The volume of bicycles taken aboard Eurostar has increased 300 per cent since 2007 following a policy change by the train operator.
Believed to have provoked the policy U-turn, the London Cycling Campaign and several other cycle-friendly organisations demonstrated at St. Pancras International during November 2007 –the venue from which travellers embark to reach France via Eurostar.
Tom Bogdanowicz of the LCC (which celebrated its 30th anniversary in November) said: “We worked alongside the CTC and others to bring about change from Network Rail. On the opening day of St. Pancras International we gathered to voice concerns that, like many others in London, this station boasted virtually zero cycling credentials. Following a policy review, cyclists are now allowed to book their bikes onto the same train as that on which they’re travelling. Now all that’s left to do is haggle the charges down. It’s in the train companies’ interests to carry more cyclists.”
Around 100 cyclists turned out for the protest, which initially aimed to make the station more cycle-friendly by introducing at least some cycle parking facilities. Shortly after the demonstration, operator Network Rail installed 50 cycle stands, which when compared to Cambridge’s 3,000, provoked Camden Cycling to voice further concerns.
Bogdanowicz added: “Our main target now is to ensure other London stations follow the relatively good examples set by Marlyebone Road station and Finsbury Park station, which both have adequate secure parking facilities.”
Campaign co-ordinator Jean Dollimore said: “Proper stands for 100 bikes is a step in the right direction, but the huge demand at other London stations shows that we’re likely to need a lot more. Rotterdam’s new railway station is to have 8,000.”