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 Post subject: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 14:30 
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In the later (Swiss/St Briavel's) days the girls trunks were always sent by rail 'lugguage in advance'. That sounds a lot more sensible (especilly for an international journey) thatn everyone having to drag their trunks with them, Harry Potter style, but how exactly did that service work?

I imagine the girls (or their parents) would have had to have the trunks at the station by a certain date, but was this a service that had to be booked (and paid for) seprately or was it an accepted part of any long journey ticket?

And was it a train service or a form of postal/delivery service? Effectively did the trunks get delivered directly to the school, or did the school have to make arrangements for collection from the nearest station? Would it have worked internationally, when the school was in Switzerland?

The logistics, given the school's remote locations must have been interesting. On St Briavels, they must have had to have two or three extra ferry runs, with a lot of loading and unloading time just to get all the trunks to the mainland, regardless of how they were delivered to the nearest station. And in Switzerland there must have been a lot of lorries going round by the longer and flatter road to get to and from the nearest station - again with loading and unloading times...

In Tyrol it seems to have been a less formal arrangement - like many other things. The girls don't seem to arrive with any extensive luggage, but we don't hear much about it gets there. When Madge and Jo and Grizel originally come out they seem to have all their luggage with them, and the same on other journeys from England. I suppose when Grizel or Eustacia came they might have sent their luggage in advance, but in those days the school really was international and a lot of girls even lived fairly local, so the arrangements would have been a lot more flexible.

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Last edited by Miriam on 02 Aug 2018, 16:09, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 15:15 
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Sending luggage on ahead is apparently set to become popular again, because of budget airlines charging extra for suitcases and people panicking that their stuff will get lost. OK, OK, don't believe everything you read on the internet :lol: .

I would think that luggage had to be taken to a drop-off point, and that the school would have collected it en masse from a collection point in Switzerland. If it was just one person's luggage, maybe it could have been done door-to-door, but I'd assume they were all using the same courier service, completely separate from the train tickets, and had some sort of group rate.

I haven't got any personal experience of this, so I'd be fascinated to know if anyone has. Presumably, the stuff all had to go through customs, so there'd have been a lot of form-filling involved if you and your luggage were travelling separately.

I can imagine it being a lot easier than having to make sure that 200 or so girls had all got their suitcases and other luggage, plus hats, coats, umbrellas, musical instruments et al, with them, especially if they were having to travel from home to Dover (probably involving a changeover in London for anyone who didn't live on the south coast), Dover to Paris, Paris to Basle, Basle to Interlaken (on some journeys) and then Interlaken to the school. There wouldn't be enough storage room in an average train compartment for everything, so things would have had to go in a luggage compartment and then all be retrieved wen they got to their stop, and the mistresses would have been tearing their hair out :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 16:02 
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It always strikes me that the luggage question gets very little real attention, if only because EMBD wasn't very interested (or very practical) and didn't expect her young readers to be, either.

As an alternative to using the railway, I think by the Swiss years you could send trunks via a road haulier like Pickfords, for instance, since that's a firm that deals with removals and logistics on an international scale. That would obviously be a separate expense, but should get the trunk from door to door.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 16:13 
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Considering how much we see of the minutiae of unpacking in the Swiss years, it is suprising that the question of how the luggage got there in the first place is almost ignored, except in exceptional cases like Katherine Gordon.

I suppose the whole process took place in reverse at the end o f each term, but we never see that either.

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 17:04 
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As a Occupational Therapy student in the eary Seventies, I spent a year working in 4 different hospitals scattered around the country. I was able to send a case to the next destination by British Rail for a small fee. I took the case to an office at the station and off it went and was waiting for me at the next Nurses' Home. I imagine they were also able to pick up cases and trunks from home as well. BR had a large fleet of lorries and vans to do deliveries.

Great Rail offer a courier service for your case if you do not want to lug cases on and off trains. You still need a small bag for overnight stops.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 17:12 
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Jenefer wrote:
As a Occupational Therapy student in the eary Seventies, I spent a year working in 4 different hospitals scattered around the country. I was able to send a case to the next destination by British Rail for a small fee. I took the case to an office at the station and off it went and was waiting for me at the next Nurses' Home. .


