Pages in category: News

European Rail News
published on 8 July 2023
July 2023 sees changes to train services in Italy, France and Spain with a number of important new routes launched. They include Naples to Bari, Madrid to Marseille and Lyon to Barcelona.
published on 7 July 2023
New supplies of our book "Europe by Rail: the Definitive Guide" are now available. The July 2023 reprint of the 17th edition of this best-selling title can be purchased through good bookshops and many online sales channels. "Europe by Rail" is the perfect guide for travellers looking to make the most of an Interrail or a Eurail pass.
published on 6 July 2023
In December 2022 a new weekly train service was launched from Bordeaux to Germany. For summer 2023, there is now a second weekly train direct from Aquitaine to Germany.
published on 2 July 2023
With the new Italian rail timetables which started on 11 June, there are now eight premium trains each day running down to the toe of Italy. So this summer, the fierce competition between Trenitalia and Italo on this main route south from Naples ramps up with both operators extending their market reach by serving new communities.
published on 6 December 2021
With the new timetables for 2022 which come into effect across Europe on 12 December, private rail operator NTV Italo will start serving Genoa, linking the Ligurian city with Naples. The new service comes at a time when Italy's national operator Trenitalia downgrades its daily Genoa-Venice service from a Frecciarossa 1000 train to a Frecciargento.
published on 11 October 2021
Each year in early autumn, rail operators across Europe unveil details of new services, and then release tickets for beyond the date of the timetable change in mid-December. We take a look at ticket release dates for train services from mid-December 2021 on into early 2022.
published on 10 October 2021
Bookings open on 13 October for early 2022 train travel in Germany. Here's a sneak preview of what to expect in the new Deutsche Bahn rail timetable that will come into effect on Sunday 12 December 2021. The accent in the 2022 rail schedules for Germany is on speed, connectivity and comfort.
published on 31 May 2021
New train services have been launched to the Italian city of Trieste. In late May, private operator NTV Italo introduced a direct train from Trieste to Naples and there's a new Eurocity service from Trieste to Vienna on offer from mid-June 2021.
published on 29 May 2021
This past week has seen new direct overnight services on three key routes, one a French domestic service and the other two both international routes. We'll take a closer look at the offer which brings new night trains to Nice, Split and Amsterdam.
published on 12 February 2021
Engineering work on the line between Bologna and Florence, where the overnight ÖBB sleeper services to Rome and Livorno are routinely routed via the 18-km long Appennino Tunnel, means diversions on some days. So some Italian cities, not normally served by Nightjet services, will benefit from an occasional direct overnight train to Vienna or Munich.
published on 24 January 2021
Baltic ferry operator Tallink retires its route from Riga to Stockholm, which is an essential part of Route 51 in the Europe by Rail guidebook. The connection can still be made by travelling by ferry via Helsinki, but that takes a lot longer. Or there is a useful alternative via Stena Line's Ventspils to Nynäshamn ferry route.
published on 1 November 2020
As Europe's rail operators face reduced demand because of the pandemic, many services are being suspended from early November. We review developments in Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Russia and elsewhere.
published on 25 September 2020
On 31 October Berlin's new airport - dubbed BER - will open to passengers. We take a look at train services to the new airport and changes that are afoot at the former Schönefeld Airport that will secure a new identity as BER Terminal 5.
published on 22 September 2020
The opening in 2016 of the Gotthard Base Tunnel led to big time savings on the Zürich to Milan route, and now there are further improvements in the offing. Earlier this month, the Ceneri Base Tunnel was officially opened. It is a new link offering much faster journeys through Switzerland’s southernmost canton of Ticino, used by all fast trains that follow the Gotthard route south into Italy.
published on 29 August 2020
The direct Eurocity link from Zürich to Bavaria has long been the poor relation in Switzerland’s generally excellent range of direct rail services to Germany. But that is set to change with the new timetables that will come into effect in mid-December 2020.
