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

Dayum. Last time I updated this post I had no idea I'd be updating this post with the following:

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine there are no services between the two countries. 

Most Russian train services are running normally.

Ukrainian railway services are somewhat disrupted in the north and the east. Additional services are being laid on to evacuate people towards Przemyśl and Chop border stations.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email


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


International Services

Services to Belarus have resumed.

Trains to Kaliningrad pass through Lithuania and Belarus without stopping. Trains that cross Kazakhstan via Petropavlovsk also pass through without stopping.

National Services

Most national mainline services are running as normal.

Russia Social Distancing

How seats are allocated on Russian trains under social distancing

Here is the link to RZD's covid page.  The Russian version is more up to date than the English version. Many daily trains now run every other day. Some trains have been utterly cancelled. It seems Russia is trying to get the infections down before the New Year holidays. 

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: 10th February. Outlook: stable

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

There are increased services running from Odessa and Kyiv to the west of Ukraine and the border stations of Przemyśl and Chop.

National Services

It seems that most trains are running.

Refund policies

All tickets are reimbursed free of charge.

Updated: 10th February. 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

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email
Frecciargento empty
May 21

Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Southern Europe

By Edward | Coronavirus

Coronavirus Train Disruptions - Southern Europe

Southern Europe is very much in the grips of a nasty second wave. And this time the Balkans are badly hit too. 

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

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
  • France
  • Austria
Closed
  • Slovenia

Italy has gone back into a nasty lockdown. Travel is severely restricted. 

International Services

International services are suffering again.

  • Swiss local trains reach Domodossola. 
  • Thello services to Nice and Marseille are running
  • TILO regional services between Ticino and Lombardy are running at half their normal rate
  • Services from Vienna to Venice cancelled
  • Nightjets cancelled
  • Eurocity services from Switzerland to Italy running to reduced schedule
  • The Thello night train from Venice to Paris remains cancelled.

National Services

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

From what I can tell, Trenitalia seems to be running all its trains.

On regional trains, only 50% load is recommended. Dunno what that is supposed to mean.

Italo is running at the moment, but at a reduced rate. I found one daily train between Venezia Santa Lucia and Roma Termini. I do hope they survive. Here is their timetable in full:

Rules of train travel on Trenitalia

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: 10th February. Outlook: stable

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
  • France
Closed
  • Portugal

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

International Services

Services to France are running.

Services between Portugal and Spain remain suspended.

National Services

There is much less about coronavirus on the Spanish Railways' website, Renfe.com. Random queries come up with a lot of trains. I assume most trains are running, but not all seats sold.

There are 15 trains daily between Madrid and Barcelona on my last check.

Refund policies

Spain has reintroduced the state of emergency and all tickets can be exchanged free of charge. Spain-France: all tickets exchangeable at short notice up until 4th January 2021.

Updated: 10th February. Outlook: stable

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

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 running.

Alfa Pendular and Intercity services are severely reduced and running to this schedule here

Here is CP's coronavirus page.

Refund policies

Refund policies are as usual.

Updated: 10th February. Outlook: getting worse

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
  • Serbia
  • Romania
Closed
  • North Macedonia
  • Greece
  • Turkey


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

International services

International services, such as are scheduled in autumn, are running.

Services to Turkey and Greece remain suspended indefinitely

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: 10th February. 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.

National Services

National services seem to be running normally.

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: 10th February. 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

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email
Empty LNER train
May 21

Coronavirus Train Travel – 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

The second (or is it third) coming of Covid hasn't thrown the trains as badly as the first wave did. However, in England a new strain of Covid has emerged, grinding Eurostar to a halt.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Great Britain - Coronavirus  train travel??

Face masks are now mandatory on trains in the whole of the UK. Social distancing distance is 1 metre. Fine for not wearing a mask: up to 6,400 GBP

GB border status

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

Open
Closed
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands

Britain is in lockdown. Much is closed again, and this is likely to affect train services. Recently they invented a new, stricter tier for London and the south east.

The British variant of Covid means Britain is top of most other countries' risk lists.

Eurostar

Face-masks are mandatory on Eurostar trains and at Eurostar stations. You won't be let onto the train without something covering your nose and mouth. 
  • There is one daily Eurostar to Brussels and Amsterdam
  • There is one daily Eurostar to Paris


Before arriving in the UK you need to complete the passenger locator form. Here is the link to this British government form: 

Returning to England from France, Belgium or the Netherlands, you have to self-isolate for 10 days.

National Services

All franchises have been scrapped, putting the railways under state control.

  • Almost all trains are running normally.
  • According to National Rail, during peak times more trains are running, to aid social distancing... somehow I doubt that there is much wriggle room for this, but anyway.


Updated: 9th February. Outlook: getting worse

The Netherlands - coronavirus train travel

??

