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Luggage racks on German trains - and are there porters in train stations?

Luggage racks on German trains - and are there porters in train stations?

May 1st, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Luggage racks on German trains - and are there porters in train stations?

My mom and I are off to Amsterdam and Germany tomorrow (yippeeee!). My luggage is fairly light and I will be able to handle it myself. My mom's suitcase is fairly heavy (and we're working on eliminating stuff right now!) but are there porters at train stations to help get the luggage up on the overhead racks or are we on our own? Is there an alternate place to store it on trains other than lifting it up high? I know we're not supposed to take anything we can't handle ourselves but Mom is not an experienced traveler. She just flew in last night from her home so she her packing choices are finite in that she can't choose alternate clothes. Like I said, we are working at paring it down. I don't mind paying for help but is it even available?
May 1st, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Usually, the luggage racks on European trains are overhead. I have also used storage bin areas at the end of the car. On some trains, with seats back to back facing opposite ways, I have slid my large case between the seats.

Porters? There are some in the larger stations. I never looked for one, so I don't really know.

I do know that in smaller stations they are few and far between. The problem is not so much getting on and off a train where you start and finish your journey. Instead, it is at a station where you must make a quick connection and to get from one platform to the other you must negotiate stairs.

I suggest your mom try lifting her suitcase onto a high shelf somewhere to see if she can manage it. Otherwise, you will be the liftee, and you will have to be hoisting hers and yours.

There are luggage carts at many stations, but that does not help with the problem of getting on the train with luggage, and getting the luggage up onto the rack, and then back down. And if no cart is on the platform when you need to make a quick connection, you don't have time to go look for one.

I usually take too much for easy travel. But we normally go for 3 weeks and must be prepared for a variety of conditions. Like this year we need formal clothes for a banquet and our hiking duds for Switzerland. So I pack a suit I wear once, dress shoes I wear once, and my normal hiking gear that I use for a solid week. That suit is going to weigh a half ton!!
brookwood is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 08:55 AM
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Have you thought of shipping the suit home after you finish? I have done that for work clothes so I only had to carry around my vacation clothes.
CarolA is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 09:21 AM
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I had thought about that, but I need it at the end of the trip. Bad planning I guess. I shipped an overcoat back to my residence once when I lived in Germany, but it was from one German city to another.

In Swiss post offices there are packing materials for sale, so it would be no big deal. I will make a decision if it is worth it after I wear the blooming thing.

I can handle it. (Said he boldly as the suitcase pulled him down.)
brookwood is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 09:24 AM
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Depending on the cofiguration of the coach you are traveling in, there may also be enough room under the seats for luggage.

As a rule of thumb, <B. do not count on finding any help other than luggage carts for moving luggage to trainside.
Intrepid1 is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 09:58 AM
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The ICE trains will have luggage storage space on the floor, particularly in first class. Other trains, it will vary.
You also have to maneuver your luggage up to the tracks and that type of luggage handling varies from station to station. In Koln, for example, there are elevators from the ground floor to the tracks (and also to the first class lounge--take the elevator for Track 1 and buzz at the back entrance to the lounge--the regular elevator in the travel center has been out of commission for months).
In other stations, there may be escalators. In still others, you may have to take the stairs, but along side the stairs is a small conveyer belt...you place your luggage on it, and it moves the suitcase up the stairs at a walking pace.
If the two of you can't manage together to lift the suitcase up onto a rack, then you should definitely get Mom to take a smaller suitcase.
BTilke is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Btilke made an interesting point about getting to the track itself. There have been many places in Germany and other countries where most of the pain came from getting suitcases up huge flights of stairs without breaking your back. You also need to consider the size of the suitcase. If it's too "puffy", you might not be able to get it either under the seat or in the overhead rack. On our trip last summer, my sister in law and I did the overhead lifting of my husband's suitcase, since he had back surgery earlier in the year, and it wasn't a problem for the two of us.
Surfergirl is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 10:26 AM
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I have found the most difficult few seconds (even w/ a smaller suitcase) is actually getting on & off the train itself. There are just a few steps (3-4) but they are narrow and steep.

