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Railway tales in hidden europe 47

By Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries |


The station at Kerch which used to be on a branch line in the Crimea Peninsula is now served by the once-daily Simferopol to Moscow train (photo © Dimitrydesigner /

The station at Kerch which used to be on a branch line in the Crimea Peninsula is now served by the once-daily Simferopol to Moscow train (photo © Dimitrydesigner /

Our interests in European rail travel filter through into many of our projects, not least into hidden europe magazine of which we are the editors. Issue 47 of hidden europe, which is published today, has its fair share of rail journeys. You can buy copies of the magazine for just €9.

In hidden europe 47, we look at train number 562 which takes an age to reach Moscow from Simferopol. It’s one of a small number of European rail routes where an entire passenger train is shipped on a ferry. Train 562 crosses the Kerch Strait on a boat.

There are three other places in Europe where this happens. They are

  • the regular Trenitalia services between the Italian mainland and Sicily
  • the direct line between Hamburg and Copenhagen
  • the seasonal overnight service from Berlin to Malmö

The odd thing about the Kerch Strait train ferry (linking Crimea with the Russian mainland) is that passengers don’t actually travel on the same boat as the train. They disembark and board a different ferry, getting to Port Kavkas on the east side of the Strait much more quickly than the train.

The introduction in August 2014 of train 562 from Simferopol anticipated the eventual blocking of rail links from Crimea into Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast – train services on those lines were suspended by the Ukrainian authorities in December last year.

The story of train 562 is just one of several railway tales in hidden europe 47. We look at a number of eastern oddities – like a Russian railway line which crosses Ukrainian territory and a Belarusian train which this past summer took an unusual route through Moldova to reach the Black sea coast. We take the once-daily direct train from Zagreb to Sarajevo, see what’s changing at Vienna Westbahnhof and mention a new route which will probably feature in the 2016 timetables: a journey that takes in seven European capitals without any need to stir from the comfort of your sleeping car. Now that must be a record.

There’s much more to hidden europe than just train journeys. In this new issue of the magazine, we roam from the Welsh hills to Geneva and from Transylvania to Berlin. Find out more about what’s in hidden europe 47.

Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.
hidden europe
About The Authors

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book was published in 2022 and reprinted in July 2023. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.

1 Comment

Wilbur, 8 January 2016

I have done all the other three train ferries but not sure whether i will add Simferopol to Moscow to the list. I did do Simferpol to Lviv a few years ago though - 25 hours, 27 if you add on the Sevastopol to Simferopol train we took first...

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