Unlike airlines, there is generally no weight limit for luggage on European trains and no check-in either. Passengers are required to carry their own bags in the station and board the train without assistance, stowing bags in the luggage racks at the end of each carriage or in the overhead compartments.
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Some rail operators publish more specific guidelines, but these aren't usually strictly enforced. However, the general rule is that travellers should carry one item of luggage per passenger plus one smaller item of hand luggage.
Unlike airlines, there aren't any limitations on taking liquids on board the train and rail companies tend to be more relaxed than airlines about luggage restrictions. However, there are some exceptions such as bikes and pets, so if you intend to travel with a particularly bulky item you should do thorough research before booking any tickets.
Labelling your luggage
Labelling your bags is mandatory on all European trains, so you should affix a label that includes the passenger's full name. Paper labels can normally be found at large stations (e.g. Eurostar terminals) but we recommend purchasing something more sturdy that will last more than one trip.
Luggage on the Eurostar
- Passengers with an adult ticket can take a maximum of two bags (up to 85cm long) including rucksacks, suitcases or ski equipment and one small item of hand luggage.
- Child passengers (4-11 year olds) can travel with a maximum of one bag (up to 85cm long) and one piece of hand luggage.
- There aren't any weight restrictions for luggage, but you must be able to carry your own bags onto the train and put them in the luggage racks, so make sure they’re not too heavy for you.
- Pushchairs and prams can be carried in addition to your individual allowance. These need to be folded up stored in the luggage racks in your coach.
- If you need to take more than the standard luggage allowance, or have heavy or oversized items (longer than 85cm) you can do so with Eurostar's registered luggage service, which can be arranged at the station for a fee. (This service is not available from Ebbsfleet or Ashford.)
- If you are traveling with a musical instrument 85cm or less in length then it can travel with you onboard as part of your individual luggage allowance. Any instrument exceeding 85cm will have to travel as registered baggage or have a place reserved on board. Eurostar have a dedicated page to musical instruments with detailed information about your options.
- Luggage on the ski train: The Eurostar Ski Train has a special area in each carriage for large items like skis.
Luggage on the TGV
TGV & TGV Lyria (France, Switzerland)
- You can take 2 bags or suitcases plus 1 piece of hand luggage on board per passenger.
- All luggage must be clearly labelled.
- Only take with you luggage that you can easily carry and store in the spaces provided for this purpose.
- There are luggage racks above the seats, in the middle of the carriages on some TGV and spaces behind or under your seat.
TGV (France - Spain)
- Each passenger may travel with up to three pieces of luggage each 85 x 55 x 35cm max.
- The total weight of each item must not exceed 25kg.
- In addition, we accept hand luggage of 46x70cm max. weighing less than 30kg e.g. skis, folded wheelchairs or prams, dismantled bikes in a bike bag 120x90cm.
- Bags are scanned for long distance or international journeys at some major stations, Barcelona in particular.
Luggage on the ICE
- Each passenger may travel with up to two pieces of luggage (e.g. suitcase) plus one item of hand luggage
- There is no specified weight limit, but passengers must be able to carry their own luggage and place it in luggage racks without assistance
- All items of luggage must be labelled.
Luggage on the AVE
- Luggage is considered to be any hand-carried item that does not contain items that may be a hazard or nuisance to other passengers (e.g. knives, weapons, harmful substances etc.).
- All items of luggage must be labelled.
- All ticketed passengers may carry up to three pieces of luggage.
- The largest piece of luggage may not exceed 85 x 55 x 35 cm (height-width-depth).
- The total weight of the three items of luggage may not exceed 25kg.
- Folded baby seats and pushchairs are permitted.
- Musical instruments in their cases, may not exceed 30 x 120 x 38 cm (width-length-depth).
- Folded or dismantled bicycles must be placed inside a carrying case. The sum of the dimensions may not exceed 180 cm.
- Only one golf bag, surf board or pair of skis may be transported per passenger. Both golf bags and ski bags must be closed properly so that the items they contain cannot move or shift.
- The maximum weight for sporting equipment is 30kg.
Luggage on the Thalys
- Each passenger is permitted one carry-on bag and two pieces of luggage that meet the following conditions:
- 32kg maximum per suitcase
- 158 cm maximum (the sum of the length and width
- If you have luggage considered bulky (skis, bikes, musical instruments, golf bags), you'll need to contact Thalys' customer service.
- You can carry one regular suitcase, one carry-on and one piece of bulky luggage.
- If you are travelling with a child you can carry a push chair in addition to your regular luggage allowance.
Bulky luggage on the Thalys
- Pushchairs must be folded and placed in one of the storage areas located in your carriage.
- Bicycles must be folded. If your bicycle isn't foldable, it must be placed in a 120 x 90 cm bag (front wheel removed).
- Musical Instruments must be carried in cases; cannot exceed 3m in length and 32kg.
- Skis, sport bags and golf bags must be in bags and cannot exceed 3m in length and 32kg.