All Posts by Edward

About the Author

After crisscrossing Europe for 6 years as a train conductor, I guide intrepid travellers roaming Europe by rail.

eastern europe coronavirus
May 21

Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Eastern Europe

By Edward | Coronavirus

Coronavirus Train Disruptions - Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe the coronavirus train disruptions are sweeping. While Russia seemed unfazed at first, it is now the worst-hit European country and myriad trains have been cancelled. Ukraine has done a better job containing the virus, but it has also cancelled all passenger traffic since 18th March. I don't know when it is going to resume.

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    Russia - coronavirus train disruptions

    🇷🇺

    Face masks seem to be urged, but not compulsory on Russian trains. Social distancing distance is not defined, but a maximum distance is encouraged.

    Russia border status

    Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

    Open
    Closed
    • Ukraine
    • Belarus
    • Poland
    • Lithuania
    • Estonia
    • Latvia
    • Georgia
    • Azerbaijan
    • Kazakhstan
    • Mongolia
    • China
    • North Korea

    Russia has now got a full blown epidemic on its hands and trains are severely impacted.

    International Services

    All international services have been cancelled. Trains to Kaliningrad pass through Lithuania without stopping. Trains that cross Kazakhstan via Petropavlovsk also pass through without stopping.

    National Services

    National services are suffering badly. New social distancing measures are in place - essentially no train can be filled more than 50%.

    • In platskart only three passengers are placed per section (not six)
    • In kupé at most two passengers may be placed (not four)
    • in seated cars only window seats are sold.
    Russia Social Distancing

    How seats are allocated on Russian trains under social distancing

    Here is the link to RZD's corona page.  The English version hasn't been updated since 10th April, so now I link to the Russian version. I'm not expecting you to read it. Just scroll down the page fast and you'll get the idea of how many trains are cancelled.

    Refund policies

    Tickets for cancelled trains can be returned and fully reimbursed. On cancelled domestic passengers are offered an alternate train/date or full reimbursement. 

    Updated: 2nd June. Outlook: getting worse.

    Ukraine - coronavirus train disruptions

    🇺🇦

    Face masks are compulsory in Ukrainian public transport. Social distancing distance is 1.5 m.

    Ukraine border status

    Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

    Open
    Closed
    • Slovakia
    • Hungary
    • Russia
    • Romania
    • Moldova
    • Belarus

    International services

    All international services are suspended until further notice. UZ did run special trains to bring Ukrainians back home from places like Poland and Czechia.

    National Services

    First domestic services are restarting from 1st June. Tickets are on sale. First trains to run are: 

    • №7/8 Odessa-Kharkiv
    • №20/19 Lysychans'k-Kyiv
    • №53/54 Dnipro-Odessa
    • №63/64 Kharkiv-Kyiv
    • №105/106 Кyiv-Odessa
    • №791/792 Кyiv-Кremenchuk
    • №81/82 Kharkiv-Novoaleksiivka
    • №125/126 Kyiv-Kostyantinivka
    • №10/9 Кyiv-Маriupol

    Refund policies

    All tickets are reimbursed free of charge.

    Updated: 2nd June. Outlook: improving

    Now what?

    Well, I'm going to update this page every week. Truth be told, I'm up for some distraction now.

    1. Why not have a look at my other posts and plan for better times
    2. Or look at my coronavirus page, where I have all my coronavirus-writing in one place
    3. Or join my free Rail Guide Europe club and get the password to my insider guides

    Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

    Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

      I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Frecciargento empty
      May 21

      Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Southern Europe

      By Edward | Coronavirus

      Coronavirus Train Disruptions - Southern Europe

      In Southern Europe the coronavirus train disruptions have been mixed. Italy and Spain have had a catastrophic time, while the likes of Greece and Bulgaria have got off lightly - mainly because they had more time to react.

      In Italy and Spain the railways have barely been running, while in Bulgaria, say, very few trains had to be cancelled.

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        Italy - coronavirus rail disruptions

        🇮🇹

        Face-masks are mandatory on all Italian trains. It seems you also need to wear disposable gloves. Social distancing distance is 1 m.

        Italy border status

        Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

        Open

        • Switzerland

        Closed

        • Austria
        • Slovenia
        • France

        Italy is in starting to ease its lockdown. Travel remains severely restricted. You are only allowed to travel with a sound reason which you have to have in writing when the police stop you. This is the form you have to have with you. 

        International Services

        All international services remain suspended.

        • Swiss local trains reach Domodossola. 
        • Thello services from Milan to Nice and back are expected to resume 4th June.

        National Services

        Presumably to ease contact tracing, all LeFrecce, Intercity and Eurocity tickets are to be personalised. That is, with your name and for your use only.

        LeFrecce: services ever resuming. Here is the link to that timetable, in force till June 2nd.

        In major cities ONLY the main station is served: Milano Centrale, Roma Termini, Napoli Centrale and Torino Porta Nuova.

        Italo: severely reduced service. Here it is.

        Intercitys: still low service level, but improving. Here is the link to that timetable, valid till 2nd June.

