Eurostar travel to Alps with Ice axe etc.

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DanCarron
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Eurostar travel to Alps with Ice axe etc.

Am looking at travelling to France in April by train for some touring. What's the current state of the 'axes on trains' issue - has anyone been stopped or indeed successful in accompanying their Ice Axe to France. Up to date replies only please - this has been debated extensively before.

 

(Len  - please feel free to remove the topic if it gets out of hand)

mrianduff@gmail.com
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HI dan - I dont have anything to add - but did you dicover the answer to your question? I am going by train in April too. - if you could email me direct that would be helpful - mrianduff@gmail.com

BrianGoss
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I have recently learnt that officially they dont permit ice axes. I have carried axes, crampons througha few times in the winter season, they spotted them on the xray & asked to have a look and asked some questions. I got the impression that it was by then obvious we were genuine mountaineers with all our skis & outdoorsy kit, & they weren't that bothered. That was over a year ago though.

I've also taken an electricians cable knife (rigid 4cm blade) through a few times on work trips, which was probably a bit borderline, but likewise they had a look, I was forthcoming in responding to questions, but relaxed, & again they didnt seem too worried

My partner tried to take a little camping gas canister last summer & that was taken off though. fair enough I suppose since they've had a lot more trouble with fires than they have with terrorism/violence/ hijacking . (I personally maintain that eurostar is unnattractive to terrorists for various reasons anyway).

jamiehoward
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I went through St Pancras about 3 weeks ago with axe and crampons etc. That was fine but I had a small wooden handled penknife (for my lunch salami) confiscated after a lengthy lecture from the supervisor. I always tie the axe to my skis and this has been successful 2 years running. On the return it is noticeable how much more relaxed the French are!

Jamie Howard

ColinSmith
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Eurostar and iceaxes issue, can anyone update us on this?

The thread is 2 years old and these things are subject to change.

BrianGoss
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Some recent discussion of this issue on the UK climbing forum (login needed to view responses)

www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=530335

hope this helps, Brian

MikeHendry
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The latest Alpine Club newsletter says:

After the issue was raised by AC member Jonathan Gregory, the BMC took up the matter of ice-axes being carried onboard the Eurostar with Eurostar CEO Nicolas Petrovic.
This has resulted in a change of policy from Eurostar: ice-axes no longer need to be sent checked-in as registered baggage, but can now be carried on board provided that they are packaged sensibly and carefully inside a passenger’s bags.
This policy has been confirmed by the Eurostar heads of security both in the UK and on the continent, so there should be no issues for passengers who wish to take suitably-packaged ice-axes on board the train.

 

This is a great result and resolves a long-standing issue.

BrianGoss
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that's very good news, thanks for the update Mike.

Sadly not so good re bikes on Eurostar. you can no longer take full size bikes (even bagged with wheels off) as carry on luggage. all bikes must be checked in, only exception would be folding bikes which would be within the 85cm limit. 

www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-information/travel-preparation/baggage/bikes-on-trains#.Uc9NiNgkwRQ

looks like the new 85cm limit doesn't apply to skis, you can still carry on a pair of skis as part of your 2 large items allocation:

www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-information/travel-preparation/baggage/baggage-allowances#.Uc9NstgkwRQ

NeilThompson
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Hi Dan,

Not sure how it was last year but the only person to never see his ice axe again on a recent tour was the one to follow the rules, everyone else put the kit in their bag and had no trouble. Neil T.

BrianGoss
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A quick update on the situation on the ground. In St Pancras recently, a security chap was adamant that ice axes were prohibited and as a result went through the rest of my baggage as well,  I politely explained the agreement between BMC/et al and E* and stood my ground. He went off to discuss with his manager and then let me through. With security at Gare du Nord on the return journey there was no problem.

The Eurostar website still says ice axes are prohibited. http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-information/travel-preparation/baggage/prohibited-items#.UslgCLS0Myg

In conclusion you can take an ice axe through, but you need to allow a few minutes to argue with security.

cheers, Brian

UPDATE:

Dear Mr ****,

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that our website has not been updated correctly with this information. I have reported this and will get this changed to reflect the policy.
I can confirm that yes you are able to take ice axes onboard so this should not be a problem for you or any ski club member.

I have also fed back your comments to the security staff at St Pancras to ensure that they are all aware of the policy change. I am sorry if you felt the security staff member was rude and I agree he should have apologised to you for giving you incorrect information.