Face-masks (mondkapjes) are mandatory on all Dutch trains. Social distancing distance is 1.5 metres.

Netherlands border situation

Open
  • Germany
  • Belgium 
  • France
  • England
Closed

International services

Thalys has already laid waste to its timetables. 

IC Brussel is running to its normal schedule.

ICEs to Germany are all running to their normal schedule. 

The IC to Berlin is running to its normal schedule.

On daily Eurostar to England.

Local cross border services

All local cross border services are running.

National Services

On 13th December the new timetable came into force, in the Netherlands as everywhere else. All trains are running. You are advised to

  • Avoid crowds and the rush hour.
  • wear your mondkapje on trains, at stations and on the platforms

Many thanks to Thierry and Gerben for writing in with all the details!

You can now register your trip in advance with the Treinwijzer. This helps you to see if your train is likely to be crowded. You can find out more about this here

Updated: 9th February. Outlook: getting worse

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Belgium - coronavirus train travel

??

Face-masks are mandatory on all trains. Social distancing distance: 1,5 m.

Belgium border situation

Open
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany
  • England

Closed


Eurostar


Before arriving in the UK you need to complete the passenger locator form. Here is the link to this British government form:

There is one daily Eurostar to England

International services

If you travel to France, make sure you have this form on you.

  • Thalys has reduced its service drastically
  • ICEs to Germany are running to schedule.
  • IC Brussel is running to schedule
  • The Nightjet to Vienna is cancelled until spring

National Services

National services are suffering now.  SNCB/NMBS have an app dedicated to helping you avoid crowded trains. Various services are reduced in frequency. Click here to have a look.

Here is SNCB/NMBS's corona page.

Updated: 9th February. Outlook: getting worse

France - coronavirus train travel

??

France has reintroduced a pretty strict lockdown, including curfews. You need a self-declaration with you in writing stating why you are out and about.

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

France border situation


Open
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • England
Closed


International Services

  • TGV and ICE services from Paris to Germany are drastically reduced
  • TGV Lyria services to Switzerland are drastically reduced
  • There is one daily Eurostar to London
  • Here is the link to Eurostar's updates
  • Thalys has drastically reduced services to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne/Essen
  • Here is the link to Thalys's timetable updates.
  • The Paris-Moscow and Nice-Moscow trains remain cancelled.
  • The Thello to Venice remains cancelled.
  • Services to Spain continue to run.

National Services

All TGVs and Intercités are running. For TERs, check on SNCF.com after 17:00 for the next day.

If you train goes after 20:00 or before 06:00 you need a cast-iron excuse in writing. Telecharge your form here.

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

Dining car services (such as they were) are all suspended.

RER and Transilien are running, mostly.

Check to see if your train is running up to 3 days in advance by visiting sncf.com and entering your train number.

French Covid safety

Those French Covid protection measures in full

Ticket flexibility

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 up until 7th March 2021, as long as you give them 3 days notice.

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: 9th February. Outlook: getting worse. Fine for not wearing a mask: €135 for first-time offenders.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Sweden - coronavirus train travel

??

No face masks necessary, though they are recommended during rush hour. Social distancing distance is not defined. 

Sweden border status


Open
Closed
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Denmark

Sweden has been getting lots of stick for its relatively low-key handling of the pandemic. 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.
  • Denmark

Snälltåget have moved the start of their new Berlin service backwards to May.

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 remain cancelled.

National Services

The whole network is running, though SJ has reduced the frequency of its trains.

Here is SJ's covid page.

As of November 2020, SJ has limited seat reservations yet further, so that if you book a window seat, the aisle seat is definitely empty. 

Certain local services are without reservations. Here is a list of trains expected to be crowded, so you can avoid them (or not).

MTRX's Stockholm-Göteborg service continues to run. MTRX guarantee all passengers an empty seat next to them to aid social distancing. MTRX also provide every passenger with a complementary mask.

Snälltåget is running most of its trains again, sells only window seats and offers private compartments. If you want to visit the pub (their restaurant car) you need to reserve in advance.

Ticket flexibility

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: 9th February. Outlook: stable

Norway ??

Face-masks are not mandatory in Norway. They are only urged if you can't keep the social distancing distance, which is 1 m. 

Norway border status


Open
Closed
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Russia

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

Norway is coming down hard on all people entering the country. It wants to become the New Zealand of Europe. You need to come to Norway with a fresh (negative) covid test. Anyone not resident then goes for a 10-day covid-sojourn at a government-stipulated hotel at their own expense (5000 NOK, c. €500).

International services

All international services are suspended.

National Services

Refund policies

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

Updated: 9th February. Outlook: getting worse

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

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email
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

While Central Europe fared well in the first wave, this time it is different. Czechia is completely out of control, Germany is desperately bidding to get the upper hand again while Poland has even more cases.