        In major cities ONLY the main station is served: Milano Centrale, Roma Termini, Napoli Centrale and Torino Porta Nuova.

        Local services: getting better again. 50% of normal services running. Here is the link for all timetables of all regions.

        Refund policies

        Trenitalia refunds all tickets fully. Long and medium distance tickets are reimbursed as a voucher, local tickets are reimbursed in cash.

        Italo reimburses you with a voucher that can be used for up to a year.

        Click here for all the Trenitalia details.

        Updated: 26th May. Outlook: Improving

        Spain - coronavirus rail disruptions

        🇪🇸

        Spain border status

        Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

        Open

        Closed

        • Portugal
        • France

        Face masks (mascarillas) are mandatory in all Spanish trains. Social distancing distance is 2 m. 

        Spain is in beginning to ease its lockdown. The state of emergency is in place until the 7th of June. You are only allowed out with a sound reason which you have to have in writing when the police stop you.

        International Services

        I can't find any services between France and Spain. Services between Portugal and Spain are suspended. 

        National Services

        Long- and medium distance train services are still reduced by 70%. Only 1/3 of seats on each train are sold, so as to enable people to keep at distance.

        From 1st June to 7th June only 50% of seats on any long- and mid distance train will be sold. Furthermore:

        • You are only allowed into the boarding area 1 hour before departure
        • The train is closed for boarding 5 minutes before departure.

        The start of RENFE's Avlo service remains postponed.

        Here is the link to RENFE's corona page

        Refund policies

        All tickets for travel from the 24th of May to the 31st of August have been automatically cancelled and the money automatically 100 % reimbursed. 

        Updated: 26th May. Outlook: stable

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          Portugal - coronavirus rail disruptions

          🇵🇹

          Face masks are obligatory in Portugal. The social distancing distance is 2 m.

          Portugal border status

          Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

          Open

          Closed

          • Spain

          International services

          All international services suspended.

          National services

          Local and regional services are mostly restored.

          Alfa Pendular and Intercity services are still vastly reduced.

          Here is CP's coronavirus page.

          Refund policies

          Refund policies are as usual.

          Updated: 26th May. Outlook: improving

          Bulgaria - coronavirus rail disruptions

          🇧🇬

          Face masks are mandatory on all Bulgarian trains. Social distancing distance is 1 m. 

          Bulgaria border status

          Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

          Open

          Closed

          • Serbia
          • North Macedonia
          • Romania
          • Greece
          • Turkey

          Bulgaria has closed schools and parks and discourages all but essential travel. Its borders are closed to foreigners until further notice.

          Here is BDZ's live timetable. I've set the link to show you the departures from Ruse, Bulgaria's northern frontier. 

          International services

          All international services are suspended.

          National Services

          All domestic services are running. In sleepers, only single berths are being sold.

          Refund policies

          Refund policies are unchanged. BDZ assume no liability if you are prevented from making your journey.

          Updated: 26th May. Outlook: stable

          Greece - coronavirus rail disruptions

          🇬🇷

          Face masks are mandatory on Greek trains and the social distancing distance is 2 m.

          Greece border status

          Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

          Open

          Closed

          • Bulgaria
          • North Macedonia
          • Turkey

          International services

          All international services are suspended. I'm watching closely to see if the Belgrade-Thessaloniki service starts this year.

          National Services

          National services are still running at a reduced level. Here is the link to Trainose's coronavirus page (Greek). It is a list of the only trains that are running, while all others are cancelled. 

          Recent press releases suggest more trains are beginning to run. The axis of Athens-Thessaloniki has been restarted.

          Only half the seats are being sold and all windows are unlocked to increase ventilation (yay! open windows!)

          Here is a nice video showing what Trainose does for your safety.


          Refund policies

          I can't find them. As the first shock waves have passed, reimbursement has become less of an issue, I assume.

          Updated: 26th May. Outlook: stable


          Now what?

          Well, I'm going to update this page every week. Truth be told, I'm up for some distraction now.

          1. Why not have a look at my other posts and plan for better times
          2. Or look at my coronavirus page, where I have all my coronavirus-writing in one place
          3. Or join my free Rail Guide Europe club and get the password to my insider guides

          Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

          Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

            I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

            Empty LNER train
            May 21

            Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Western Europe

            By Edward | Coronavirus

            This photo shows an empty LNER Azuma and is courtesy of my LNER colleague, train manager Peter Strong. #railwayfamily. Thank you very much!

            Coronavirus Train Disruptions - Western Europe

            As it goes, Western Europe hasn't had a good pandemic. This has impacted the trains severely. However, things are on the mend. The general trend is that services are increasing. 

            Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

            Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

              I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

              Great Britain - Coronavirus  train disruptions🇬🇧

              Facemasks are encouraged, but not mandatory. Social distancing distance is 2 metres.

              GB border status

              Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions apply. Be sure to check these.

              Open
              • France
              • Belgium
              Closed

              Britain is easing its lockdown. The emergency timetable is being phased out and more and more services are resuming. National Rail claims that only 10% of the usual passengers can be carried. Travel is actively discouraged.