published on 30 July 2020
Here is an update on European night train services as of July 2020. In this post we particularly take a look at night sleepers which, for one reason or another, have not yet been reinstated. But there are also some entirely new routes.
published on 13 June 2020
Railjets bring Europe together. Every day, they set off from Zürich for distant Bratislava and Budapest, the latter a journey of over a thousand kilometres. Each route takes in four countries (including tiny Liechtenstein). And now there is a new service linking Graz and Berlin.
published on 22 May 2020
Reggio di Calabria has already had its taste of Frecce trains, but only the lesser grades – Frecciargento (FA) and Frecciabianca (FB) rather than the posh Frecciarossa. But that's about to change in June 2020 when the first Frecciarossa will make its way from Turin to Italy's far south.
published on 8 May 2020
As France tentatively relaxes its Coronavirus restrictions, a process known as déconfinement, more train services are being introduced from Monday 11 May 2020. On some regional rail routes, intending passengers will need to secure a boarding card (coupon d'accès) prior to travel.
published on 20 April 2020
It's going to take a long time for Europe's long-distance international train services to get back to normal, but many local trains across frontiers are already running again.
published on 16 April 2020
There are plans that a new company station will open close to Berlin called Dahlewitz Rolls-Royce granting access to the Rolls-Royce Aerospace plant for the company's employees. That good news prompts us to look at the fate of earlier company railway stations in France and Britain.
published on 9 February 2020
There’s much ado with cross-border train services in Europe these days. Apart from the well-documented revival of interest in night trains, there are also developments with daytime trains. We look at some of the latter in this post.
published on 6 October 2019
As throughout Europe, new train timetables for Germany kick in with the annual timetable change in December each year. This year the new schedules start on 15 December. Here’s a rundown of some of the key changes which we are expecting in and around Germany.
published on 4 October 2019
High-speed trains between France and Switzerland are these days run entirely by Lyria. The operator introduces new timetables from Sunday 15 December 2019. Not everyone is happy with the proposed changes. We summarise the most important changes.
published on 15 September 2019
Direct from the Alps to the Gulf of Taranto: 16 September 2019 sees the launch of a new and extraordinarily long Frecciargento route linking Italy’s Alto Adige (or South Tyrol) province with Calabria. Trenitalia extends an existing Frecciargento service from Bolzano to Rome to Sibari.
published on 3 December 2018
As elsewhere across Europe, new train timetables are introduced in Italy next Sunday. In this post for European Rail News, we look at the country's expanding Frecciarossa network.
published on 30 November 2018
Here’s a summary of a few of the changes to train services in the United Kingdom and Ireland which will be introduced with the timetable changes in December 2018.
published on 4 November 2018
Austria generally enjoys a fine range of international links, and with new rail timetables starting across Europe on 9 December 2018, there are further improvements on journeys to, from and through Austria.
published on 31 October 2018
The new railway timetables that come into effect on Sunday 9 December 2018 could well bring significant improvements in international rail services in both the Belgian area of Wallonie and Poland's Silesia region. In this European Rail News, we sum up the changes.
published on 28 September 2018
Today sees the launch of a remarkable new train service linking four European capitals. Early this afternoon, Ukrainian Railways Train 013K departed from Kiev for Riga. This is the first direct train from Ukraine to Latvia for a decade.
published on 3 February 2018
Italian rail operator Trenitalia is busy finalising details with its Slovenian partner for a new direct train service linking Ljubljana to Trieste which is most likely to start on 9 June 2018.
published on 11 November 2017
A new timetable comes into effect on 20 November that changes the frequency of Thello Eurocity services on the route from Marseille via Nice to Milan. Read on for further details.
published on 28 June 2017
While major revamps of European rail timetables normally take place in mid-December each year, there are also mid-year revisions of schedules. We look at some new travel opportunities for summer 2017.
published on 26 May 2017
Eurostar's posh new lounge for premium passengers at the Gare du Nord is a canny piece of design, a home away from home in the very heart of Paris. It's a good place to spend an hour or two before hopping on the Eurostar train to London.
