New rail timetables start across Europe on Sunday 12 December. From Scotland to Ukraine, it’s the day on which schedules change. But we don’t need to wait till December to book trains for beyond the timetable change date. Many operators unveil details of new services in the early autumn, and then release tickets for beyond the date of the timetable change.
Here’s a rundown of ticket release dates for some train services from mid-December 2021 on into early 2022.
- Eurostar: Most routes are already bookable through to April 2022. Eurostar generally operates to a six-month booking horizon.
- SNCF long-distance domestic: Many routes are now already bookable till early January 2022. The next wave of ticket releases, allowing bookings right through to late March or early April on selected routes, will probably be in the first week of November.
- TGV Lyria France-Switzerland: Lyria opened bookings for journeys beyond mid-December on 6 October, and on that date also switched to a six-month booking horizon. Tickets for Lyria services are now bookable right through to April 2022.
- Thalys: For its main routes to / from Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, Thalys opened winter sales on 27 September, but only for journeys up to 9 January. A further ticket release is due in late October or early November.
- Thalys Neige (French Alps services): Sales have already opened for Thalys’ direct trains to the French Alps. These can be booked for the entire 2021/2022 winter sports season, so up to mid-April 2022.
- Italo: The Italian high-speed operator has already opened sales for the Christmas and New Year period, with tickets now on sale through to 11 January 2022.
- Renfe: Tickets for travel right through to Easter 2022 and beyond are already available for a very limited number of domestic Spanish routes. Note that the most advantageous fares on some of these routes have not yet been released, so it’s worth waiting. A further wave of Spanish ticket releases, covering many more routes and lower fares, is expected in November.
- Deutsche Bahn: Germany’s national operator will release 2022 tickets for most domestic and some international services on Wednesday 13 October. On that date tickets will go on sale right through to early April 2022.
- VR Finland: Tickets for journeys on domestic night trains in Finland went on sale last month for journeys right through to mid-August 2022. But daytime trains in Finland for journeys beyond 11 December 2021 will only be released later this month.
- SJ Sweden: Tickets for most domestic Swedish train journeys beyond the timetable change were released on 6 October. Passengers can now book through to 20 March 2022 on most routes. We expect the next wave of ticket releases in early December, covering the period from 21 March to 19 June 2022.
- ÖBB: Tickets for many Austrian domestic and daytime international journeys in early 2022 are already bookable. They went on sale on 28 September. However tickets for many ÖBB Nightjet trains have yet to be released. The situation is very patchy. The Brussels to Vienna overnight train is already bookable for journeys through to early April 2022, but the new Paris to Vienna train cannot be booked beyond mid-January 2022. Amsterdam to Innsbruck is bookable through to early April 2022, but the new Amsterdam to Zürich Nightjet (which starts in mid-December) is not yet open for booking.
- RDG/ATOC: In Britain each operator works to its own rules, with most now selling tickets for dates beyond the mid-December timetable change. Avanti West Coast has opened sales to 24 December, while LNER and Scotrail are selling tickets for journeys into early January. Great Western has tickets available up to 7 January on selected routes. Caledonian Sleeper bucks the trend. It already has sales open right through to early October 2022.
Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.