              Eurostar

              Face-masks are now mandatory on Eurostar trains and at Eurostar stations. You won't be let onto the train without something covering your nose and mouth. 

              Eurostar is running one train per day between London and Brussels and at least one train a day (Monday 25th May it was three) trains to Paris.

              In spite of being on the cusp of increasing services, only

              • Continental EU citizens returning home
              • UK and non-EU with a  residency permit in an EU country
              • Essential workers

              are allowed into France and Belgium. Means a romantic getaway or a brie run is off the menu.

              Click here for Eurostar's corona page and timetable.

              France is easing its lockdown. Arriving in Paris, best have this form with you. If you can't print it, copy it out by hand.

              National Services

              All franchises have been suspended, putting all railways under state control. Trains are still running at a reduced rate. Roughly 70% of the normal timetable is in operation.

              Strict social distancing measures are in place. Longer distance trains have compulsory reservations and only 1 in 6 seats are sold.


              Here is National Rail Enquiries' corona page, with links to all operators' timetables.

              Refund policies

              Off-peak and Anytime tickets can be returned for 100% money back. Advance tickets bought before 07:00 AM on March 23rd can also be returned free of charge

              Updated: 1st June. Outlook: stable

              The Netherlands - coronavirus train disruptions

              🇳🇱

              From 1st June, face-masks (mondkapjes) are mandatory. Social distancing distance is 1.5 metres.

              Netherlands border status

              Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

              Open
              • Germany
              • Belgium
              Closed

              International services

              Currently there is one Thalys per day to Brussels. You have to change and spend the night at Brussels to get to Paris. If travelling to France, be sure to have this form with you. Thalys expect to increase services from 8th June.

              IC Brussel continues to run hourly only between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Services expected to increase from 8th June

              There are four ICE services to Germany, one of which even gets as far as Basel Bad.

              The Intercity to Berlin is running to schedule from 2nd June.


              Local cross border services

              The Abellio RE trains between Arnhem and the Rhineland continue to run. Means the Emmerich border crossing is open. 

              Venlo border station is also working: the Eurobahn services from Venlo into Germany have returned to their normal schedule.

              Gronau border station is open: trains from Enschede to Münster / Westfalen are running.

              National Services

              Only essential travel is advised, though it is not policed.

              In the week leading up to 2nd June, services are being revived. By 2nd June, most services will be running according to the normal timetable again. Many thanks to Thierry and Gerben for writing in with all the details!

              The reisplanner is fed with data two days in advance, and NS recommend you plan your trips at the shortest possible notice so that your timetables are accurate.

              Refund policies

              Refund policies seem to remain the same. On a national level, most journeys are done with the OV chipkaart, so advance deals don't apply.

              International tickets are refunded 100% free of charge.

              Updated: 1st June. Outlook: improving

              Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

              Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

                I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                Belgium - coronavirus train disruptions

                🇧🇪

                Face-masks are mandatory on all trains. Social distancing distance: as much as possible.

                Belgium border status

                Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions apply. Be sure to check these.

                Open
                • Germany
                • The Netherlands
                • France
                • Luxembourg

                Closed


                Eurostar

                There is one daily service from Brussels to London. 

                Click here for Eurostar's corona page and timetable.

                Cross border

                • Thalys is running a reduced schedule to Amsterdam and Paris. If travelling to France, be sure to have this form with you.
                • ICEs to Germany are running at a reduced rate.
                • IC Brussel runs hourly between Antwerp and Rotterdam.
                • ICs from Tournai to Lille Flandres are mostly running
                • Hourly trains between Athus and Luxembourg
                • The Nightjet to Vienna is suspended.

                Services to the Netherlands are expected to increase from 2nd June.

                National Services

                National services are almost back to normal, only certain P-trains around Brussels are still cancelled. 

                Here is SNCB/NMBS's corona page.

                Refund policies

                Domestic tickets retain the standard rules. International tickets are refunded according to whoever is running them - be it Thalys, Eurostar or Deutsche Bahn. 

                Updated: 1st June. Outlook: improving

                France - coronavirus train disruptions

                🇫🇷

                Face-masks are mandatory on all French public transport. Social distancing distance is 1 m. 

                France border status

                Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                Open
                • Germany
                • Switzerland
                • Great Britain
                • Belgium
                • Luxembourg
                Closed
                • Italy
                • Spain

                France is beginning to ease lockdown in some regions. Public transport is only allowed to carry half as many people and you must not travel more than 100 km from your home unless you've got a cast-iron reason. This is the form you have to have with you.

                International Services

                National Services

                Trains are increasing again. From 11th May any TGV, OUIGO or Intercité with available reservations is guaranteed to be running. Only every second seat is sold.

                Here is SNCF's Corona page. (French. English version is error 404)

                RER and Transilien are increasing and currently at 75% of their normal frequency.


                TERs are increasing in frequency again. In some regions, you now need reservations or access cards. This is to prevent overcrowding. Europe by Rail has more on this.