published on 17 May 2017
It has been a while since Austrian railway carriages were last seen in Trieste. But the former Habsburg port may well secure a direct rail link with Austria in summer 2018.
published on 4 December 2016
New rail timetables debut across Europe on 11 December 2016. Dozens of commentators have remarked on how the new schedules affect train services in western and central Europe. But hardly anything has appeared in English on what the new timetables herald for Russia.
published on 2 December 2016
Much has been made in mainstream media of the decision by Deutsche Bahn (DB) to withdraw from the premium end of the night train market. Yet it's important to remember that the great majority of Europe's night trains are unaffected by DB's decision to axe its entire CNL division.
published on 21 November 2016
The 14th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers was published in June 2016. Five months on, the book has already been reprinted once. So it’s selling well and it’s certainly pulled some good reviews.
published on 26 August 2016
We have news of the reopening of a second international rail route from Bialystok. From 4 September 2016, the Polish city will have a once-daily direct train service to and from Hrodna in Belarus.
published on 7 June 2016
This spring has seen the launch of three new local train services from Berlin to western Poland. All three services leave from Lichtenberg station in the eastern suburbs of the German capital. Let's take a closer look at these new links.
published on 5 June 2016
Austrian operator ÖBB and NTV Italo will run train services to Rimini on Italy’s Adriatic coast during the summer 2016 season. ÖBB will extend its Munich to Bologna service and Italo trains will speed to Rimini from Milan.
published on 16 May 2016
A brand new edition of our Europe by Rail book is published in June 2016. Never before in the long history of this title has there been such a profound revamp of the content.
published on 12 March 2016
Significant train timetable changes in eastern France and parts of Luxembourg come into effect on Sunday 3 April 2016. The new schedules are the result of a project called Cadencement du réseau TER-Métrolor which has been in preparation for a couple of years.
published on 2 March 2016
Two new train services from Brussels to France will commence operation next month. And they are as different as chalk and cheese. Here’s the gen on a new fast link to Strasbourg and a slow train to Paris.
published on 26 January 2016
Looking at the spring 2016 train timetables, we notice that in April 2016 Eurostar is cutting out the intermediate stop at Lyon Part Dieu on some journeys between London and the south of France.
published on 12 December 2015
This weekend sees substantial changes to regional train services in Berlin and more widely across eastern Germany. Here’s a run-down of the principal changes to train services which come into effect on Sunday 13 December 2016.
published on 12 November 2015
Issue 47 of hidden europe magazine which is published today has its fair share of rail journeys. We look at train number 562 which runs once each day from Simferopol to Moscow and see what's changing at Vienna Westbahnhof. And there is much more besides.
published on 2 November 2015
Deutsche Bahn now runs an overnight bus service from eastern Slavonia (in Croatia) and Zagreb to southern Germany. Border controls on the Austrian-German frontier mean that no long-distance trains are running from Salzburg into Bavaria. So, with no overnight train from Zagreb to Munich, DB is nudging travellers onto the bus instead.
published on 21 September 2015
An announcement by German media regarding the arrival of Polish trains in Görlitz station gave hope that the erstwhile cross-border rail connection over the Neisse viaduct will be reopened in September 2015. It turns out this is not the case.
published on 20 September 2015
December 2015 sees major alterations to rail services in Austria. This is the second year in succession where the spotlight of change has been on Vienna.
published on 19 September 2015
The coming couple of years will see the opening of several new stretches of high-speed railway in Europe. Here’s a look at what’s in store for rail travellers in France and Germany.
published on 18 September 2015
For many years, Thalys trains never crossed the River Rhine. Trains from Paris all terminated at Cologne Hauptbahnhof on the west bank of the river. But from December 2015 Thalys will extend its network to Dortmund.
published on 25 August 2015
The dominant rail operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), has found itself facing significant competition from new entrants to the long-distance coach market in Germany. Now comes the news that DB has taken over long-standing coach operator Berlin Linien Bus.
