Taking bikes on regional TER trains in France - CycleBlaze

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Taking bikes on regional TER trains in France

Susan Carpenter

When booking trains in France I use SNCF Connect, either on their web site or their app. Both have a button to add an assembled bike when you search for trains. TGV and Inter-Citi trains require a reservation and there is a €10 charge. On TER regional trains, bikes have been free without reservation. In my recent searches on SNCF Connect, I keep getting messages that no trains are available with bike space, even though TER trains are available when I remove the bike option. Sometimes, however, TER trains with bike space do show up and are available for booking. Confusing.

 I did a little digging on and found a site on that offers more info on traveling with bikes on the SNCF French train system https://www.sncf-connect.com/aide/transport-de-votre-velo#ancre-865 Warning: it’s in French. Specific to this post, you can scroll down to the TER section where it says “Most bicycle spaces on TER trains cannot be reserved on SNCF CONNECT”.   Further scrolling gets you to links to the various TER regions where you can learn their specific policy regarding bikes AND purchase a ticket that was not available on SNCF Connect. In some regions, or lines within regions, it may cost €1-5 for the bike during specific times or days i.e. summer, weekends, or holidays. Again, most of this refers to assembled, non-folding bikes that are not in a case.

 I’m not sure how strictly these policies will be enforced, or if they won’t let you board if you show up with a ticket but no bike reservation. It’s also possible you could make/purchase your ticket and/or bike reservation at the station.

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3 weeks ago
Leo WoodlandTo Susan Carpenter

Hi from France

Taking a bike on local trains here has become ever more difficult and, in some areas, it can't be done at all. There are campaigns to make that not so but the tide is going out rather than in.

I'm not a party to what's going on but the problem may be the very success of taking bikes on trains. There is and always has been, in my memory, a limit on numbers. Waiting on the platform for the only train in two hours, you're inclined to put your bike on regardless. There are sometimes so many bikes that there's no room to pass, for other passengers or for the guard, who among other things has to act if anything goes wrong, from a sick passenger to a derailment.

We are not beyond ignoring the limit on bike numbers. We are part of the problem. But problem it is, and it makes trains less safe, less pleasant and less on time.

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3 weeks ago
Kathleen JonesTo Susan Carpenter

Thanks for this. I’ve been wondering about it because I saw in other journals the troubles folks had because they didn’t know they needed a separate ticket for the bike. It was really unclear to me if I needed a bike ticket or not. But it seems for the dates and times I’m traveling in the Grand-Est I don’t need it. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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2 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Leo Woodland

Oh for the good old days when regional trains had luggage vans. In the 1980s, I helped run week-long  ‘Introduction to Cycle Touring’ activities for groups of senior secondary students. It was probably the most useful thing I accomplished in 12 years as a teacher. 

At the start & finish of these group rides we were able to book a luggage van and roll-on / roll-off 60 or more bikes plus a pile of camping gear. 

Nowadays the same, very diminished regional NSW rail service insists bikes be dismantled, boxed, booked in and ticketed. Essentially they are saying don’t bother them with bikes. In fact they don’t seem to really want passengers. 

By contrast the CityRail Services (metro lines) allow free roll-on/roll-off in non peak hours. 

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2 weeks ago