Trains and personnal bag size !

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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I guess that Mrs. Fly and I must be a lot stronger than a lot of people, or we are much more relaxed about minor inconveniences. Unless you're getting on and off trains several times a day, every day, it never seemed that big a deal to us to have suitcases up to 27 inches.

There might be a few seconds of hassel and fussing to get on and off, but, really, unless you are just a real nervous, sensitive person I can't see it as that big a deal.

Again the exception would be if you're having to repeatedly get on and off trains and up and down stairs on a daily basis--or if you've filled that larger suitcase to the bursting point so it weighs a ton. And, of course, if you have some sort of physical problem or limitation, then you do want to be especially careful of the size and weight of your luggage.

But we all have differing tolerances for inconveniences.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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"I guess I need to know if our "larger bags" can be stored elsewhere in trains for "the next step". Like cargo! "

Nope - if you want it to get to your next city - you have to carry it yourselves . . . . .
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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There is no such thing as "cargo" on planes. If it's your luggage you ned to deal with it. Depending on the train, country and class of travel there may be a space at the end of the car to stack it. but then you need to be sure no one else takes it off at each stop.

Of - you need to put it on an overhead rack. It's cumbersome and difficult to raise that much weight above you head - and a really large bag - 30" for example - might not fit at all.

Either take MUCH less luggage or drive versus train.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Ok, I just learned something important...all luggage comes on board trains with the individual! That makes my packing decision much easier. Thank you.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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I think the answer to your question is simple: How much can you lift from the train platform to the floor the train car?

I can still manage about 40 pounds, but it helps to have an ally already in the car to take the luggage after you heft it up the steps of the railcar.

After that, it may depend on how secure you feel leaving a big suitcase at the end of the coach. Your other choice is to lift it up onto an overhead rack.

Lifting directly overhead anything more than 45 pounds will probably take some real muscle, more than I have.

In some cases, I can find a pair of seats where one faces rearward and the other frontward. There is usually room to slice a fairly large suitcase between them. Otherwise, I just park my big one at the end of the coach.

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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:31 PM
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Hubby and I (both aged 40 and in good health) just returned last week from 5 weeks in Europe. We used the trains in Italy to travel around. We each had a large roller suitcase (sorry, can't tell you the size, but they were quite large and definitely had to be checked on). I thought we were travelling lightly, but sure did learn a lesson, could have gone much lighter. We did wash clothes overnight, such as underwear, socks, but it's difficult washing woollen jerseys and pants, so we could only wash those once in a while. I took with me for 5 weeks 4 pairs of trousers/jeans, and about 4-5 lightweight jerseys, could have gone with less, I found I tended to wear the same thing day in/day out anyway. Anyway, back to the suitcases - we had some laughs. Our bags were stuffed full - how could we go to Venice for instance and not shop? (you have the picture). I was determined to stuff as much into the bags as we could. It wasn't too bad. My hubby was there to lift the cases into the overheads on the trains (yes, they did fit and not once did they need to be stored in the compartments at the end of the carriage) and in addition, we each had a cabin size day/back pack - so our hands were basically free to sort the suitcases out. I did manage to lift mine case on and off the trains - but only just. When we arrived in Venice, we walked to the hotel - big mistake - it took us an hour. It seemed as though we walked over hundreds of bridges - poor hubby had to carry both suitcases over all the bridges (one in each hand). I just could not manage it (Im very petite). Needless to say, we arrived at hotel feeling dead (especially hubby). I have learned a very valuable lesson for next time - we will still carry a large suitcase each, but alot less outfits and with plenty of extra room to bring goodies home. Also, we took with us things such as travel towels, travel clothesline, travel kettle - we used none of these.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Where are you going?

Every train is different. We took a train in Paris a few years ago and regretted buying these new suitcases. They were huge and the overhead rack was meant for laptop bags and nothing more.

We sat our luggage in seats and had people constantly telling us to move our bags as the train got very crowded. As their wasn't a section for real luggage and we opted not to take a taxi thinking their would be plenty of room on the train. Our French was quite limited, but I'm sure we got an earful as other passengers weren't too happy with us.

My experience is that even on the best trains for luggage, getting off is often difficult. Storage often means bags crammed into areas and retrieving even a small bag is often a pain.

London and German trains, I've found to be the most accomodating for luggage.

I'd carry the lightest bags you can. I'd also advise that you not sit too far from the door. The closer you are, the easier it is to get on and off.

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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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Sometimes I think we may answer a post with too much information! Yes you take your own suitcase(s) on the train with you... all of them.

You may put larger ones at a rack at the end of each train car on a communal luggage rack, or in a small shelf above your seats, or sometimes tucked between seats. But definitely you are on your own to carry them with you.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Great thread. Swoop -- I took a very large suitcase to France and it was a big pain in the rear when we took the train. I would highly recommend that you follow the advice of those recommending that you pack light.

My question for those who have replied that they're using 21" bags for multi-week trips... any chance you can post a packing list? Especially the women! I am a habitual overpacker and am determined to pare down for my next big trip.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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Sarah - you can read my packing list at It does depend on handwashing my clothes, though you could use a laundromat in Europe.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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Sarabellum, contact me directly and I will forward our lists.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 08:29 PM
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It's not just getting on and off the train. You may need to change trains at a station that's not a terminus. That usually means lugging the bags down a set of stairs, along an underground passage and up another stairway to the proper track for your next journey.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 03:21 AM
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Personally I don't share the enthusiasm for packing light. I prefer to lift a heavy suitcase a few times during train travel to washing clothes. Entering and leaving trains gets complicated for families with small children and a dozen pieces of lagguage but for two healthy grown ups, a suitcase each and a day-pack aren't exactly a nightmare, in my opinion, as long as you can lift the suitcases up a stair.

The very worst thing that can happen is that the train is full and you have to stand with your suitcases close to a door since navigating the train with heavy luggage is just a pain.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Mimar--again, for us, unless we for some reason had to "lugging" our suitcases several times a day, every day for train changes or whatever, it is no big deal.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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Train travel does make traveling with large bags an issue. I have traveled with large bag (i e, bigger than 24") and have had some problems lifting, lugging, and toting onto trains. Not an impossible feat, but difficult. My wife and I now travel with a 24" bag and one carryon bag. (Our 24" bags expand a good inch to inch and a half, so as to accomodate items purchased.)
As you will note, some people even think this is too much, but I can handle it (as of now, maybe in a few years when the ole back gets a little worse, I'll re-think that.) I have never been able to get more than the barest of essentials into a 21" or 22" bag.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Dealing with luggage is entirely your own problem. Too large suitcases won't fit on the racks above your head or between the seats, and the storages at the end of the car fill up quickly because they hardly hold more than a dozen suitcases. Be prepared for fellow pasengers and conductors to become a bit grumpy if your luggage blocks the aisle or occupies seats on crowded trains. So do yourself a favour, pack light and travel with a medium size suitcase. (Sorry, I'm not used to inch measures so cannot give exact figures.) The main problem isn't the length of the suitcase but the thickness (if you get what I mean - length, width and ...?)when it comes to fitting it onto the racks or especially between the seats. Anything above 25-28 cm may cause trouble.

P.S. Welcome to Fodor's, Sweoop!
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