published on 24 June 2015
SNCF has today announced that the proposed reopening next month of two branch railways in western France has been postponed: that from Nantes to the coastal communities of Pornic and St Gilles Croix de Vie.
published on 8 May 2015
Revised rail timetables come into effect in Britain later this month with many train operators launching their summer schedules on Sunday 17 May 2015. Here’s a run-down of some the main features of the new timetables in north-west England.
published on 15 April 2015
In many European countries the opening of even a modest new stretch of high-speed railway line is cause for great celebration. But in Spain they do things differently. Here high-speed lines are often opened without great fanfare.
published on 26 March 2015
It looks like all change at Thalys as the international rail operator trims its network. Thalys presently serves ten stations in Belgium. With next week’s cuts, that number drops to just four.
published on 17 October 2014
Russia today announced the suspension of all direct rail services via Ukraine to the Balkan region. This affects direct trains from Moscow to Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia.
published on 15 October 2014
The airport station at Vienna (called Flughafen Wien) will be linked into Europe’s long-distance rail network from 14 December 2014. With the December timetable changes, it will become the eastern end point for ICE trains from Germany to Vienna.
published on 13 October 2014
With new European rail schedules coming into effect on Sunday 14 December, here’s a summary of some key changes in the new timetables.
published on 25 September 2014
In the two or three months prior to the annual revamp of European rail timetables, there is inevitably speculation and angst about how the new timetables might impact on travel plans. We have a glimpse at the travel opportunities introduced by the new Eurostar services for travellers leaving from London St Pancras.
published on 13 September 2014
Britain has a reputation for overcrowded trains, which is in some measure due to the enduring popularity of rail travel in England, Wales and Scotland. Over the last nine years passenger journeys by rail in Great Britain have more than doubled. In 2013, over 1.6 billion journeys were made by train.
published on 12 September 2014
Spanish rail operator RENFE plans to reclassify the sole remaining Arco service as an Intercity train from Monday 29 September 2014. This last Arco train is the Camino de Santiago which each morning leaves Irun for the long journey to A Coruna — serving Santiago de Compostela along the way.
published on 12 August 2014
Yesterday’s ‘Letter from Europe’ reports on the decision to axe the night train from Switzerland to Denmark. It is, sadly, part of a wider trend. A raft of European night trains looks set to be cut. Deutsche Bahn’s City Night Line (CNL) network is being severely pruned.
published on 4 August 2014
Local train services across the border between Germany and Poland have often been patchy. So it’s very good news that the local train service between Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and Poznan is being restored from later this week.
published on 18 March 2014
An interesting new rail service starts in Germany next month when DB Regio launches a direct Berlin to Hamburg link. There are of course already plenty of trains between Germany’s two largest cities. But this new addition is interesting in a number of ways.
published on 16 March 2014
Here in Berlin there is a real sense of spring in the air, and we are well aware that travellers’ thoughts are turning to summer journeys. It’ll be no surprise that we tend to favour the train for most of our trips across Europe. So, for those of our readers who have not spent the long winter nights tracking changes in train timetables, here’s a run-down on headline changes over recent months.
published on 10 March 2014
The direct rail service from Paris to Moscow is run by Russian Railways (RZD) using their sleek modern sleeping cars. It is, we think, one of Europe’s most interesting trains — and, for those who want to splash out on the top-of-the-range luxury sleepers, one of the most comfortable train journeys in Europe.
published on 9 March 2014
This weekend sees the restoration of the direct train service from the French Riviera to the Russian capital. The direct Russian train to Nice had to be suspended in January, following a catastrophic landslide which closed part of the coastal rail route that runs west from Genoa to the French border.
published on 18 January 2014
It was sixty years ago this week that a direct passenger rail service between Moscow and Beijing was introduced. The very first train to ply the route left Moscow on 16 January 1954, running via the classic Trans-Siberian route to Chita, then turning south to cross into China at Manzhouli and on through Harbin to Beijing.
