A Herefordshire couple were kicked off a Great Western Railway (GWR) train because of their converted e-bike after a train manager ‘took exception’ to the bike, believing that it was a fire hazard and banned from rail services.
Colin and Margaret Palmer were ejected from their London-bound train at Honeybourne station earlier this month, but Mr Palmer told the Hereford Times he felt the train manager was “wrong,” arguing, “There has been publicity recently about the fire hazards resulting from the batteries fitted to poorly regulated e-scooters… But the highly regulated e-bike industry has no such problems, as recognised by the GWR in their regulations.”
When at Honeybourne station, Mr Palmer showed the relevant GWR statement to the manager of the next London-bound train who, “had no objections to the bike,” he said, and the couple continued their journey.
However, a spokesperson for GWR said that while the company welcomes customers with e-bikes on board its trains, "we reserve the right to refuse access to modified bikes that could pose a risk to other customers' safety."
GWR supplied ebiketips with a photograph of the bike in question:
“Unfortunately, this is not a standard e-bike and has been modified to be electronic," said GWR. "To minimise the risk to other passengers on board, the customer was asked to not travel with the bike."
GWR banned e-scooters from its trains and stations earlier this year, due to the fire risk associated. Several other UK rail operators have also banned the vehicles from their trains, including Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services, as well as Southeastern and South Western Railway.
E-bikes are however still allowed, "because they are legal to use in the UK and are regulated to a legal minimum Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) standard. E-scooters are not subject to the same regulation, which makes them a higher, unregulated risk.”
Last year Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight rail service between London and Scotland, banned e-bikes from its trains, citing a risk assessment and “safety reasons”, but later reversed the ban after accepting that they did not pose a significant fire risk.