Is using a chain lock to lock up luggage on Swiss trains totally unnecessary?

I've never been to Switzerland before, but in other European countries I have been separated from my luggage with the luggage shelves on the ends of the train cars (near the doors). I've never locked up my luggage before, and I've always been lucky, but I'm wondering if I should bring a thin chain/wire lock to put through the handles and chain the luggage to the luggage shelves. It seems like overkill, especially as we will keep our valuables with us at the seat and just have clothes, etc. in the bags. What are your thoughts? I have a chain I could use, and it is not terribly heavy, and it would be a pain to lose all our luggage. I wouldn't leave my luggage at the end of a compartment, unlocked, on a train in New York. Is it worth bringing the chain? Or is the likelihood of that type of theft on a Swiss train so slim that it is really not a major concern? Or do the Swiss trains have luggage compartments directly over the seats? Thanks for your help!


Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5981 posts

Swiss trains are like others, there are places to store large bags at the ends of the cars, often a center luggage rack, (also space between seats that are back-to-back) and overhead racks for smaller items. I've never had a problem, but if it gives you peace of mind, go ahead and lock them up.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4375 posts

No one has ever attempted to steal my luggage aboard any train ever. The only thing I can say is that most likely your baggage will be safe without the chain, and with the chain it will definitely be there when you're ready to exit.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24206 posts

Especially in Switzerland, I wouldn't bother locking luggage to the rack with a chain or cable as the trains there are quite safe (but of course no guarantees). When travelling by train with non-reserved seats, I try to choose seating that allows me to see the luggage rack, and it may also be possible to keep larger items with you at the seat, especially if the train is lightly loaded or you're in a compartment. My Daypack always stays with me, even if I have to visit the WC (one of the disadvantages of travelling solo).

I should mention that I have seen luggage pinched on trains in Germany and Austria, but I suspect that doesn't happen often. In one case that I can recall, a young couple from the orient had placed a large wheeled item in the "V" between seat backs and then went to the dining car for a meal. When they returned, the bag was gone! Police from Austria boarded on the next stop and they were followed by Police from Germany. They scoured the train from one end to the other (several times), but the bag was never found (at least not that I saw). I was sitting in that car, but wasn't paying attention and didn't notice the bag being taken.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7739 posts

If chaining your bags helps you relax a bit more on the journey and not constantly looking over your shoulder at each stop...go for it! One less thing to worry about;)

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6594 posts

A cable weighs next to nothing and a small lock as a deterrent won't add much either. Might as well do it, just for the peace of mind. I do.

Posted by phred
Los Angeles
1235 posts

This is very impressive!

Police from Austria boarded on the next stop and they were followed by Police from Germany. They scoured the train from one end to the other (several times), but the bag was never found

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24206 posts


That's what I observed. When the train crossed the border, I'm assuming one of the police agencies had to leave as they no longer had jurisdiction?

Posted by acavanaugh
6 posts

Thank you all for your thoughts. Sounds like it's mostly a peace of mind thing, at least for Switzerland...