                Paris: To use the Transilien services during the rush hour (Mo-Fri 06:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00) you need a confirmation from your employer

                French Covid safety

                Those French Covid protection measures in full

                Refund policies

                Currently you can reserve an optional train and pay later, or change or cancel your tickets and reservations at your discretion. You can mess around with SNCF to your heart's content.

                Those affected by OUIGO cancellations will get their money back automatically within three days.

                TER tickets issued on paper can be returned to the SNCF boutiques up to 60 days after curfew has been lifted.

                Updated: 1st June. Outlook: improving.

                Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

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                  I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                  Sweden - coronavirus train disruptions

                  🇸🇪

                  No face masks necessary. Social distancing distance is not defined. 

                  Sweden border status

                  Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                  Open
                  • Denmark
                  Closed
                  • Norway
                  • Germany

                  Sweden is getting lots of stick for its relatively low-key handling of the pandemic. Means that the likes of Norway and Finland are watching their borders with Sweden closely.

                  My faithful reader Niklas has written in from Sweden. Thank you, Niklas, for sending me the Swedish situation.

                  International services

                  NO TRAINS to 

                  • Germany
                  • Norway.

                  There is an hourly service across the Öresund bridge. Denmark has closed its borders to all but Danish residents or people working in Denmark.

                  Norway quarantines ANYONE arriving in Norway for 14 days. All SJ trains to Norway are cancelled.

                  National Services

                  Travel is discouraged. However, currently the whole network is still running, though SJ has reduced the frequency of its trains.

                  Here is SJ's corona page.

                  SJ has limited seat reservations so that if you book a window seat, the aisle seat is definitely empty.

                  MTRX's Stockholm-Göteborg service continues to run. MTRX guarantee all passengers an empty seat next to them to aid social distancing.

                  Snälltåget is running about half its trains.

                  Refund policies

                  All operators have relaxed their refund policies. Non-flexible tickets have been made more flexible.

                  MTRX and Snälltåget refund non-flexible tickets as vouchers.

                  Updated: 1st June. Outlook: stable

                  Norway 🇳🇴

                  Face-masks are not mandatory in Norway. Social distancing distance is 1 m. 

                  Norway border status

                  Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                  Open
                  Closed
                  • Sweden

                  Kristian has written in with the details for Norway and helped me immensely by putting it all in one place for me. Tusen takk!

                  International services

                  The international services to Sweden are suspended at least until the 8th July.

                  National Services

                  • All night trains are cancelled except the ones between Trondheim and Bodø.
                  • Some daytime domestic services are still affected by cancellations or closures
                  • Here is Vy's coronavirus page.

                  Limited services on all long distance lines. 

                  Refund policies

                  Refund policies have been relaxed to a certain extent to allow extra flexibility.

                  Updated: 1st June. Outlook: stable

                  Now what?

                  Well, I'm going to update this page every week. Truth be told, I'm up for some distraction now.

                  1. Why not have a look at my other posts and plan for better times
                  2. Or look at my coronavirus page, where I have all my coronavirus-writing in one place
                  3. Or join my free Rail Guide Europe club and get the password to my insider guides

                  Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

                  Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

                    I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                    Empty DB train
                    May 21

                    Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Central Europe

                    By Edward | Coronavirus

                    This picture shows an empty DB Intercity. Courtesy of my friend and colleague Zugführer Martin Pavlík. Thank you!

                    Europe's trains during Coronavirus - Central Europe

                    Central Europe has fared better in the coronavirus pandemic than Western Europe, mainly due to swift, draconian measures in the Visegrád states and Germany's calm discipline. Czechia was in lockdown before coronavirus was really a thing in England.

                    This hit the railways hard. Slovakia introduced an emergency timetable (you can download it), and across Central Europe services were wound down to a bare-bones minimum. Only Germany kept most of its long-distance trains running, though local services plummeted.

                    Germany - coronavirus rail disruptions

                    🇩🇪

                    On local and regional services, face-masks are now mandatory. On long distance trains, not. Social distancing distance is 1.5 m.

                    Germany border status

                    Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                    Open

                    • Czechia
                    • The Netherlands
                    • Denmark
                    • France
                    • Luxembourg
                    • Austria
                    • Belgium
                    • Switzerland

                    Closed

                    • Poland

                    International Services

                    May international services have resumed. There are still NO TRAINS to Italy or Poland.

                    • Railjets from Munich to Vienna are still running. Expect long and difficult customs stop at Salzburg.
                    • TGV and ICE services to Paris are resuming. All begin and terminate at Karlsruhe.
                    • There are now three daily services from Prague via Dresden to Berlin and back: EC 170/171, EC 174/175 and EC 178/179
                    • Trains to the Netherlands and Belgium are running, but at a reduced rate.
                    • Since 18th May, select services to Denmark have been reintroduced
                    • While the Swiss border remains closed, some ICEs now reach Basel SBB. Others terminate at Basel Bad.
                    • EN 462/463 Kálman Imre from Munich to Budapest is still hanging in there.

                    The ÖBB Nightjets are all cancelled.

                    Corona trains

                    EN 463 from Munich to Budapest, 23rd April. Courtesy of my friend Martin Pavlík.

