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Tomorrow, a friend of mine will board a TGV InOUI train from Barcelona to Paris. However, their luggage is heavier than the allowed 30kg. Does any of you know if and how strictly they check for luggage weight when boarding the train?

Edit: For future reference, my friend took the train today without any issues whatsoever, despite the bag weighing almost 60kg. Of course this does not mean that they never check, but they didn't in this instance.

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    SNCF says "You must be able to carry your bags and suitcases yourself in one go". If the friend is visibly struggling, that may attract attention. Commented May 28 at 12:52
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    French responders should note that France-Spain TGV have a specific rule that doesn't apply anywhere else in France. See SNCF (fr), SNCF (en),Renfe. In France, they wouldn't check the weight: stations don't even have scales. But I don't know how it is in Barcelona. Commented May 28 at 13:15
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    @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' Note that the TGV InOui between France and Spain is now an exclusively SNCF operation. Renfe is no longer involved in the trains branded TGV InOui, they now run their own trains, but as far as as I know, they only get to Marseille and Lyon for now, not Paris. There's probably quite a lot of documentation that is not up to date on that, though it's difficult to say if those baggage rules applied only on the former SNCF-Renfe services or if they still apply to the pure SNCF services.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 28 at 13:20
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    However, there are airport-style security checks on high-speed train services in Spain, so there may be limits on the size of the luggage for that reason.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 28 at 13:21
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    @jcaron I just googled some random technical specifications of luggage scanners. It seems the conveyor belts on those are often rated around 150-200kg max load. So apart from the size limit, a group of travelling strongmen transporting their equipment by train for some reason might conceivably break things, but with a single piece of slightly overweight luggage this seems unlikely.
    – mlk
    Commented May 29 at 9:59

3 Answers 3

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There are definitely no size or weight checks in general for TGV InOui trains.

But:

  • They must be able to carry their bags and put it in an appropriate rack by themselves.
  • If they are on the upper level of the TGV, they should be able to carry it up the (narrow and steep) stairs, and then back down on arrival.
  • Note that luggage storage in Duplex TGVs is quite limited (there's much less capacity than in regular TGVs as the overhead storage is very small and cannot accommodate suitcases, only very small bags, so there's only a small amount of storage space at the entrance of each coach and a bit more further down the aisle.
  • Rules in France changed on February 15, 2024, with a grace period up to September 15, 2024: I believe there was no weight or size limit until now, just that you be able to carry the bags yourself (and maybe a limit of the number of items). Now there are weight and size limits.
    • The current, unenforced for now, general limit in France is 2 bags, each max 90 x 70 x 50 cm + 1 bag max 40 x 30 x 15 cm (with exceptions for special luggage such as strollers, e-scooters, skis...). There is no weight limit.
  • France-Spain trains used to be run as a joint SNCF-Renfe operation and had specific rules. This is no longer the case ("TGV Inoui" branded trains are operated by SNCF only now), but it's unclear if there are still specific rules or if the general rules apply.
    • The specific rules listed on the SNCF site for France-Spain trains are 2 bags max 85 x 55 x 35 cm each, with a combined limit of 25 kg(!) (with the same kinds of exceptions). Again, I have no idea if those currently really apply or not.
  • In Barcelona Sants there should be security checks of luggage which may restrict the size of the bags which can go through the scanners. It doesn't look like they have any scales, though.

Hopefully someone with direct and recent experience on that route can tell us more.

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    (+1) There is decent luggage storage at the back of the lower level in TGV Duplex (especially the first class carriages in the newer ones).
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 28 at 14:58
  • As far as I remember, there was a 50 kg per person limit on TGV baggage even 20 years ago, but it was never enforced.
    – grahamj42
    Commented May 28 at 21:22
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    I updated my original question already. Now I can say from my friend's experience that it is no issue at all to travel with a 60kg bag + big bag pack (about 30kg) + violin.
    – Ben
    Commented May 29 at 13:14
  • @Ben You can state that this was true for a one time experience based on a friend's experience, but you cannot state without absolute certainly that the weight controls will never be enforced for others. Commented May 29 at 14:00
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    @MarkJohnson And neither did I make such a statement. I was merely responding to the last sentence of jcaron: "Hopefully someone with direct and recent experience on that route can tell us more."
    – Ben
    Commented May 29 at 15:51
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I have helped a passenger who had two very heavy bags (over 40kg each) and she could not carry them by herself. This was on a TGV from Toulon to Paris. The problem is that the train departed while I was putting the luggages in the storage, and my car was still on the minute stop and of course I had no ticket. I managed to buy a ticket inside to stop at Valence and travel back to Toulon, and get a friend to move my car for me, but this is not the best experience.

Long story short, there was no control whatsoever on the weight of the luggage, but make sure you can carry your own luggage, without external help. Especially if you stopping before the terminus, you may not be able to get out of the train before the doors close again.

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  • Yup, yup. That's exactly why the rules say "the weight limit is what you can manage in one go without assistance". Commented May 30 at 0:11
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Does any of you know if and how strictly they check for luggage weight when boarding the train?

Not sure about Spanish train stations but the SNCF does not routinely weigh luggage and generally does not actively enforce luggage rules (including the labelling rule they constantly nag you about on the PA system), same for Eurostar services to the Benelux or London (another company and yet another set of rules). I assume the rules are there to have some objective criteria to fall back to if there is a dispute or people show up with more suitcases than they can handle (I have seen this). This really isn't like aviation rules.

One thing the train guards will pay more attention to is dangerous or oddly shaped luggage with sharp edges, including bikes, diving or hunting equipment, etc. I have seen people being challenged or fined about those and I wouldn't assume you will be able to take them with you unless they are in a protective case or box.

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