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Travelling on a Eurostar Train

Given the ongoing uncertainty of travelling by air with your instrument the MU has been working with Eurostar to find a more reliable, cost effective and safer means of transport.

Last updated: 05 December 2023

The MU has been working with Eurostar International Limited (EIL) to get the best possible package for MU members travelling with their instruments.

Whilst an increase in demand has dictated that cello’s measuring over 85cm at their longest length would require a ‘Companion’ seat, recent changes to Eurostar policy have identified that guitars can be carried on the overhead luggage racks and will not require either a ‘Companion Seat’ nor travel through Eurostar Travel Services (ETS).

Any instruments above the 136cm (double basses, harps) cannot travel on EIL trains due to current train configurations. EIL is trying to find a solution.

Please note it is very important that if you check your instrument through Eurostar Travel Services, you ensure it is in a hard case.

Q: What if I have a cello in a soft case?

A: You would need to book a companion seat.

Q: What if I have a cello in a hard case?

A: You can either book a companion seat or check it in through Eurostar Travel Services.

Q: Can I take another piece of hand luggage into the compartment?

A: Yes, all instruments carried in the main compartment would form part of your baggage allowance, so you will be able to take an additional piece of hand luggage.

Luggage allowance per class

Standard and Standard Premier

  • Two pieces of luggage and one piece of hand

Luggage Business Premier

  • Three pieces of luggage and one piece of hand luggage

Ticket cost

If you book in advance, standard fares can be as low as £34.50, however visit the Eurostar website for more accurate information.

Companion seat cost

The price each way to bring an instrument on-board to sit with the traveller is £35.00 for a companion seat, this may be subject to increases.

Please note that this must be booked through Eurostar’s contact centre on 03432 186 186.

Your instrument can travel on a seat in your coach with a fixed rate ‘companion’ ticket, if it fits these dimensions:

  • Window seat: 1m (approx) x 57.5cm x 45cm
  • Aisle seat: 1.36m (approx) x 57.5cm x 45cm

You can arrange this at your departure station on the day of travel but, if you book in advance, you’ll have a better chance of your instrument travelling in a seat next to you. Book on 03432 186 186.

Eurostar Travel Services (ETS)

Should you wish to check your instrument with a hard case, Eurostar have offered an exclusive price to MU members:

  • For instruments under 85cm long, £25.00 each way (£50.00 return)
  • For instruments between 85-136cm long, £45.00 each way (£90.00 return)

ETS train availability

Currently ETS is open on the following routes: London, Paris, and Brussels.

If you are registering your musical instrument with ETS, these are the trains you can travel on:

  • London to Paris - Any train departing London between 08:01 (train 9008) and 15:31 (train 9036)
  • Paris to London - Any train departing Paris between 11:13 (train 9023) and 18:13 (train 9051)
  • London to Brussels - Trains departing at 09:01 (train 9116), 13:01 (train 9132) and 15:04 (train 9142)
  • Brussels to London - Trains departing at 07:56 (9113), 08:52 (train 9117), 12:52 (train 9135), 14:52 (train 9141) and 17:56 (train 9153)

Train times are provided as a guideline.

Sometimes, they may change by a few minutes due to engineering works. If in doubt, please refer to the train number. To comply with travel and customs regulations, you must travel on the same train as the luggage sent via Eurostar Travel Services.

Registering your luggage – ETS

If you need to have your instrument stored in the luggage compartment, you will need to email them via, please include:

1. Your MU number

2. The instrument that you want to book

3. Date of travel

4. Train number

5. Phone number

Identify yourself as an MU member by travelling with proof of membership. Your annual Public Liability Insurance document will suffice. This comes with your annual renewal and carries your membership number. If you are unsure or need a replacement, contact your MU regional office.

When you book in advance this will guarantee that the instrument travels with you on the same train.

If you turn up on the day of travel, then should the train be full, ETS will have to book you and the instrument on the next available train. Due to heightened security procedures, you are advised to arrive 90 mins prior to departure when checking-in an instrument through baggage handling.


Eurostar have told the MU they are committed to providing a dedicated service for MU members travelling with instruments. The MU visited the Travel Services areas in both St. Pancras and Paris Gard du Nord.

The handlers are experienced in the safe handling and care of musical instruments. All compartments on board the train are locked and sealed until arrival. CCTV is in operation at the luggage offices and your instrument will always travel on the same train as yourself.

On arrival follow the signs to the ETS collection area at the end of the platform area, taking your booking document for identification to collect your instrument. View each station map

Endangered species

If your instrument contains endangered species and you are in possession of a Musical Instrument Certificate, it’s important to ensure this is stamped at both borders at a designated port.

Currently Eurostar St Pancras does not have ‘Designated Port’ status and therefore you are advised to find an alternative route.

View more MU information on endangered species in musical instruments.


Remember to ensure that your insurance is up to date and covers you for overseas travel. For further insurance advice contact Hencilla Canworth on 0208 686 5050.

As an MU member you are entitled to free insurance up to £3,000 so make sure you have already registered with Hencilla Canworth on the above number to claim your free insurance.

Member benefits for travelling musicians

Contract Advisory Service

Protect yourself against unpaid fees by making sure that your tour or engagement is covered by a written contract. Have it vetted by the MU for added peace of mind.

Read more about Contract Advisory Service