Train operator imposes airline-style luggage limits on passengers

Passengers at train station holding luggage
Passengers at train station holding luggage

Train passengers have been warned that they can only bring one large suitcase and two bags when travelling on one of the country’s main rail lines.

Passengers travelling with rail firm LNER on the East Coast Main Line have been greeted by signs across its network alerting them to the airline-style luggage limits.

The messages say travellers are allowed a maximum of three items of luggage per person, including hand luggage, but also urges them to try to travel with fewer.

The three-luggage limit is in line with National Rail’s conditions of carriage guidelines, which have been in place since at least 2012, with most of the country’s 14 train operating companies using the policy.

The Telegraph understands that LNER erected the new signs across its network during busy periods to remind passengers about the limits while space on carriages was tighter. However, it has also been deploying similar signs over recent years.

Government-run LNER is the main rail firm delivering services on the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh.

According to its rules, passengers should bring only one large suitcase, a carry-on bag that can fit in the overhead storage and a small bag that can fit under a seat. Luggage can be refused if there is not enough room for it in the carriage and if it obstructs doorways or corridors.

LNER has one of the more prescriptive allowances compared to other longer distance operators, with Great Western Railway and Avanti, the main carrier on the East Coast Main Line, not providing specifics on size. However, it does allow travellers to bring up to two pets with them, free of charge.

The 2022 National Rail conditions for carriage puts no restrictions on the size of the three items, but individual pieces should not exceed 30 x 70 x 90cm.

The issue of train luggage allowances hit the headlines earlier in the year when Martijn Gilbert, the managing director of operator Lumo, suggested that passengers who bring larger suitcases on a train should pay more to travel.

Speaking to The Evening Standard, Mr Gilbert said: “Why should somebody who is getting on the train with a ginormous suitcase pay the same fare as somebody just bringing on a small laptop or rucksack?”

However, the Campaign for Better Transport said it would be a hard policy to police.

Lumo, which operates some services to Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line under an open access deal, currently adopts a policy that allows passengers to bring on only one medium sized suitcase and one small bag.

Earlier this year, several rail companies banned passengers from bringing e-scooters onto trains because of concerns about fire risks posed by the vehicles.