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Space for Luggage

First time train traveler. Where does large size luggage go when traveling on the high speed train from Geneva to Milan? Does first class offer more room.

Posted by
16883 posts

It's more of a medium-speed train, FYI. There is limited space for "large" luggage near the doors of the train car or between some seats that are back-to-back. First class does not offer more room, but the space is shared by 25% fewer potential people. Airline-carry-on sized luggage can fit on the overhead racks in most trains, so that's a key reason to pack lighter (plus you'll be the one handling your bags).

Posted by
7205 posts

Switzerland's SBB allows for shipping your luggage ahead of you to your next Swiss destination. No, you can't "check" it to Milan.

Posted by
2560 posts

You’ll be wrestling it on and off the train, with no help. Pack lighter!

Posted by
8889 posts

Tony, there are 3 places luggage goes in trains.
1) In racks above seats (which don't have doors)
2) Between the back of two back-to-back seats. This is an A-shaped space and is better for larger items.
3) One some newer long distance trains only, extra floor to ceiling luggage racks at the end or in the middle of the coach

More info, and pictures of all 3 spaces here:

Second class is 2+2 seating, First class is 1+2 seating with proportionally wider seats and slightly more legroom. There is no extra luggage space in first class, but fewer passengers per coach.

"Can a large suitcase be checked?" - Trains do not have checked luggage or a baggage car (except in Hollywood films, they never do their research). All luggage is hand luggage, with no weight limits, except you have to carry it yourself, so the limit is your muscles.
Sometimes (e.g. between manned stations within Switzerland) you can send luggage ahead, but it doesn't travel on the same trains as you.

Posted by
3685 posts

Vis-a-vis your route question, and my DB example, be sure to note in the details how much time you have to make train changes and what the platform numbers are. You do not want to be trying to make those changes with big luggage.

You'll probably groan, but you need to pack light. Go here and here and here for advice on that.

Posted by
18 posts

To All Who Replied,
Thank you all for this advise. I’ll try t pack light but I’ve been traveling with my wife for 43 years. I don’t think she will change.
Thanks again

Posted by
10055 posts

How many times we've seen fellow travelers struggling with huge suitcases (anything over 21") in train stations! Not all stations have elevators and often we see people who cannot get their bags up the stairs or even onto the train. I almost missed my train when a tiny young woman with a huge Pullman could not lift it onto the train. (60-plus-y-o) I had to help her so I could get on. Sometimes you have about 2 minutes from the the time a train stops until it leaves again so you have to be ready to jump. A fellow traveler might take pity and help you with your cases, but train personnel will not.

In Italy, they'll let luggage pile up in the aisles to the point of being a hazard, but in Germany, stow it or get yelled at.

Seriously, try to downsize. We have gone 8 weeks with a 21-inch rollaboard and a daypack each. Cutting down on shoes is a first step.

Posted by
8405 posts

Tony, On your car-size thread, you said everyone would have 29-inch suitcases. I’ll join the others and urge you to downsize to a 21- inch and a small backpack. There are tons of videos on-line showing you how to do it. We travel 4-6 weeks twice a year with that size bag. The last time I took a 25-incher was when we were clearing out the in-laws house in France. You’ll find it a lot easier. Stick around these boards for a lot of good advice on making travel easier. Good luck.

Posted by
21071 posts

I have no idea how anyone would get a 29" suitcase onto a train, or where they would put it even if successful. I suspect that luggage of that size would not fit between two back-to-back seats.

Traveling that heavy is a nightmare scenario to me. I used a 24" or 24.5" bag in 2015, and I cursed that thing every time I needed to change cities. I found buses much, much easier than trains, because I could just roll the bag to the side of the bus and lift it into the hold. But buses are not really practical for long-distance travel legs, because they typically are a lot slower.

Posted by
5786 posts

I have no idea how anyone would get a 29" suitcase onto a train....

The Swiss trains typically have a space near the door for bicycles and/or wheelchairs. Our ski boxes are 210 cm, a lot longer than 29" and fit in the space near the train doors.

You didn't say whether your carry-on bags are rollers or backpacks. If the stronger more physically fit members of your group have backpack carry-ons, they can handle two of the 29" suitcases if the less fit members are having difficult with their suitcases. If you have a short connection with trains at different platforms, you may need cross under the track(s) and your weaker members may need a hand.

Posted by
7205 posts

In my younger years I used to help struggling travelers with their big luggage. Then I pulled a muscle in my back one time doing that and thought "Why the heck am I enabling travelers to pack too much". I don't go to great lengths any more to help people with their luggage. If you can't carry it then leave it at home. You'll have a much more enjoyable travel vacation.

Posted by
5786 posts

Then I pulled a muscle in my back....

Even lifting an 8 kg carry-on improperly could cause back injury. We need to practice safe lifting. General safe lifting advice includes:

  1. Bend at the knees to take stress off the lower back

It’s very important to bend at the knees when lifting heavy objects to
avoid straining or further worsening any pre-existing back conditions.
First, get as close as you can to the object as if you’re hugging it.
Having the object close to your body puts less strain on your lower
back. Second, never bend over the object. Instead, bend your knees and
squat in front of the object. Make sure you keep yourself in an
upright position as you pick up the object. Third, turn with your feet
and not with your back after you rise off the ground. Your back isn’t
made to twist from side to side repetitively.

  1. Keep good posture when lifting heavy objects

Maintaining good posture is key to lifting heavy objects without
injury. Keep your head up and look straight while lifting. Along with
your posture, keep your stomach muscles tight. If you feel like
holding your breath while lifting, don’t. Holding your breath can lead
to unsafe increases in blood pressure and could cause serious