published on 1 November 2013
It was four months ago today that we published a press release from Thomas Cook announcing the demise of the company’s publishing division — a blow to travel publishing and particularly to travellers who valued the company’s European Rail Timetable. So it is with a big smile that we can today formally announce that a new company has been created to continue publishing the timetable. Read the full text of the press release in European Rail News.
published on 29 September 2013
A new rail connection between Russia and the Adriatic coast will start in 2014. There will be a seasonal direct service from Moscow to Koper (on the coast of Slovenia).
published on 26 August 2013
SNCF quietly expanded its TGV network today with the introduction of a seventh cross-border TGV service from France to Germany. The new service connects the university city of Freiburg im Breisgau in south-west Germany with Paris.
published on 1 July 2013
Following intense speculation on social media late last week, Thomas Cook have today made a statement about their publishing arm, which is set to close this summer. Read the full text of the press release in European Rail News.
published on 30 June 2013
We are saddened to report that Thomas Cook is withdrawing from the UK travel timetable and guidebook market. The August 2013 European Rail Timetable (ERT) will be the last published by Thomas Cook. But a small team, led by the current compilers of the ERT, is creating a new company to continue publication of the timetable.
published on 10 June 2013
The Spanish railway authorities today announced that the new high-speed route from Alicante to Albacete will open next week. We look ahead what this will mean for both travel times and the existing rail route.
published on 1 February 2013
The Belgian Railway authorities this afternoon announced the return of old-style InterCity services from Brussels to stations in the Netherlands. This is to provide some kind of replacement for the short-lived FYRA service, introduced in December 2012 and then withdrawn last month.
published on 11 December 2012
For many years, Venice enjoyed a direct Moscow train service, but it was unhappily axed last December — a victim of the demise of the nightly Budapest to Venice service which carried the through carriages from Moscow. But the Moscow to Venice itinerary could well return, a result of the re-routing of the existing Moscow to Nice train, which now follows a quite different route from Vienna to Verona.
published on 11 December 2012
Last weekend, a raft of changes was introduced to train services from Moscow to France, the Netherlands and elsewhere in western Europe. The December 2012 issue of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable gives full details of all these changes. We here pick up some key changes to train 21JA from Moscow.
published on 29 November 2012
The new rail timetables that start in Britain on 9 December 2012 bring much improved services on the East Suffolk Line from Lowestoft to Ipswich and a big expansion of the London Overground network. But we think the most significant innovation to long-distance services in Britain in the new schedules comes in the competitive London to West Midlands market — evidence, perhaps, that a little competition on the rails can be very good for the consumer. Not for the first time, it is Chiltern Railways who are making the running.
published on 23 October 2012
There are major changes to report on night trains to and from Portugal. There have been rumours throughout this year about the poor loadings on the two international overnight trains to Lisbon. These trains are the Lusitania (Madrid to Lisbon) and the Sud Expresso or Surex (Irun to Lisbon). We had been fully expecting a new timetable from 9 December, when many European rail operators introduce new schedules, but now we see that a major recasting of these two services was introduced this month.
published on 19 September 2012
Recent reports by travellers following Route 40 in Europe by Rail highlight temporary changes to rail services on one of the principal routes linking Hungary with Romania. The upcoming October 2012 edition of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable highlights the full impact of these changes, which look set to continue until 18 October.
published on 19 July 2012
Weaving words for European Rail News is an engaging sideline for us. We do much else besides, including looking after and publishing hidden europe magazine. A new issue of hidden europe appeared just this week. It is all about journeys and places, mainly offbeat ones.
published on 15 July 2012
Arenaways is a newish Italian rail operator. The company launched passenger services in autumn 2010, running from Milan to Turin in competition with Trenitalia. Last week Arenaways was due to start overnight services in Italy, running from Turin to both Apulia and Calabria (and vice versa).
published on 27 June 2012
Damage to a bridge in Amsterdam is affecting many rail services to and from the Dutch city. The situation is fluid and travellers are advised to check the current situation before travelling. Night trains to and from Amsterdam are the most seriously affected.
