Rail passengers are being told they can only take one large suitcase and two bags on board trains on one of Britain’s main routes, given airline baggage limits.
Passengers using London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services on the London to Edinburgh route have seen signs online advising about baggage limits.
The operator warns travelers that they can take a maximum of one large suitcase, a carry-on bag and a small handbag, but also urges them to “travel for less.”
Although the National Railways Conditions of Carriage issued in 2012 stipulate that only three positions are allowed on trains, it is rare for the carrier to advise passengers on this rule.
However, government-run LNER is installing posters across its network to remind customers of the restrictions during busier periods when there is less space, it said Telegraph.
Although LNER has published similar signals in the past, the issue was brought to light this week by author Christopher Howse, who wrote the 2013 book Train in Spain.
Twitter user @emeraldlrutterr posted a photo of stacked suitcases on an LNER train from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh in June this year, claiming that a door opened at Peterborough station “causing suitcases to fall towards a family with two young children”.
Chris Smillie tweeted this photo in January this year, saying his daughter was traveling on LNER to Newcastle. He added: “My daughter is traveling to Newcastle alone. On the first train, the person occupying a reserved seat did not move despite being politely asked, and her seat on the train from York is occupied by passengers’ luggage. Was this ever acceptable?
Howse tweeted a photo of the poster, writing: “Trains pretend to be planes, but they’re more expensive. Now, for LNER, you only need one piece of hand luggage and two bags.
LNER’s baggage allowance policy on its trains
Here are the full LNER rules on what passengers can carry on its trains:
Please note that we only allow three products per person. You can bring a maximum of one large suitcase, a carry-on bag and a small handbag on board.
Small bags will fit under the seat (remember to tuck them in securely so you don’t trip if you have to get up).
Cabin bags should be placed above the seat on overhead shelves so that personal items are always at hand. There is also space between some of the seats where you can safely store smaller suitcases.
Suitcases up to 80x57x30 fit perfectly into the racks at the ends of the carriages – if your suitcases are larger, you won’t be able to bring them on board.
The maximum bag size on our trains is 90 x 70 x 30 cm.
Very large bags
They may need to be placed in designated areas on board. Ask a member of our team for help.
Strollers and pushchairs
Strollers must be folded and stored in the designated luggage area.
Bicycles on board
If you wish to transport a non-folding bicycle, you must make a reservation before your trip.
The ruling comes as LNER tries to cope with a huge increase in leisure travel following the pandemic – with 30 per cent more customers now traveling on Sundays on its 350km network than in 2019.
In recent months, passengers have posted photos on Twitter of suitcases stacked under windows and along service line aisles as people jockey for space.
To avoid such scenes at peak times, LNER allows suitcases up to 90cm by 70cm by 30cm, but says suitcases measuring 80cm by 57cm by 30cm will “fit nicely on the racks at the ends of the coaches”.
Very large bags may need to be placed in designated areas on board, while strollers must be folded and stored in the designated luggage area. People wishing to transport a non-folding bicycle must make a reservation before traveling.
LNER warns that luggage may be rejected on our trains if it is “likely to cause injury, inconvenience or nuisance or is likely to cause damage to property”.
Luggage will also be banned if it “blocks doors, aisles or corridors” or if “there is not enough room for your luggage.”
By comparison, Ryanair’s baggage policy is that everyone is given one small personal bag on board, but can then pay for more pieces of hand luggage ranging from £6 to £38, and for checked baggage from £12 to £60. Costs vary depending on booking time, flight dates and route.
A spokesman for transport watchdog London TravelWatch told MailOnline today: ‘Train travel must be accessible to everyone – it is unacceptable when seats reserved for wheelchairs or passengers with mobility problems are blocked by suitcases or large bags.
“We know that these travel conditions have been in place for over a decade, but it is important that rail companies clearly inform passengers of any baggage restrictions. Especially if they currently have to enforce the rules more due to performance issues.
Former shadow transport secretary Norman Baker, of the Campaign for Better Transport, told MailOnline: ‘The idea of allowing the private sector to innovate is a good one, but from a bureaucratic point of view enforcing it can be a nightmare.
“That said, growing passenger numbers are a sure sign of success.”
LNER passenger Ky Hodgson from Durham said in April 2022 that she had “just been hit by someone’s suitcase falling over because he had put it on top of another standing suitcase”. She added: “Now the luggage racks look like this, but at least I won’t get hit again.”
LNER passenger Steve Biggs tweeted in May 2022: “I was very lucky to find some space for my luggage on the way to Edinburgh… although the base of the stroller didn’t quite fit. Even your train employees took photos of strollers in the vestibules to prove that more storage space was needed.
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) operates rail services between London and Scotland
Lumo, a low-cost operator competing with LNER from October 2021, also has luggage restrictions that allow customers one small bag and one medium suitcase.
Rail industry sources told MailOnline that Lumo’s restrictions are believed to have come into force very quickly because its services quickly became popular with students tempted by low fares to carry large amounts of luggage to and from university.
Lumo CEO Martijn Gilbert suggested in February that travelers with large suitcases should pay more than those who take “only a laptop or a small backpack.”
A spokesman for LNER told MailOnline today: “This is nothing new. The national conditions of carriage – applied by all train operators – set a limit of three pieces of luggage per person.
“During particularly busy times we use posters to remind customers of our policy. Unlike many airlines serving our London to Scotland route, LNER does not charge passengers for bringing luggage on board or impose weight restrictions.
“We simply ask that customers be able to manage their own luggage without additional assistance, unless they are an elderly or disabled customer and have booked assistance through Passenger Assistance.”
LNER took over services on the East Coast Main Line after Virgin Trains East Coast returned the franchise to the Government in June 2018. Main destinations are London, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, but runs as far as Inverness.