Germany - coronavirus rail disruptions

??

Medicinal face-masks are mandatory on all German trains. Social distancing distance is 1.5 m.

Germany border status

Here you can see which borders you can cross by train. However, stringent measures and travel restrictions apply, usually involving negative tests and quarantines

Open
  • The Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Austria (Salzburg, Passau and Simbach)
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Poland
Closed
  • Czechia
  • Austria (Kufstein, Mittenwald)

Important: If you enter Germany from what Germany considers a risk-area (say, Île de France, or parts of Romania) you need to fill out this form. Then you need to go into quarantine for 14 days. You can find the German list of risk-areas here. As of 5th November almost everywhere is a risk area.

International Services

Most international services are still running, but are beginning to suffer.

  • The Russian Railways service to Berlin and Paris remains cancelled
  • The sleepers and couchettes on the EN 463/462 Munich-Budapest have been cancelled again. Only seat cars going.
  • Only two daily direct services to Paris.
  • All ECs from Munich to Italy via Tyrol cancelled
  • Nightjets to Austria cancelled from 7th February.


Corona trains

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

Local cross border services

Most local cross-border services are running.

Services from Munich to Tyrol are cancelled due to mutant coronavirus.

Domestic Services

  • Deutsche Bahn are currently running all their mainline trains. 
  • Local services are running normally.
  • The DB lounges have reopened but are not serving drinks or food.
  • Restaurant cars are closed.
  • Flixtrains are cancelled and the FlixMobility boss is in newspapers whining that DB should cancel its trains as well. Poor man.
  • The ALPEN-SYLT Nachtexpress has cancelled its winter services.

Refund policies

Standard rules apply. Beware of the SuperSparpreis: it explicitly rules out any reimbursement, even in the event of full lockdown.

Updated: 15th February 2021

Switzerland - coronavirus rail disruptions

??

Face-masks are 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
  • Austria
  • Italy

Closed


International services

Most International trains are running.

  • 3 daily TGVs from Zürich/Basel and Geneva respectively to Paris
  • 2 daily TGVs Lausanne-Paris via Jura
  • Eurocitys to Italy are reduced. Most services terminating at the Swiss border. Simplon services end at Brig.
  • Railjets and Eurocitys to Austria are running
  • Nightjets to Germany are cancelled
  • Euronights to Czechia cancelled
  • Euronight to Budapest cancelled from 8th February 2021
  • Euronight to Zagreb and Belgrade appears to be running: I can't find anything saying it is cancelled


Local cross border services

France: The Léman express is running normally. Services between Neuchâtel, Portiers and Frasne are running twice a day

Italy: Tilo services are running, but half the S50 trains between Varese and Milano Malpensa are cancelled. 

Germany: Services running normally.

Austria: all local cross border services running normally.

National services

All day trains running. Various late night services are cancelled.

As of 22nd December the restaurant cars are closed.

Click here for SBB's updates

Updated: 15th February 2021

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Austria - coronavirus rail disruptions

??

In Austria, FFP2 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 (Salzburg, Simbach and Passau)
  • Switzerland
  • Czechia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Italy
Closed
  • Hungary (open only to Hungarians)
  • Germany (Kufstein, Mittenwald)

International Services

International services are suffering.

  • Railjets to Venezia Santa Lucia terminate at Villach
  • Seasonal ski trains all cancelled
  • ECs from Italy via Tyrol to Munich all cancelled
  • Download and fill out this form to enter Italy
  • IC 336 has been shortened and is running only between Linz and České Budějovice.
  • The Russian Railways' Moscow-Nice service has yet to be reinstated
  • Hungarian Railways MÁV have taken their sleepers and couchettes out of service again.
  • International services to Hungary are scaled back due to draconian measures in Hungary.
  • The IC 44/45 Vienna to Košice and 143/144 Cluj Napoca/Satu Mare are cancelled until further notice.
EuroNight 462

One of the very few international trains that ran throughout lockdown: EuroNight 463/462 "Kálmán Imre"


Local cross border services

Most local cross-border services to all border countries are running. That includes the Micotra service from Villach to Udine and Trieste.

There are no trains to Bavaria via Kufstein, MIttenwald or Griesen.

National services

Mainline and local services are running normally.

Click here for more details.

WESTbahn are running every hour between Vienna and Salzburg.

WESTbahn and ÖBB not recognising each others' tickets anymore, from 8th February, Westbahn expected to reduce its timetable.

Updated: 15th February

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

International Services

International services to Germany, Czechia and Slovakia are running.

National Services

National services remain scaled back. Only 50% of seats are available for sale.

Refund policies

Tickets bought for cancelled trains can be returned free of charge or used on other services. I assume some form of new reservation will have to be made.

Updated: 8th February 2021

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Czechia - coronavirus rail disruptions

 ??