There is a lovely section at the beginning of the film The Happiest Days of Your Lives where the school picks up the children's trunks and tuck boxes from the station (multiple times)


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 17:37 
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Having Miss Annersley for Civics
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SLOC tells me that in the late 1960s you could send trunks on in advance by rail, booked at your local railway station and collected and delivered door to door. I don't know whether this applied to destinations abroad.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 17:56 
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As a student in the early '60s we all sent our trunks Luggage in advance and it got delivered to our digs. It also got collected from there at end of year (think we only did it beginning and end of year, left stuff there over Christmas/Easter and managed with suitcases).

Don't know about the Swiss years, but it's a significant storyline in Wrong CS when two trunks arrive for Katharine, though I'm not sure without checking if it's road or rail, but definitely not with the girls. Also Carola gets into trouble for not sending a trunk, she lugs two large suitcases with her.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2018, 21:51 
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Noreen wrote:
SLOC tells me that in the late 1960s you could send trunks on in advance by rail, booked at your local railway station and collected and delivered door to door. I don't know whether this applied to destinations abroad.

That is certainly how our trunks got to boarding school in England in the 1950s. We only travelled with a small overnight case.

When I went to Germany in 1959 my trunk travelled with me but in the luggage van. I was called to the van for a customs inspection as we crossed the border into Germany.

Unfortunately, when I went back down the train the carriage where I had been sitting had vanished, taking my handbag,money, ticket and passport with it.

I suddenly found I could speak much more. German than I had thought! It turned out the end 3 carriages of the train were detached at the frontier and headed off to Berlin rather than Hamburg. All rather daunting for a 17 year old on her first solo trip abroad!

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 04:27 
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Domestically, I can see how this would work - the students would send the trunks individually, and they'd either get a once per day delivery from the train company, or the school would send a truck over to pick them up. They'd have a couple hundred trunks coming into a single station over a short period, so they could group the deliveries to the school.

In the Tyrol, the journey to the school seems much more loosely organized (no group buses, for example), so they might have had each student bring their trunks with them. And in England, most students were domestic, so the few international students would be handled separately.

In Switzerland, though, though, they'd have to clear customs, possibly multiple times - on landing in France, and when entering Switzerland for the English group. And they'd have students coming from multiple different countries.

Logistically, I could picture students in the UK sending their trunks in advance to a station near the ferry terminal, and the school hiring a professional company to handle the transport and paperwork from there. Maybe they would have a couple of collection spots in Europe - one in France, one in Switzerland and so on, where European students would meet and their luggage collected.

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 07:47 
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Having Miss Annersley for Civics
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cestina wrote:
When I went to Germany in 1959 my trunk travelled with me but in the luggage van. I was called to the van for a customs inspection as we crossed the border into Germany.

Unfortunately, when I went back down the train the carriage where I had been sitting had vanished, taking my handbag,money, ticket and passport with it.

I suddenly found I could speak much more. German than I had thought! It turned out the end 3 carriages of the train were detached at the frontier and headed off to Berlin rather than Hamburg. All rather daunting for a 17 year old on her first solo trip abroad!
Horrors, cestina! What happened after that? And my sympathies to you in retrospect - mishaps on and relating to trains do seem to be quite common (I'm always surprised that there are so few CS ones!), but never any the less distressing...


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 08:42 
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I can still remember the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach when I reached the end of the train without having seen my compartment.

I went back to the luggage van where the guard was still with the customs officers and managed to explain what had
happened which was when I learnt that my possessions were heading off to Berlin.

Fortunately the two trains followed each other for a couple of stations and ours had to stop to let the customs officers off at the second one. The guard managed to phone back and arrange for the bag to be removed and put on the next train to Hamburg. The other people in the compartment had already realised what had happened and were ready to pass it out of the window at the next station.

Later that evening we were able to collect it from the left luggage office in Hamburg. Fortunately I hadn't mentioned that there was quite a lot of money in the bag because then it would have had to be sent by secure messenger and it would have been days before I got it back.

I was living with my friend Inge's family - she and I celebrated 60 years of friendship last month - and her parents were deeply unimpressed because the previous year she had managed to return from her stay in England a day late, costing them a lot of money for another ticket.... I don't think they thought much of our skills at travelling!

