Something I find invaluable when travelling is a decent left luggage facility. Sadly, most facilities in the UK are now run by private companies not connected to the train operating companies, and are not always open at convenient times. For example, the St Pancras facility is operated by The Excess Baggage Company. It charges £12.50 for 1 bag a day and it isn’t open at the time one needs to check in for the first Eurostar to Paris, or when the last Eurostar arrives from Paris, and there are no self-service facilities at the station.
A quick survey of facilities at Belgian and German stations on a recent trip shows a much better level of service, with self-service lockers at medium sized or larger stations, with additional staffed facilites at the busiest ones. As always, there’s an excellent and pretty comprehensive list of facilities at the Seat61 website.
Left Luggage Brussels Midi
The facilities, both staffed and self service, are adjacent to the Eurostar check in and waiting area, and are open 24 hours a day. Charges are 4.5, 5 & 5.5 Euros for lockers, and 8 Euros for the staffed facility. The lockers are operated by a ticket machine for each bank, you pay, take a ticket and then scan it to retrieve your bag. Full instructions in English are provided.
Left Luggage in Antwerp.
Antwerp is well worth visiting, I prefer it to Brussels, its much more cycle friendly and has an excellent tram network, as well as the stunning Central Station. If you can distract yourself from the architecture you’ll find 4 rows of self service luggage lockers under the staircase in the main ticket hall. Paymentr is by card only and starts from 6 Euros.
Left luggage Germany.
Cologne station has an unusual facility, with self service machines that whisk your bag away to a storage unit below ground. I’ve not used it but I’m assured by Mr Seat 61’s site it works reliably. The charges are shown below on the display screen, which gives instructions in several languages.
Left Luggage in Hamburg
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (German for Central Station, usually abbreviated to HBF) is Germany’s busiest station, with 450,000 passengers arriving or departing on over 700 trains a day. There’s 4 main entrances to the station, and a large number of shops and cafes. There’s also a large number of left luggage facilities in 4 locations, 3 sets of lockers and one staffed facility by the main entrance, through the same door as Sixt and Europcar rental. The main bank of lockers are just past this on the opposite side, next to the cuddly toy shop (A comprehensive range, everything from Armadillos to Zebras!). Charges for lockers are between 2 and 6 Euros depending on size and time – options of 6 or 24 hours. Again, full instructions are printed in English, with a map showing the other locker locations.
Other stations – the only ones I visited on this trip were Dusseldorf – in a main passageway near the toilets and the model railway display, Wuppertal – in the main concourse next to the departure board, and Aachen, where they are located on the right in the main access corridor to the platforms. All these are self service lockers, with English instructions as well as German.
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