                    Local cross border services

                    Local trains continue to reach:

                    • Kufstein and Salzburg in Austria. Austrian trains continue to reach Freilassing, Simbach, Passau and Lindau.
                    • Strasbourg in France
                    • Basel Bad and Schaffhausen in Switzerland

                    National Services

                    Deutsche Bahn are running almost all mainline trains. Only a few ICEs and ICs are cancelled. There is an hourly service between most major cities.

                    Local services are crawling back to higher frequencies.

                    The DB lounges are closed, while the restaurant cars are selling only prepackaged food and drink.

                    All Flixtrain services are suspended indefinitely. I struggle to see Flixtrain re-emerging from this.

                    Click here for DB's daily updates. (German only)

                    Refund policies

                    If you postpone your journey: DB tickets purchased up to the 13th March for travel between 13th March and 30th April are automatically commuted to fully flexible tickets and will be accepted until 31st October.

                    Fully flexible tickets can be exchanged or reimbursed free of charge.

                    Flixtrain exchanges your ticket for a Flixbus voucher.

                    Updated: 27th May. Outlook: improving

                    Switzerland - coronavirus rail disruptions

                    🇨🇭

                    Face-masks are urged if social distancing is difficult. They are not mandatory. Social distancing distance is 2 m.

                    Switzerland border status

                    Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                    Open

                    • Germany
                    • France

                    Closed

                    • Italy (except Domodossola)
                    • Austria

                    International services

                    Some international trains are resuming service.

                    • There is now a daily train from Basel to Paris and from Geneva to Paris
                    • All Railjets to Austria remain cancelled
                    • All Nightjet services remain cancelled.
                    Basel Bad

                    Blocked exit at Basel Bad. You are not allowed into Switzerland. Courtesy of my boots on the ground


                    Local cross border services

                    France: The Léman express is gathering speed. Trains have started to cross the border in the direction of Annemasse again. Presumably commuters are allowed to stay on the trains. Here is the link to the Léman Express corona page as of 25th May.

                    Italy: Local services reach Domodossola

                    Germany: My boots on the ground in Basel tell me that trains from Germany terminate at Basel Badischer Bahnhof. The Basel S-Bahn is fleeced by the Swiss border guards in both directions before it continues on its journey. While the Basel S-Bahn runs across the border, passengers must stay behind. 


                    Austria: Services from St. Margrethen to Bregenz have resumed. Also resumed are the trains from Buchs to Feldkirch. Many thanks to Lorenzo and Wrzlbrnft for writing in with these details!

                    National services

                    Most national domestic services are running to the original schedule again, though some trains are still cancelled. Until the trains are completely back to normal, no Sparbillett promo tickets are being sold.

                    Click here for SBB's updates

                    Refund policies

                    SBB are secretive about their refund terms. They say they are being "lenient". 

                    Get ready for some serious filling in of forms and click here.

                    Updated: 27th May. Outlook: improving

                    Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

                    Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

                      I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                      Austria - coronavirus rail disruptions

                      🇦🇹

                      In Austria, face-masks are mandatory on ALL public transport. Social distancing distance is 1 m.

                      Austria border status

                      Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                      Open

                      • Germany
                      • Hungary

                      Closed

                      • Slovakia
                      • Czechia
                      • Italy
                      • Slovenia
                      • Switzerland

                      International Services

                      There are NO TRAINS to:

                      • Czechia
                      • Slovakia
                      • Slovenia
                      • Switzerland
                      • Italy

                      Some trains to Hungary are still running, but expect border controls at Hegyeshalom. Only Hungarian residents are let into Hungary.

                      The Railjets to Munich are also running, but expect a long and difficult customs stop at Salzburg. Same goes for the ICEs to Frankfurt via Passau. Only German residents are let into Germany.

                      EuroNight 462

                      One of the very few international trains still running: EuroNight 463/462 "Kálmán Imre"


                      The only international night trains still running are the EN 462/463 between Budapest and Munich and the EN 498/499 between Villach and Munich.

                      Local cross border services

                      Local services continue to reach Simbach, Passau, Lindau and Freilassing. Kufstein and Salzburg are served by German local trains.

                      National services

                      Mainline and local services are back to normal.

                      Click here for more details.

                      WESTbahn are running every two hours between Vienna and Salzburg.

                      WESTbahn and ÖBB now recognise eachother's standard tickets

                      Domestic Nightjet services continue to run.

                      Refund policies

                      ÖBB-Tickets up until 13th April to Italy, Slovakia, Czechia, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany and Switzerland can be cancelled free of charge via customer service.

                      This goes for all Nightjets, too.

                      Updated: 27th May. Outlook: Improving

                      Poland - coronavirus rail disruptions

                      🇵🇱

                      Face-masks are mandatory on all Polish public transport. Social distancing distance is 1 m.

                      Poland border status

                      Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                      Open

                      Closed

                      • Slovakia
                      • Czechia
                      • Germany
                      • Ukraine
                      • Belarus
                      • Russia

                      International Services

                      All international services remain suspended.