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 09:25 
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It amazes me that there are so few mishaps with travelling in the CS books. Most people don't generally fall in lakes or run off to climb mountains in thick fog, but nearly everyone's got tales of travel traumas to tell - although yours is an exceptionally good one, Cestina! Apart from Peggy & co getting on the wrong train, very little goes wrong on journeys to and from school. No-one goes off to "wash their hands" or get something to eat/drink and then fails to meet up with the rest of the party in time, luggage doesn't go missing, no-one gets stopped at customs over a misunderstanding, or fails to meet up with the rest of the school party at Dover because of a missed connection or other delay, or forgets/loses their passport. Trains very rarely get cancelled or delayed. It's very straightforward for such an accident-prone set of people :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 10:12 
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No one loses their passport on the trip, or has their train cancelled due to snowfall or excessive fog, or has to bribe the train conductor to get a seat after their originally booked train was delayed by 24 hours, or rebook tickets due to gastric distress, or limp up and down train steps with heavy luggage and a sprained ankle, or miss the last bus and have to hitchhike in the back of a pickup truck with some nice Thai people, or have a vehicle breakdown and hitchhike out with the park ranger and the garbage, or have the car break down and have to explain to roadside assistance exactly which country road half-way up a mountain you are stranded on before your cell phone battery runs out and then have to hitch a ride out with the tow truck driver to get a hotel in a nearby town.

To be fair, this wasn't all on one trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 10:20 
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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 10:57 
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There is one lovely scene in Shocks showing the arrival of the trunks at the school before the girls arrive:

Quote:
Matron had finished writing her lists. Now she looked up. 'I expect the first lot of trunks some time today. Have them taken straight to the trunk-room, please, and don't let the men just dump them down in the courtyard. The maids have plenty to do without having to carry them upstairs.'
'That was Megan's fault last term,' Miss Annersley said. 'Rosalie won't let such a thing happen again.'
Remembering Matron's fury the previous holidays when she had come back from Carnbach to find that Megan, the housekeeper, had allowed the vanmen to unload the trunks in the courtyard behind the house and leave them there, Rosalie faithfully promised that she would see it did not happen this time.
[...]
She had lunch alone and then, just as she had finished, the rumbling of wheels told her that the cart bringing the first instalment of the girls' trunks was arriving, and she hurried round the house to the courtyard just in time to prevent a repetition of last term's trouble.
'Well, yes indeed,' Megan was saying to the driver. 'Just set them down here and some of the girls can carry them up later.'
'Good afternoon, Thomas.' This was Miss Dene at her most dignified. 'I want all the trunks carried up to the trunk-room, please. I'll come with you and show you where to put them.'
'Indeed then, Miss Dene,' Megan shoved her oar in, 'there's no need at all. The girls can carry them up.'
'Matron left instructions with me that she wanted them taken straight up as soon as they arrived,' Rosalie said. 'She finds it easier.'
'Oh !' Megan had no more ideas on the subject. 'A very determined woman is Matron, well, yes indeed.' And she went back to her own domain with no more ado.
Miss Dene found her time nicely filled for the next hour or so. She had to examine the label on each trunk or case and direct Evan Thomas and his helper, John Pritchard, where to put it and this was a fairly lengthy job, for there were sixty-odd trunks and almost as many cases. By the time the last one was in place, the men tipped and seen off the premises, it was well after three, and the secretary drew a long breath of relief when she was able to lock the door of the trunk-room and go to deposit the key on Matron's desk.
'Megan will be in the sulks,' she thought. 'First I make an ass of myself by dancing a jig over a letter without telling her why and then, thanks to Matey, I have to countermand her own orders about the trunks. No Welsh cakes for tea therefore! I'll go over to the school kitchen and make some myself- and some cocoanuts as well by way of celebration.'

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 21:04 
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Yet another job for poor Rosalie - although I'm glad the men got a tip afterwards, after doing all the heavy lifting! Doing that with over 200 trunks, in the Swiss years, must have been a nightmare.

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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 21:33 
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Wasn't there a service lift installed in one of the Swiss books? I seem to remember a comment about the Juniors all craning round to see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 22:10 
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A few years ago Via Rail, for a small fee, sent our luggage to Montreal so we wouldn't have to lug our around downtown Toronto.


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 Post subject: Re: Trunks - luggage in advance
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2018, 22:44 
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KB, thank you for posting the passage about the trunks. I have only the pb copy of Shocks and I don't remember ever having seen this. It's all the interesting little details that make the hardbacks so much more of a joy.


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