European Trains: Luggage, Refunds And Compensations

Trains are more flexible than airplanes, not just for the type of the journey, but people are more talkative on trains and like meeting with other travelers. Including the controllers.

The good thing about the trains is that you don’t really have to worry about any kind of controls of your luggage. You just have to buy a ticket, bring your free luggage and get on the train. For many people, this is a huge relief.

About your luggage when traveling with trains

The thing is that you can bring almost anything you want on the train even ski equipment, bikes, and liquids. Some trains may have restrictions but most of the railway rides are quite flexible.

Basically, if you want to take your bike with you on board and on the train it has to be a folding bicycle and if it’s not you can board in the specific train car that allows bicycles or you’ll just have to drop it off at the train station office and pick it up on the other end, at the destination. Keep in mind though that they are not allowed for every route and probably you’ll have to pay an additional fee.

You can bring beer and wine on the train, no problem. Although there may be some restriction policies on the amount.

Well, there are some items that are forbidden like guns, explosives or big knives. If you were planning on bringing some of them on the train with you, I’m sorry but that won’t be allowed.  Finally, if you’d want your meat served on the table that won’t be allowed too. Furniture and foodstuff that is likely to go bad quickly, including meat may be prohibited on some trains.

Your bags won’t be measured because there are no luggage limits on the weight. So, in general, you can bring into the train as much bags as you want as long as you can carry them by yourself. Logically speaking this would mean 2 medium bags that can fit in the racks above the seats and probably one handbag. But, as everything in life people do, and might overdo when there are no limitations because of what some train companies will charge those passengers that actually will hurt themselves if the number of the bags is higher than the number of their hands I suppose. So some of them might charge you for those extra bags. They also may have a limitation on the number of bags, bag height, and even on the weight too. Certain railway companies allow you to carry on the train with you 3 free luggage items, such as suitcases or backpacks. They also shouldn’t exceed the total weight limit of 25kg-30kg. This varies depending on the train and company.

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I couldn’t agree more that it has to be some kind of a restriction on the number of bags that should be allowed to be carried per person in the train. Simply because the inner space of the train and the luggage racks wouldn’t allow and are not predicted or designed, for example, for 10 bags per passenger. Physically it’s just not possible. So, in order for some inconveniences that might be caused by unconscious travelers, to be avoided it’s better for every company to have some basic regulation on the number of bags.

In practice, most of the railway companies don’t have any restrictions on the luggage and for those exceptions that have are not quite strict about it. The luggage is not checked or measured before boarding on the train. So, in general, nobody will ever make you any problems with your luggage bags on trains. Bring as much as you want.

Just as with cabin baggage in the airplanes, you’ll have an access to your bags throughout the whole journey. You can put your bags on the racks above your seat, on the floor below your seat, or rarely in a luggage area in the car.

Although train thefts are not very common, the luggage is solely your responsibility and you should keep an eye on your bags at all times. Best advice is to label your bags in case you lose your luggage. If the bags have written personal information on them you’ll be contacted more quickly. That’s one of the things unique to trains: people get so relaxed that quite often can forget stuff or leave behind some of the luggage.

In most European stations there are conveniently situated lockers where you can leave your bags when you want to explore some city.

If your registered luggage was lost or damaged you can claim for 330 euros unless the content was more expensive in which case you can get up to 1,300 euros maximum, per bag, if only you can prove how valuable was the content in the bags. And you can ask for these compensations if only your luggage was appropriately packed and fit for transport.


Rail ride compensations and refunds

If traveling in the European Union by train and your trip is being interrupted by train cancelations or delays you can compensate for your loss. The regulations described further apply for international railway rides within the EU borders.

Compensations, in general, are subject to every railway company separately and they may not be offered if you didn’t get a seat but only when a seat reservation was made. Some train companies operating in the EU may offer compensation for multiple train delays of even 15 min or 30 min, while others for train delays of 60 min. The best advice is to always check with the railway company for the details.

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So, while you are there waiting for your train on the station and you get information that your train will be arriving at your destination one hour later than the original arrival time of your ticket you can cancel the ticket and your journey and get a refund at the moment of the cancelation, right there on the station. This refund sometimes can be only for the part of your trip. They should give you food and drinks in your waiting time at the station and accommodation in case you have to stay overnight.

You are entitled to a compensation when your train is delayed and you decide to travel on the delayed train anyway or the following one. So, if you still want to continue your journey and take that train you can claim 25% of the price of the ticket if the train is late one to two hours or 50% for more than two hours.

If you were told that your train will be delayed before you bought your ticket, then you won’t be eligible for any kind of compensation.

Refunds on Eurail Passes can be done only for unused, non-promotional ones and you’ll have to return the Pass to the place where it was purchased before the first day of validity starts or a railway official should certify the Pass as Unused. If the Pass was used, lost or stolen cannot be refunded or replaced. The request for refund should be made where the pass was purchased no more than three months after your last day of validity.

When you travel with Eurail Pass and it happens that two, three or more train rides were delayed for more than an hour you can apply for a compensation from Eurail. You are eligible for a refund from Eurail if you experience three train delays of 60 min or more with your Global Pass or Select Pass, and two or more with the One Country Pass. The amount depends on the price and validity of the pass.

Plan your trip with this free Eurail Planning Tool

In a case of injury or train accident, the passenger or the family can ask for compensation, in which case the train company should provide an advanced payment within 15 days of the accident.

To claim any compensation usually you’ll be given a paper form at the station or, if not, you can send an explanatory letter, or finally, maybe there will be an option for an online form on that train’s company website.