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Double bass on Eurostar (URGENT)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by James Banner, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    Hi guys,

    I'm going to study jazz at CNSMDP in Paris for 3 months on exchange and I want to take my bass with me. So far Eurostar have been a bit unclear about how I can take my bass, originally saying that a hard case is recommended now they say it's required! This is for their "registered baggage" service. The problem is I don't have a hard case (please no suggestions of renting one/buying one/borrowing one, that won't happen, I don't have the money or time!).

    Just wondered if anyone here has recently travelled with a bass, either in registered baggage or actually in the carriage? My friend went to study there 2 years ago and his was fine in a soft case but they may have changed it now. I saw a thread on here dated from years ago where a guy took it in the carriage with him but I don't expect that now.

    On a separate note, their customer service so far has been awful, taking over 2 weeks to reply to each email! I understand that they will have a lot of emails to reply to, but it seems like there is only one guy (the head of despatch in London) replying to my emails.

    A bientôt!

  2. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    Wow, got a reply straightaway, here's what they said, might be useful for others planning on doing it:

    "Hi James

    A hard case is a requirement. If you are happy not to and it travels in a soft padded case, upon registration we will ask to to sign to say you authorise Eurostar to send. A child fare for it to travel on a sear does not apply anymore I m afraid.

    Please let us know that train you wish to travel on so that we can check /book space in the luggage compartment.

    kind regards"

    Looks like I will have to sign that paper!
  3. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Thanks for the info James. Let us know how the journey goes.
    Cheers Geoff
  4. nicholasrahn


    Oct 24, 2012
    Hey I just traveled via Eurostar with my bass. My first journey was from brussels to London. They were happy to take it in a soft case and assured me they would take extra care of it. They charged me 30 Euro. From London to Paris they told me since it was in a soft case it was at my own risk, and they charged me 30 pounds. On both trips it was well cared for and no damage. You just need to go to the buggage/eurodispatch window rather than the general eurostar desk. The baggage people have quite a bit of experience with double basses.
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  6. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    Totally forgot about this thread, sorry!

    Yes my bass was fine during my journey from London to Paris too. It's funny they charge an equal numerical amount though, since £30 isn't 30 Euros, but I won't complain when I take my bass back home at Christmas. Except for the fact I have to leave Paris... :(
  7. douglas81


    Sep 24, 2006
    I came across this thread from a "Eurostar Double Bass" Google search :)

    I traveled only a few months ago from Brussels to London on the Eurostar. I took may bass in with me with no hassle and no extra charge. The luggage area racks are pretty well designed and you can unclip one of the shelves, allowing you to put the bass safely inside, bridge towards the corner of the rack, and well protected. Actually, it's almost perfectly designed for the purpose. And it meant I could see the bass for the whole journey.

    However, I'm seeing now that I've perhaps been lucky in the past and I should expect to pay £30. I must say, however, that I'm very reluctant to have it stowed away somewhere out of sight. Has anyone traveled recently and been allowed to take the bass with them onto the carriage? I'm going to be travelling from London to Brussels. Bass will be in a soft case.

    To Nicholas and James... did they take the bass on the same train? It sounds like if they decide there's not enough room in the baggage carriage, the only option is to send it on the next available service (http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/travel_information/before_you_go/box/musical_instruments.jsp) and it taking up to 24 hours to arrive!

    Very curious to know about anyone else's Eurostar experience?

  8. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    All I can say is you were EXTREMELY lucky to be able to take it in the carriage with you. They have size limits on luggage etc. and I even had to prove my bass was insured when I put mine in registered baggage. How did you manage to take the bass through customs (suitcase scans etc) with no problems?

    Eurostar's policy is that large instruments have to be carried in registered baggage, and you're right, if there's not enough room they put in on the next available train. Mine was taken on the same train, however I had made a reservation via email (reservation is free, pay £30 when you get to London). This is the easiest thing to do; imagine getting there and there's no room for your bass!

    I know personally I'm not going to risk just turning up with a bass at Gare du Nord...
  9. douglas81


    Sep 24, 2006
    Hi James,

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I guess I must have been lucky in the past. The bass goes on the normal thing to be x-rayed, just like everyone else's belongings... hand-bags, laptops, etc. I must admit, the size of the bass does look very funny going through the scanner.

    So, okay. To be on the safe side I'm going to e-mail them and book the reservation. This will be the first time travelling *from* St. Pancras - every other time I've been coming into St. Pancras from Brussels.

    Can I ask... did you leave the bass with them at the check-in, or were you able to take you bass with you to the baggage carriage?

    Also, was it quick at the other end to get your bass back? I have a connection to make only 25 after arrival!

  10. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    I think you were lucky with the bass going through the normal scanner, at St Pancras the scanners are just big enough for suitcases so absolutely no chance of turning up with your bass. Of course the registered baggage scanner is big enough for a bass! Good idea to email, the guy you need is: Spencer.Heather@eurostar.com

    You need to be at Eurodespatch no later than 1 hour before the departure of the train at St Pancras. You leave the bass with them at the Eurodespatch desk; you watch it go through the scanner and then hope for the best as it disappears from view :p

    I got off at Paris so of course I don't know how quick it will be for you to get it back at Brussels. I think it took me ten mins to get to the collection point then I had to wait another ten mins after that for my bass to arrive. If I was you I would definitely leave more than 25 mins for connection, I would allow more even without a bass! I would recommend minimum 1 hour after arrival for your connection, see if you can change your ticket or buy another one a bit later whilst they're still cheaper, I can pretty much guarantee that 25 mins is not enough :(

  11. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    Also here is some info about the process:

    "Dear James

    We don t throw anything on or off the trains and such an item could not have anything stacked on top of it. Our luggage compartments are quite small hence the 2 m height rule. As I mentioned in my email on 1 August, a hard case is preferable. If in a soft padded case, then an email to me confirming you are happy for it to travel . I have your insurance copies on file.

    kind regards"
  12. douglas81


    Sep 24, 2006
    Thanks for additional info, James.

    Wow - you mean that you just see your bass disappear through a little flap, like in an airport check-in desk? I'm genuinely already feeling nervous.

    I've exchanged a few e-mails now with the EuroDespatch person. They've actually been quite quite to respond. But, as you suggested, no chance to take the bass on the train myself. I even asked them if it's possible for me to put the bass in the luggage car myself, or even if I can at least accompany the baggage handler. The reply:

    "You will not be authorised to place the bass on the train yourself nor accompany it with the handler."

    Now I'm really nervous!
  13. James Banner

    James Banner

    Feb 20, 2007
    Yes it disappears, but the flap isn't so small haha.

    And yes, that's the way it is, but don't worry, my bass was fine! It was just in a (Mooradian) soft case and I put on the bridge mute to maybe protect the bridge from any bangs, but to be honest that probably makes no difference. I don't think the baggage handlers are anything like airport baggage handlers, they do actually look after your stuff you know?

    Anyway, best thing to do is just make sure you have insurance to cover unattended damage to your bass whilst in transport.

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