published on 22 June 2012
A new rail link is launched today, connecting the Hungarian capital with the Croatian port of Pula. It is a twice-weekly summer season service, with departures from Budapest on Tuesday and Friday evenings and with trains from Pula running back to Budapest on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The service will run until late August.
published on 18 June 2012
Russian Railways (RZD) this week launches new direct seasonal through carriages from Moscow to Split on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. The inaugural run left Moscow's Kiyevskaya station just after 10 pm last evening. The entire journey to Split takes 62 hours, but with an interesting interlude in Budapest along the way.
published on 15 June 2012
Spain boasts Europe's most extensive network of dedicated high-speed passenger railways, and that network is further enhanced this weekend with the opening of a further short stretch of high-speed line south of Madrid. The new link will carry the first direct AVE trains from Spain's eastern Levante region to Andalucía, so removing the need to change trains in Madrid.
published on 14 June 2012
A new local rail service from Villach in Austria over the nearby border to Udine in Italy has just been launched. Good news for local travellers in this part of the eastern Alps. The new service runs twice daily in each direction.
published on 3 May 2012
The regular rail link between Tallinn and St Petersburg has been an on-off affair. Anything but regular in fact. While the overnight Tallinn to Moscow train has been a mainstay of the timetable for many years, the daytime link between the Estonian capital and St Petersburg has capricious appearances in the timetables, only then to disappear again. Too often, it has been a pawn in the less than easy relations between Russia and Estonia, with one or the other party axing the cross-border train as a reaction to some event on the other side of the border.
published on 1 May 2012
Europe's summer rail schedules kick in next month, though in truth the volume of changes that come with the June timetable change are very much fewer than what we expect with the main annual timetable change in December each year. One of the more interesting innovations with this year's new summer schedules is a direct train from Berlin to the Baltic port of Gdansk (still known to many German speakers as Danzig). The service continues beyond Gdansk to Gdynia, along the way serving the resort town of Sopot.
published on 14 February 2012
With the opening of Berlin's glitzy new airport on 3 June this year, look for some changes to rail services in the Berlin area. A brand new station opens to serve the new airport, with the focus on local and regional links serving the Berlin and Brandenburg region. But the new airport will also host a small number of long-distance services.
published on 9 February 2012
The Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable has always excelled in its coverage of France. England's nearest neighbour has long exerted a strong appeal for rail travellers (and not merely from England) and some of Thomas Cook's earliest tours were to France. Timetable editor Brendan Fox and his team have surely faced one of their biggest-ever challenges this winter as French rail operator SNCF introduced wholesale reform of their schedules.
published on 16 November 2011
There was a time when travellers from West Germany enjoyed a fabulous range of direct train services to the Mediterranean coast of France. Cast back forty years and a mainstay was the daily year-round Hispania Express. From 23 March 2012 there will now be a new fast daytime service linking Frankfurt-am-Main with Avignon and Marseille.
published on 25 October 2011
When is a train not a train? Take a peek at page 685 of the 2011 edition of Europe by Rail and you'll see what we mean. There are some places in Europe where a rail operator offers transport by bus rather than by train. Such bus links are fully integrated into the railway tariff system and rail passes are accepted.
published on 1 September 2011
Boulogne has always knocked spots off Calais as a port-of-entry into France. The city has a particularly attractive Ville Haute (Upper Town). But sadly, you'll not find a lot of travellers from England visiting Boulogne nowadays. The famous port has been left proverbially high-and-dry with no ferry operators regularly serving the port.
published on 4 May 2011
New rail timetables for the former Soviet Union come into effect later this month. There remains some uncertainty about some services, but for travellers heading east, here are a few thoughts on what to expect: the return of the Berlin to Kaliningrad night train, a new link from Riga to Minsk, a direct daily train from Berlin to Ukraine and more.
published on 10 January 2011
There are a few changes on Eurostar this week with the introduction of a new Standard Premier class on services linking London with Brussels and Paris. Standard Premier replaces Leisure Select as the middle tier of the three class service on Eurostar's capital city services.