                      National Services

                      National services are getting back to normal. More and more lines are being restarted or extended to their full length. EIP services are restarting from 22nd May.

                      On PKP Intercity, only 50% of seats are sold to aid social distancing.

                      Restaurant cars remain closed.

                      Here is PKP's extensive corona page.

                      And here is Polregio's extensive corona page.

                      Refund policies

                      Tickets bought before the 4th of March whose date of validity has not yet arrived can be returned for a full reimbursement.

                      Updated: 27th May. Outlook: improving

                      Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

                      Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

                        I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                        Czechia - coronavirus rail disruptions

                         🇨🇿

                        Face-masks are mandatory on Czech public transport. Social distancing distance is 1.5 m.

                        Czechia border status

                        Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                        Open

                        • Germany

                        Closed

                        • Slovakia
                        • Austria
                        • Poland

                        Czechia is easing its lockdown. Shopping centres, theatres and restaurants are reopening. The borders are expected to open by June.

                        Here is a map of the services that are running, as of 25th May.

                        International Services

                        International services are restarting! YAY!

                        • First trains from Prague to Berlin are running from 25th May.

                        National Services

                        SuperCity Pendolinos between Prague to Ostrava/Český Těšín cancelled.

                        National services are improving.

                        RegioJet have adjusted their reservation system to ensure that there is enough space between travellers. Disinfectant soap is guaranteed in all loos. Free water now only in 1st class.

                        Leo Express is running one train a day between Prague and Bohumín in both directions. They provide every passenger with a face mask.

                        Refund policies

                        Tickets can be returned for a full reimbursement, even First Minute Europe promo tickets.

                        Updated: 25th May. Outlook: improving

                        Slovakia - coronavirus rail disruptions

                        🇸🇰

                        Slovakia border status

                        Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to check these.

                        Open

                        Closed

                        • Hungary
                        • Czechia
                        • Austria
                        • Ukraine

                        Face-masks are mandatory on Slovak public transport. Social distancing distance is 1.5 m.

                        International Services

                        All international services remain suspended. 

                        National Services

                        ZSSK, Slovakia's national operator is starting to return to the normal timetable. Not everything is running yet, but since 10th May things have been improving.

                        Here is that timetable in full.

                        Since 1st April, free travel for students has been suspended. Everyone is urged to pay for tickets contactless.

                        Time for a video:

                        Refund policies

                        If you bought your ticket before 13th March, 06:00 AM, you have until 30th June to exchange it free of charge or get your money back.

                        If you have bought your ticket after 13th March, 06:00 AM, administrative fees apply, but I can't find where they say how much. It won't be much.

                        Updated: 27th May. Outlook: Improving

                        Now what?

                        Well, I'm going to update this page every week. Truth be told, I'm up for some distraction now.

                        1. Why not have a look at my other posts and plan for better times
                        2. Or look at my coronavirus page, where I have all my coronavirus-writing in one place
                        3. Or join my free Rail Guide Europe club and get the password to my insider guides

                        Join the Rail Guide Europe Club free

                        Subscribe so I can send you the password to my free Insider Guides library. You also get access to my Rail Help Europe Telegram channel and can ask me anything by email.

                          I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

                          ARkimbz
                          Apr 23

                          How to Cook your Favourite @_DiningCar Dishes At Home

                          By Edward | Dining Cars

                          How to Cook your Favourite @_DiningCar Classics at Home

                          When I started my blog two years ago, I didn't see us all trapped at home and all European borders closed. On my Corona page I have been cataloguing the carnage on the European railways.

                          The dining cars were the first services that bit the dust. In sidings all over Europe, dining cars are standing empty, their cooking ranges cold.

                          Now. As we are all mostly at home and have lots of time on our hands, how say we do some cooking? Perhaps bring that dining car magic (and I don't mean the microwave) home to our own tables?

                          With the help of my great friend @_DiningCar I am now starting a series on how to cook your favourite dining car classics while #StayingAtHome.

                          If you haven't met @_DiningCar yet, check out his Twitter channel. You can also find pictures from his exploits on Flickr.

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                            The things I do for you

                            Now more than ever, I go to great lengths for you, my reader. I could have easily slapped together any old recipe and video and thrown them at you. It would have taken me two days, tops. Instead I painstakingly sought out workable recipes, tried them out myself and took my own photos. It took more than three weeks.

                            Polish Dining Car at Home. WARS: Żurek (sour rye and sausage soup)

                            Polish Dining Car

                            Polish WARS dining car. Courtesy of @_DiningCar.

                            Poland has one of the best dining cars in Europe. Most of the cooking is still done to order.

                            Żurek is fermented rye soup and one of the signature dishes in the WARS restaurant car, as found on Polish trains and the Moscow-Paris and Moscow-Nice expresses.

                            If you want to do it properly, you'll need to go to a Polish food shop and get a bottle of Żurek sourdough. Or ferment some rye flour with water and garlic for 4 days beforehand.

                            Zurek in WARS Dining Car

                            One of WARS's signature soups, Żurek. Coutesy of Martin Pavlík.