Would dividing your Mom's stuff into two smaller bags be a possibility? Or that she could borrow a carry-on tote from you so that her main suitcase is not quite so heavy?

suze is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 10:56 AM
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Well, we weighed her suitcase and it was 30 lbs. She also has a small rolling carry-on that's about 10 lbs. My suitcase is about 17 lbs and I have a 7 lb rolling carry-on. These actually don't seem to be overly heavy to me - do they? It's just that my back is compromised, although feeling better, so Mom is actually gonna have to do most of the hefting. I guess I should just allow enough time so that we don't have to rush between train changes. Thanks for all your help everyone!
May 1st, 2005, 02:42 PM
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If you plan on hoisting a 30 pound suitcase onto an overhead luggage rack, I suggest you start weight training yesterday.

I am not sure you understand the amount of push needed to get that thing up over your head and onto a rack. Then, when you take it down, gravity is pulling it on top of you.

If you dont't believe me, just try taking it out at 30 pounds and hoisting it from the ground up on top of an SUV like a Ford Escape. Better pad the paint first. If you are in the range of 5 feet 6 inches tall, it will be a bit of a heft as well as a stretch.

I am 6 feet, and managing 35 pounds to and from an overhead rack is not all that easy for me. Granted, I am not the youngest man on the train, but even so, it is not something I do very often.

bob_brown is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Don't count on having extra time between trains. Even if your schedule has "extra" time built in, the trains rumble into a station, load/unload, and then move along. There just isn't extra time to be had.

Often, in Italy, you don't even know which track your train will be arriving/departing on until just a few minutes before. German trains are quite dependable, usually you can figure on them being precise schedule-wise and you will know the track # ahead of time.

Try to lighten your load, you'll be glad you did!
DeeDee is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 04:21 PM
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30 pounds shouldn't be a problem for most adult men, but it could be for many women. Though there will often be someone around willing to help.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 10:08 PM
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Well, we got my Mom's suitcase down to 25 pounds but after reading all these posts I'm quite nervous about being able to handle it. I'm only 5'3", Mom's a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier. Having traveled on trains in Switz, France I know how punctual they are. I guess we'll both have to rework the suitcases tomorrow. We just got back from seeing Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra and we're all psyched for Amsterdam tomorrow. We'll just have to be ruthless with the clothing. Well, off to sleep now with dreams of Amsterdam, Germany and lighter suitcases!! Thanks, y'all.
May 1st, 2005, 10:32 PM
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Okay, I lied - I didn't go to bed. Can't sleep. Officially panicking now!! Of course this causes my back to spasm again and now one of my Mom's hearing aids is broken! I can just picture us at the train station - me hunched over, trying to board the train while Mom wanders around 'cause she hasn't heard my directions to "get on the train NOW.!!" I'll be off to Cochem and she'll be in Amsterdam with our luggage......
May 1st, 2005, 11:11 PM
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Oh dear aggiemom, STOP! Bless your heart (as they say in the south although I am in N CA). Now listen to me please. Gentlemen in Europe are very helpful, honest, I am not kidding.

Please relax dear one. You will go to the airport. The luggage will be checked in right? When you arrive in Europe do not be surprised if some kind gentleman takes the luggage off the luggage carousel for you.

When you get to the train it is NOT the biggest problem in the world to get the suitcases on the train, honest.
Put them in the storage place on the train, the car that you will be sitting in. Pay attention to where you will be getting off the train. Go to where your luggage is. Take it off the train.

Just be aware of train stops. About your moms hearing aid, good grief I don't have an answer for that. But for sure people in Europe also wear hearing aids, can you get if fixed or replaced there? I am sure a lot of people will tell you that you need to go to bed. Well personally I hardly ever sleep before flying the next day to Europe (or the night before I fly home from Europe) so don't even worry about it.

If your Mom's suitcase is down to 25 pounds you will be fine. Do try to relax, please. And have a wonderful trip in Europe. Everything will be alright honest. Best wishes to you both.
LoveItaly is offline  
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