Dedicated carriages for bicycles could be introduced to railway routes in the west of Scotland following a pledge by the Scottish Government last autumn and a recommendation in a report published in December by a firm of civil engineers.
Last September, when it published its programme for 2017/18, the Scottish Government said in a report that it was exploring “introducing dedicated carriages for cycles and other outdoor sports equipment on rural routes in the north and west” of the country.
Local Transport Today reports that the government is now in talks with ScotRail, whose franchise is now run by Abellio, a subsidiary of Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch national railway operator.
A report published last month, entitled Train2Ride and compiled for Highlands & Islands transport agency Hitrans, analysed current levels and future demand for people taking bicycles on the West Highland Line.
Linking Glasgow with Oban on one of its branches, and with Fort William and Mallaig on the other, the line is considered by many to be the most scenic railway route in the UK.
The study, commissioned as a result of concerns among some stakeholders that cycle capacity could be reduced on the line as a result of changes in the type of rolling stuck used to provide services on the line.
AECOM said: “Transporting bikes as unaccompanied luggage in a dedicated vehicle is an option for consideration.
“The option of dedicated bike vehicles on train services linked to cycle tourism has been raised in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (2017).
“Rather than utilise a freight vehicle, consideration should be given to the conversion of suitable rolling stock, for example 153 sprinter units that will be shortly available to provide this facility.