                            Żurek recipe

                            Żurek is so ubiquitous in Poland that everyone has their own way of making it. I have tried quite a few recipes before arriving at this one by Polish food blogger Magda from skutecznie.tv.   

                            I made this for Żurek for Easter Sunday lunch and fed it to my Polish parents-in-law. I know the difference between polite praise and genuine, and their praise was genuine and profuse. So this recipe is proven.

                            Cooking time: 30 minutes (apparently. It took me 90 minutes). Makes 2 litres

                            Żurek ingredients

                            For the recipe in Polish, click here. Below, find my English translation.

                            • 500 ml żurek sourdough (you can get this in East European shops in bottles, or make it yourself. 
                            east european shop

                            Polish shop in Scarborough

                            To make 1 litre of your own Żurek sourdough, mix well six spoons of rye flour with boiled, lukewarm water. Add three crushed cloves of garlic. If you have a crust of sourdough bread, put this in too. It helps the fermentation get going. Leave to stand in a warm place (not direct sunlight) for 3-4 days. Stir once again on the first evening. (I had only two days. Here is what I did: I made it all as described, but added a tablespoon of rye sourdough starter {don't judge me}. This kickstarted the fermentation. Then I kept the liquid in warm intensive care. It was ready just in time.)
                            Dining Car at Home Zurek Sourdough

                            Home made Żurek sourdough

                            • 1 bay leaf
                            • 3-4 grains of allspice
                            • 4-5 grains of black pepper
                            • 1 tsp salt
                            • 1 l water
                            • 2-3 ​dried mushrooms.
                              (can be left out, but they do enrich the flavour somewhat)
                            • 400 g sausage:
                              – 250-300 g Polish white sausages ("biała kiełbasa" (white sausage) is the original Polish word. If you can't get Polish, see if you can get something German.)
                              – 100-150 g smoked, cured sausages ("swojska, wiejska kiełbasa" in the original Polish, which means home-made, country sausages. These are usually quite coarse and smoked. Even if you use simply 400g of white sausages you'll be fine) 
                            Sausage comment: Poland has a rich sausage culture and myriad varieties available nowhere else. I have browsed UK-Polish cooking fora. Polish people cooking żurek in England use either very good cumberland sausages or German bratwurst obtainable in Lidl and Aldi. Bangers won't do. In the USA, I really don't know what would be best, but I would aim for high quality and high meat content. I was cooking this in Germany. It goes without saying that my Polish shop was sold out of both ready-made żurek sourdough and biała kiełbasa just before easter. I used Munich White Sausages (Münchner Weisswurst)
                            • 100 g smoked bacon
                            • 1 medium onion
                            • 2 cloves of garlic
                            • 1-2 tsp of majoram
                            • 1/2 glass of sour cream or śmietana. You want something between 10-25% fat. The best stuff is available in East European shops.
                            • 1 tbsp flour
                            • salt and pepper
                            • hard boiled egg (one per bowl of soup is good)
                            • optional:
                              – 2 tbsp of horseradish, either freshly grated or from a jar.
                              – potatoes (diced)
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                            sausages boiling for zurek

                            First make the broth by boiling sausages

                            Żurek method

                            1. Put the white sausages into a saucepan. Add the bay leaf, allspice, peppercorns and salt. Add water, bring to the boil and leave on a small flame with the lid on.
                            Let cook while you dice the onions, country sausages and bacon and fry them.

                            2. Now prepare the fried ingredients.
                            Peel and dice the onion. Cut the bacon into strips or dice. Chop the country sausage into fattish half-moons or dice.

                            Dining Car at Home Polish

                            bacon and onions ready to go

                            3. Heat frying pan, add the bacon and wait till it starts to render fat. If using dried mushrooms, travel back in time to half an hour before you started cooking and soak them. Add mushrooms. Stir frequently until the pieces start to colour. 

                            4. Add the onions and fry until they become translucent. Then add majoram and crushed garlic. Stir and fry for a few moments, until the smell of garlic starts to waft up. Turn off the heat.

                            Dining Car at Home Polish

                            Bacon, onions and sausage frying

                            5. Revisit the saucepan with the boiling sausages. These should be ready by now. Take out the sausages and pour the contents of the frying pan into the sausage-broth in the saucepan. Let boil with the lid on for 10 minutes.

                            6. Peel the boiled white sausages and cut into bite-size chunks. 

                            7. Mix the sour cream with the flour. Make sure there are no lumps.

                            8. Now put it all together. Add the żurek sourdough liquid to the boiling broth (before adding give the liquid a good shake). Add the sour cream - first take a few spoons of broth and mix it into the cream, then pour this mixture into the boiling broth. Stir carefully and boil until the flour thickens the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

                            Dining Car at Home Polish

                            Finishing up

                            9. At this stage you can add some freshly grated horseradish, if you are that way inclined. I did, and I recommend it. 

                            Serve hot with bits of sausage in it and hard boiled egg. Fresh bread goes nicely with it.

                            Dining Car at Home Polish

                            Żurek ready to eat

                            Żurek Video

                            Here is the video of Magda at work making żurek. 

