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How to take bikes on trains

Overview

Taking bikes on trains in Ireland is pretty easy but there are a few things that you need to know in advance.

Know whether you can book a bike space on your route. If you can, do so ahead of time. Get on at the first station if possible – it will be easier to locate the bike spaces when you have extra time to do so.

Routes with wagons (cannot book in advance)

The route from Dublin to Cork and Dublin to Belfast both have wagons where you can store your bike and can take multiple bicycles. Bikes are not secured but also are not easily damaged. Bikes are free on the Dublin to Belfast train, and the cost on the Cork line depends on how far you go.

Republic long-distance routes

On all other routes in the Republic, there are two bicycle spaces per train that you can prebook online as you buy a ticket. It is a good idea to book ahead as there are only a few services per day on some of these routes.

The bike spaces are at the end of one of the carriages and have a strap for the bike. You can sit near the bikes. Get there early to ensure they are not used for luggage storage. You can sit on the nearest unbooked seat.

Republic commuter trains

These include the DART from Dublin to Malahide, Howth, Bray and Greystones, and the Cork-Cobh and Midleton lines. Bicycles can be carried on these trains free of charge outside of rush hour – after 10:00 except for 15:30 to 19:00 every weekday and all day on weekends.

Note that it is at the discretion of railway staff. You will be restricted during big events (concerts, festivals and sports events) which particularly affect DART users, so be aware of what is happening and be flexible if you can.

Northern Ireland trains

All trains in Northern Ireland carry bicycles for free. There is a section with foldable seats where you can strap in up to 4 bikes and sit opposite them. Bike spaces cannot be prebooked.

Useful tip

If you need to get off at a small station and go to the wagon to collect your bike, you will need to walk along the platform. Once a staff member sees you, they will unlock the wagon. To this end, it can be a good idea to identify yourself as a cyclist to get their attention from afar, with either your helmet or a hi-viz jacket prominent.

Rail staff are generally very helpful.

Summary

Know whether you can book a bike space on your route. If you can, do so ahead of time. Get on at the first station if possible – it will be easier to locate the bike spaces when you have extra time to do so.