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Baggage theft from trains?

Baggage theft from trains?

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Old Jul 27, 13, 1:24 pm
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Baggage theft from trains?

Curious the experience folks have had with luggage on trains (Eurostar and SNCF). The last time I was on a train in Europe, I had a backpack I could easily store about the seat.

I'm returning now, family in tow, and we will have at least 1 bag (full sized suitcase)/person.

We have a steel cable we could run through all the bags to help deter theft, but not sure it's worth it.

Can folks comment on their experience storing bags, especially in cases where they may be out if direct sight at the end of the train compartment?

Thanks.
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Old Jul 27, 13, 4:13 pm
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This sadly happened to friends of mine who had a suitcase nicked before the train left Paris. However, I think it's statistically a very poor risk, but I reckon they'll take supplementary measures when they next travel. SNCF were very helpful, searched the train and provided the necessary paperwork for them to report it to the police at the town they arrived at, and this meant that they could lodge a claim with their insurance company.

I think baggage insurance is still important, even though it might mean a slight increase in the cost of the policy, and will not be an immediate help when trouble strikes.

I hope you have an uneventful journey.
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Old Jul 27, 13, 6:51 pm
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I think it's worth it just for peace of mind. You'll be able to enjoy the relaxing trip without having to stress about your bags at every stop.

Baggage insurance is a great idea too.
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Old Jul 28, 13, 3:33 am
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As a data point, I've travelled on trains throughout Europe, very regularly, all my life, without any locks, and have never had anything stolen to date, nor do I know anyone who has. However, I do appreciate that when you're far from home, theft like this would have a greater impact.

I think the important thing is to separate out documents and valuables and keep them in a smaller bag at your seat. And then to check for local knowledge on individual routes. For example, I'd never leave luggage unattended between Schiphol and Amsterdam, as its notorious for theft.

If you are securing your luggage, do be aware how stacked up the luggage racks can get in the course of a journey. If, for example, you place your luggage horizontally and lock it down (rather than vertically), you may return to find heavy luggage piled in top just as you pull into your intermediate station...

Finally, do look for alternative spaces in the train. Putting luggage on seats is very bad form, but space between seats positioned back to back can be very useful.
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Old Jul 28, 13, 4:31 am
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I've been lucky so far in that in many hundreds of trips on Eurostar and SNCF I've never had a problem. If you are worried I'd suggest just making sure you have your eye on your bags while the train is stopped at a station. One advantage of Eurostar is that it makes very few stops. While the train is moving, it is very unlikely that anyone would take a heavy bag (where would they take it to?). Do lock the bags though, obviously.
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Old Jul 28, 13, 4:45 am
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My experience is a lot like Stut's. I've travelled on trains throughout Europe and using only common sense and good packing, I've (almost) never lost anything.

However, I did forget a book and mobile phone on a train once. It was Prague and I was in the metro station underneath the train station when I realised my mistake. I ran back upstairs (Prague was the terminus of the train) and saw the conductor just getting off the train. I asked him in English about my things and he suggested I try the lost and found. However, I then asked again in German and he took me onto the train. Strangely, someone had taken my book, but my mobile phone was still where I left it. However, it was my own carelessness that caused the loss.
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Old Jul 28, 13, 12:27 pm
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I never experienced it first hand, but know people who have. It's not always the luggage in on the racks near the door that are targeted, there is a gang robing people from the luggage in the overhead racks in Brussels (train stops 3 times in 20 minutes): one distracts you with a question, other one takes the bag and hops off the train. A steel cable lock should be enough for the thieves to pick a different bag. Seems the thieves target bags based on the looks of owners and the bags...
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Old Jul 28, 13, 3:23 pm
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You have to VERY careful and keep your eyes peeled, Europe is not what it was. Switzerland in particular is dreadful, the Lausanne-Geneva trains and the Zurich-Zurich Airport trains are particular targets for thieves, who can so quick, the blink of an eye.

Have a think about baggage transportation services offered by the train companies, which can be well the cost for the hassle of lugging it all around.
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Old Jul 28, 13, 5:48 pm
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Thanks all for the great insight. Do you all know if its possible to check bags on either the Eurostar (between London and Paris) and on the SNCF in France?
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Old Jul 28, 13, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by EG33 View Post
Thanks all for the great insight. Do you all know if its possible to check bags on either the Eurostar (between London and Paris) and on the SNCF in France?
Proven wrong

Last edited by stockmanjr; Jul 30, 13 at 9:07 pm
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Old Jul 29, 13, 4:27 am
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Eurostar is one of the least likely trains to have your bags stolen on. Firstly, the overhead racks are huge. Secondly, there are few intermediate stops, and those that there are are heavily controlled (you cannot enter the platform area without a ticket, passport and security).

However, there are baggage services on the Eurostar, although you are not guaranteed they will travel on the same train:

http://www.eurostar.com/sites/defaul...gage_flyer.pdf

SNCF don't have a checked luggage service, but they do have a door-to-door delivery service:

http://bagages.voyages-sncf.com/
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Old Jul 30, 13, 9:08 pm
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Eurostar is one of the least likely trains to have your bags stolen on. Firstly, the overhead racks are huge. Secondly, there are few intermediate stops, and those that there are are heavily controlled (you cannot enter the platform area without a ticket, passport and security).

However, there are baggage services on the Eurostar, although you are not guaranteed they will travel on the same train:

http://www.eurostar.com/sites/defaul...gage_flyer.pdf

SNCF don't have a checked luggage service, but they do have a door-to-door delivery service:

http://bagages.voyages-sncf.com/
I've never seen that service advertised before interesting.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 9:23 pm
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Not baggage theft, but an attempt at robbery nonetheless.

Some years ago I was traveling on an overnight train from Nice to the Spanish border. My passport, ticket and money were in my jacket which had zipped pockets, and I was using the jacket as a pillow. I was in a first-class compartment, but not a couchette.

I was disturbed by something in the middle of the night, awoke to find my jacket missing - it had been taken from under my head as I slept. I jumped up and went into the corridor where I found my jacket on the floor outside my door. Whoever took it must have realised that I woke up and dumped it there. There was no sign of anyone, but thankfully nothing was missing. It was the days before Schengen so I would have been stuck at the border, unable to enter Spain and without a ticket to take me to anywhere else in France to sort out my problem.
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Old Jul 31, 13, 1:59 am
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Ah, that train used to be famous for it - complete with exaggerated rumours of thieves using gas to knock people out before robbing them. IIRC, it was up there with Moscow-St Petersburg and Schiphol-Amsterdam CS for theft!

It was a very popular interrail route, and seems to have gone down in legend, like the Brindisi-Patras ferry...
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Old Jul 31, 13, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Ah, that train used to be famous for it - complete with exaggerated rumours of thieves using gas to knock people out before robbing them. IIRC, it was up there with Moscow-St Petersburg and Schiphol-Amsterdam CS for theft!

It was a very popular interrail route, and seems to have gone down in legend, like the Brindisi-Patras ferry...
I'd heard the urban myths as well, however this actually happened to me not to a friend of a cousin's sister-in-law. I don't know of anyone else it happened to, and I consider that I was lucky that they took fright and dropped my jacket.

I have no fear of catching trains anywhere in Europe - there were times during that long trip that I sometimes hoped that my luggage would be stolen so I didn't have to carry it around any more, I was sick of the sight of it at the end of three months.
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