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Old 08-05-11, 07:25 AM   #1
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Bike Train -- front panniers OK?

(Yes, I've been posting here a lot lately. Thank you for your help with my questions!)

On the Via Rail bike trains, what are the restrictions on what kinds of bikes may be used? Will there be problems trying to bring a bike with front pannier on board?
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Old 08-08-11, 02:18 PM   #2
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You'll be fine.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:06 PM   #3
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It depends on the kind of rack they use. I wouldn't trust Via and box the bike. I had one trip without a box and the came out with a bent fender. Via charges 20$ per train wether you use a box or not, but don't offer any garantee if you don't box it. Their boxes are huge and you only have to remove the pedals and turn the handlebar.
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Old 08-10-11, 12:21 PM   #4
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We just came back from a trip using VIA. It was a bike train with racks in luggage car (that's what we were told, haven't actually seen it). We just gave the bikes to the luggage person, and got them back in perfect order.
As for panniers, we have large duffel bags that we stuffed our back and front panniers, tent etc. and it was included in the same price.

There was one problem though. Our train to Ottawa was switched last minute to one without the luggage car. The bikes arrived at destination on the next train, 2.5 hrs later. I wasn't happy about that, but couldn't do much about it.
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Old 08-10-11, 01:33 PM   #5
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We just came back from a trip using VIA. It was a bike train with racks in luggage car (that's what we were told, haven't actually seen it). We just gave the bikes to the luggage person, and got them back in perfect order.
As for panniers, we have large duffel bags that we stuffed our back and front panniers, tent etc. and it was included in the same price.

There was one problem though. Our train to Ottawa was switched last minute to one without the luggage car. The bikes arrived at destination on the next train, 2.5 hrs later. I wasn't happy about that, but couldn't do much about it.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-10-11, 05:54 PM   #6
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Re-reading your original question, I don't think the type of bike will matter. If you plan on taking a recumbent or trike I will contact VIA Rail directly and ask them.

And make sure you're at the station at least an hour before your departure.
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Old 08-10-11, 07:30 PM   #7
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Just took the bike train yesterday.

They asked me to take my panniers of the back (they are the removable kind) because sometimes they get filled, heavy and causes the bike to fall over. They took the panniers separate in the baggage cart for no charge and I didn't have to worry about them.

I don't think they mind what kind of bike. I like not having to box it up.

My biggest problem was that the baggage cart is only on one ride a day so I was forced to arrive at 10 at night at my destination and when I returned I had to do so at 5:30 am.

Having said that, it was so much fun! I sat and had a drink of wine on the train, and when I got to my destination I was able to ride all over the place over a couple of days. I will likely do it again next year.
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Old 08-10-11, 07:39 PM   #8
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5:30 AM! Yikes! Where did you go?
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Old 08-19-11, 06:48 PM   #9
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5:30 AM! Yikes! Where did you go?
I went from Windsor to Toronto. I ran to the nearest Timmies before boarding and sipped it on the train. Nice.
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Old 08-20-11, 11:18 AM   #10
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I went from Windsor to Toronto. I ran to the nearest Timmies before boarding and sipped it on the train. Nice.
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Old 08-27-11, 04:12 PM   #11
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So they take your bike to the baggage car for you?
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Old 08-27-11, 07:41 PM   #12
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Yes they do. You drop it off at the luggage counter, they put the tag with destination and number on it, and off it goes. You pick it up when you get off at your destination.
The only thing is, I would try to watch my bike being unloaded and taken into the station. Nobody checked our luggage tags to see that the bikes were indeed ours!
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