Street (=3 hour round trip).
I benefitted from James' misfortune. We went through the barrier together and James whispered 'folder' in my ear. 'Cycle reservation?' I was asked. 'It's a folder' I said. I am sure the ticket inspector knew I was lying but he let me through. Ours were the only two bikes on the train for the whole journey.
Why are cyclists made to feel so uncomfortable when they try to use the train?