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E-bikes banned from Caledonian Sleeper trains after risk assessment

10 comments

8 months 3 days ago

Is this policy discriminatory? It is certainly disabiling as it now means I cannot take my ebike on holiday with me so won't be able to do the trips I had planned.

I think this is something someone with more knowledge of Disabilty Discrimination legaslation needs to look into. 

8 months 4 days ago

The risk of lithium batteries is low but not zero. It's understandable why they're OK on a day train (more people more likely to notice a bike that starts to smoke) but not on a sleeper where, er, most people are asleep. The rail industry is pretty risk averse in the UK, that's why it's so much safer than driving.

Surely a workaround is possible (maybe put batteries into a sturdy box with a sensor?) but that's probably a lot more hassle just to enable quite a small % of sleeper train passengers, who are (in turn) only a tiny % of all rail passengers.

8 months 4 days ago

Which operator is that, Richard?

8 months 5 days ago

Great. Do I get a refund on the three trips I had already booked with this company as I now can't take my bike with me?

Hardly worth going on a cycling trip without a bike. And before anyone suggests taking a "normal" bike, frankly it would mean walking up hills if I did so which, given that I have mobility problems, is not something I can do. 

8 months 5 days ago

The London Fire Brigade has some advice on preventing battery fires.

https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/the-home/electrical-items/batteries-and-chargers/

This reinforces the message that if the battery is not in use and not on charge then there is minimal risk of it catching fire.

In this example the fire was caused by charging a phone/power bank.

https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/incidents/2021/june/house-fire-hackney/

So by the logic of Caledonian Sleeper they are also banning mobile phones/power banks/laptops/tablets/etc from being taken on board.

 

8 months 5 days ago

Generally batteries only fail when they are on charge.  If the e-bike is switched off and not charging then the risk of combustion is minimal.

In the London Fire Brigade post above one fire was due to overnight charging and the other fire was due to the battery being placed next to a hot radiator.  Neither of these conditions would occur on the sleeper train.

 

8 months 5 days ago

The local train franchise has also banned eBikes.  When I pressed them for a reason, they eventually came back with the answer that people plugging in their eBikes had fried a train's electrics.

8 months 5 days ago

".....it must “comply with a higher fire standard than a normal day train operator.”   So they've banned mobile phones?

8 months 5 days ago

So how will this play out for electric car on ferries, or the Chunnel? 

8 months 5 days ago

It'll be because of the lithium batteries. It's getting harder and harder to transport these, as they have a tendency to cause fires. Pretty much impossible to ship Li batteries by air, unless with equipment, and then only if new. This is odd, as you are allowed 30 batteries on your person when you fly. I work in shipping, and the hoops you have to jump through are rediculous, but when you see the results, you understand why.