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                              Slovak Dining Car at Home. Wagon Slovakia: Čiernohorský rezeň ("Čierna Hora Cutlet") 

                              Wagon Slovakia Dining Car

                              Wagon Slovakia dining car. Courtesy of @_DiningCar

                              Čierna Hora is a low mountain range in eastern Slovakia. The Čierna Hora cutlet was invented in Czechoslovak times by Ondrej Antovszký, the chef at the Slovak Writers' Club in Bratislava. His invention has become a signature dish of Slovak cuisine.

                              Ciernohorsky rezen

                              Čiernohorský rezeň in its natural habitat, courtesy of @_DiningCar

                              Everyone coming back from a rail trip in Slovakia will gush about the sounds and smells of real cooking emanating from Wagon Slovakia's restaurant cars. The clatter of pans and the pummelling of schnitzels. It goes without saying that Wagon Slovakia serve the Čiernohorský rezeň.

                              Čiernohorský rezeň recipe

                              This recipe is by Marcel Ihnačák, who is a famous Slovak chef. In the video you can see him at work. Kudos to Lidl Slovakia for making such great cooking videos.

                              Meta comment: The video recipe has you make mashed potato as a side. The Wagon Slovakia menu lets you choose between various sides, and so do I. As the Čiernohorský rezeň is fried, I'd recommend mashed or boiled potatoes. 

                              Serves 6. Cooking time: 30 mins

                              Čiernohorský rezeň ingredients

                              piece of meat

                              I got a piece of loin

                              • 1 kg of pork loin or leg (or steaks if you're buying it ready cut. You don't want anything with bones in it)
                              • salt
                              • pepper
                              • 1 - 2 large potatoes
                              • 4 cloves of garlic
                              • 3 eggs
                              • 1 tsp of majoram
                              • 3 tbsp of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
                              • sunflower oil (I prefer lard or clarified butter) for frying
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                              Čiernohorský rezeň method

                              1. cut the pork into 1 1/2 to 2 cm slices. Lay out the slices on a chopping board. Cover with cling film and pound them with a meat tenderiser. Salt and pepper them on one side

                              Slovak Dining Car at Home

                              Be sure to bash the slices nice and thin

                              2. Now make the batter: In a bowl, grate the potatoes on the fine side of the grater, followed by the garlic. Crack the eggs over the grated potato. Season with salt, pepper and majoram. Add the 3 tbsp of plain flour. 

                              3. Mix well. If necessary, add a little milk or water. You are aiming for quite a thick batter, so don't go overboard.

                              4. Press the cutlet into the flour so it is nicely coated. Then move it on to the batter. Again, ensure that as much batter as possible coats the meat. This is why you don't want the batter too runny.

                              Slovak Dining Car at Home

                              Put the cutlets first through the flour, then the batter. Fry immediately.

                              5. Fry on a medium heat in ample oil. I like lard or clarified butter for this job, but sunflower is fine. 2-3 minutes each side should do it, but use your senses. You want the batter nice and golden and the cutlet to feel springy rather than squishy.

                              Slovak Dining Car at Home

                              Fry in plenty of oil

                              6. Take out of the pan and pat dry with kitchen roll. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.

                              Slovak Dining Car at Home

                              Serve with mashed potato and grate cheese over it.

                              Čiernohorský rezeň video

                              Obviously I'm not expecting you to understand Slovak. What matters is that you see how it is all supposed to look. I love the sound of Slovak. 

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                                French Dining Car at Home. TGV.INOUI Bar: Croque Monsieur

                                SNCF Bar

                                The TGV bar. Picture courtesy of @_DiningCar

                                I wasn't looking forward to this. France has led the way in bad train food. However, the ever-positive @_DiningCar took me by the hand and showed me that SNCF does in fact have some edible fare. He told me about SNCF's Croque Monsieur

                                SNCF Croque monsieur

                                This is a beautiful, sliiiiightly edgy picture of the SNCF croque monsieur by @_DiningCar. I love it.

                                Croque monsieur recipe

                                So I went and looked for a croque monsieur recipe. Recipes abound, in English too, ranging from the BBC Good Food cardiac arrest to grim prison food. Some involve béchamel, some don't.

                                I wanted something with béchamel on top, but no faffing around with bay leaves and nutmeg (Nutmeg! FFS). In the end I decided on the following recipe as it is simple, yet authentic. 

                                The amounts differ from those in the video. The proportions in the video are simply wrong. Some intern must have hastily googled them. You can't make roux with 100 flour/40 butter - they need to be about 1:1. I ended up with a mountain of unused béchamel, too.

                                Makes 4 croques monsieurs. Duration: 40 mins.

                                Croque monsieur ingredients

                                • Bread. Rustic French stuff would be nice. But white sliced is fine. 
                                • Ham (the better, the better)
                                • Cheese (Comté, Gruyère or Bergkäse would be best, Emmental OK. I don't recommend cheddar - it is too heavy)
                                • 30 g butter
                                • 1/2 a red on