I hope that this explains everything for you and I look forward to welcoming you back onboard the Eurostar where I am confident you will receive our normal high standards of service.
Kind regards,
Lisa Butcher
Eurostar Traveller Care

BrianGoss
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Sorry to bring bad news for those with an interest in this..but..

In view of the terrorism incident on a Thalys Brussels - Paris train last year and the recent paris attacks, I recall that Eurostar reviewed their security policies.

So I have recently asked them to confirm if ice axes can be taken in normal luggage, referring them to the previous agreement between BMC, AC & ESC referred to on the BMC website. The answer was no, they have to be registered with Euro despatch for £30 each way for trains to Paris/Brussels. They can still be carried on direct ski trains to the Alps. I also asked them about crampons & they said they weren't sure, ask Euro despatch. 

Bit odd that the courier company gets to decide policy on crampons when they have a commercial interest...

Unless anyone else has heard differently, I'll repost this on ukclimbing & notiy the BMC with regards their webpage on the subject.

Brian

StephenWright
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The policy may have been reviewed, but the practice seems more or less the same. I took an axe through St Pancras/Gare du Nord in December (in with the skis), and no concern was raised, either way. I did check in early, in case there was a problem, so I had plenty of time for a leisurely cup of coffee ...
Steve

(I did have a problem with a snow saw, on the way back ... but I think that was to be expected!)

JohnBarnard
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The problem seems to be that you can usually get away with it, but there's always the possibility that some jobsworth will make a fuss. And the registration service is pretty useless if you have a connecting train at the other end, as they only guarantee that item will be available for collection "within 24 hours". Also, if they're charging £30 each way, it would be almost the same price to buy a new ice axe on arrival in the alps and throw it away after your tour (or sell it on to a train-travelling ski-tourer who's just arrived).

There don't seem to have been any recent updates on the BMC website on this issue. It might be an idea to print off their posting from 2013 (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/eurostar-confirms-change-of-policy-on-ice-axes) and carry it with you to wave at any officials that cause problems.

PaulCooper
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Is there any updates on this?

 

 

JohnBarnard
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As I'm off to the Alps by train this weekend I checked on the Eurostar website today (1 March 2017) and there is a clear statement at http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/deals/eurostar-train-deals/trains-france/ski-train-the-alps/ski-train-the-french-alps/ski-holiday saying:

"Crampons, ice-axes and alpine walking sticks are all accepted to travel onboard the Eurostar."

Also: "If you’re connecting in Paris or Lille, you can still take a snowboard or skis but this will count as one of your two pieces of luggage." (Under http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/travel-planning/luggage/luggage-allowances it says "2 pieces of luggage (up to 85cm long) including rucksacks, bags, suitcases or ski equipment plus 1 small piece of hand luggage, e.g. handbag, laptop bag or briefcase)"

sgjohnston
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That's excellent, I wish they would get their act together and be consistent. Hopefully now with such a clear statement they will be! We're just heading off today (by car)...

JohnBarnard
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For those thinking about Eurostar for getting to the alps next season, the policy on ice axes seems to have changed yet again. There is now a much less helpful statement at https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/travel-planning/luggage/sports-and-camping-equipment (see under Dangerous Sports Equipment). There is also a recent thread on UKC (https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/expedition+alpine/eurostar_ice_axe_drama_-_help-691875)

As noted in earlier contributions to this thread, there were successful representations made to Eurostar in 2013 by the BMC and the Eagle Ski Club. I will be pursuing this matter with the BMC over the next few weeks, and will post any updates here.

JohnBarnard
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In a parallel discussion on the Eagles Facebook secret group, Keith Hampson has pointed out that there is still a statement elsewhere on the Eurostar website saying that "Crampons, ice-axes and alpine walking sticks can be carried in your luggage", at least on the official ski trains (https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/holidays/ski-holidays). I have written to the BMC today suggesting that they make a formal approach to Eurostar to get clarification - this proved successful in 2013 - see posts #7 and #13 in this thread.

JohnBarnard
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I've recently had an update on this from the BMC, who are pursuing the matter with Eurostar. It seems that the problem isn't from Eurostar per se, but "a regulation implemented by Security" (that capital letter strikes me as slightly Orwellian). Eurostar appreciates that the current situation is frustrating, and are reviewing it, mentioning that there may be some opportunity to compromise so that the needs of security can be met without making travel difficult for climbers. The BMC is continuing correspondence with them, and I will provide updates on any further progress.