Face-masks were reintroduced on 1st September and are mandatory on public transport throughout Czechia. 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
  • Slovakia
  • Austria
  • Slovakia
  • Poland
Closed

Czechia had returned to normal, but now it is having an appalling second wave. Services are severely impacted. No night trains at all.

International Services

International services are still running

  • Trains from Prague to Berlin are running (but for how long, still?)
  • Regiojet is going to Slovakia
  • Services to Austria reduced
  • Day services to Poland reduced
  • Services to Munich (Ex6 / ALEX) running between Munich and Plzen only.
  • Night trains to Slovakia are cancelled
  • Night trains to Hungary are suspended
  • RegioJet services to Slovakia are running
  • Day trains to Slovakia and Hungary are running as of 8th February 2021

National Services

České Dráhy: Domestic services are seriously impacted now.

Here is a map of all České Dráhy services from 8th February.

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. RegioJet continues to serve Slovakia.

Leo Express appears to be running to schedule.

Refund policies

Standard refund policies apply.

Updated: 8th February

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
  • Austria
  • Czechia
  • Poland
Closed
  • Hungary
  • Ukraine

Face-masks are mandatory on Slovak public transport. Social distancing distance is 2 m.

International Services

  • Day trains to Czechia and Hungary are running as of 8th February 2021
  • International services (ZSSK and RegioJet) to Czechia are reduced, but running.
  • Most services to Austria running
  • Ukraine is closed 
  • Night trains to Czechia cancelled
  • The IC 44/45 Košice-Bratislava-Vienna is cancelled
  • Here is ZSSK's coronavirus page:

National Services

ZSSK, Slovakia's national operator is running most of its schedule.

Ticket offices have been closed.

Domestic night trains are running.

Restaurant cars are closed. Trains that did have a restaurant car now have a minibar in coach number 2.

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

Standard refund policies apply.

Updated: 8th February 2021

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

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email
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.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

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)
Join my free Rail Guide Europe Club and access a growing library of Insider Rail Guides! Find out more...
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. 

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

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
Join my free Rail Guide Europe Club and access a growing library of Insider Rail Guides! Find out more...

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. 

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

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 onion (I used a shallot)
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 300 ml milk
  • salt and pepper.
Join my free Rail Guide Europe Club and access a growing library of Insider Rail Guides! Find out more...

Croque monsieur method

1. Make béchamel. Dice the onion and fry in the melted butter on a medium flame. You want the onions to become soft and golden, not burnt. Add the flour and mix. Let the flour fry for a bit in the butter. Slowly add the milk. That's your béchamel done. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

French Dining Car at Home

My béchamel in the making. Let the flour fry for a little bit..

2. Take your bread and wipe each slice on one side with olive oil. Pop under the grill to toast.

French Dining Car at Home

First a dollop of béchamel, then a slice of ham.

3. When the bread is nicely toasted on the one side, take it out. Lay out the slices on a board (toasted side DOWN) and start to fill them. 

  • First comes a generous dollop of béchamel
  • then a thick slice of ham
  • then some grated cheese

Top each mound with another slice of bread. Top it with another helping of béchamel, then grate more cheese over the béchamel. My croque monsieurs looked like this:

French Dining Car at Home

Ready to go under the grill

4. Grill for 5 minutes. Be careful here: if the grill is too hot your sandwiches will be blasted on the outside and cold on the inside. I had my grill on level 3 out of 5 and the tray with the sandwiches on the second highest level in the oven. 

Mine came out like this. They probably could have had a minute more, but I left it at that.

French Dining Car at Home

Ready to eat

5. Serve. A bit of salad with vinaigrette would go well. And wine, obviously.

French Dining Car at Home

Buon appetito

Croque monsieur video

The video starts at 3'23" because the first three minutes bang on about Jambon de Paris. I like the attitude with which the croque monsieur is made in the bar setting. Low-key and matter-of-factly, not with food-for-the-gods pomposity.

Vegetarian Crocque Monsieur: Introducing the Ed Monsieur

To say I invented this is overstating. I've taken the Turkish pide filling and slapped it into a croque monsieur.

Click here to go to my vegetarian section.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email


German Dining Car at Home. Deutsche Bahn Bordrestaurant: Curry Wurst.

DB Intercity BordBistro in the original Interregio design. A rare jewel.

Curry wurst is a German snack eaten everywhere except Southern Bavaria. It is a sausage (a bratwurst) fried, sliced and served in a spicy tomatoey sauce along with a roll or chips/fries.

DB made a lot of people very happy when they re-introduced the curry wurst last year.

Curry wurst recipe

This recipe is straight from DB's website. While I was still working on my Żurek, DB actually came out with a recipe for cooking their curry wurst at home. I tried it out for you and it is supremely delicious and workable. Here is my translation.

Makes 4-6 curry wursts. Takes 30 minutes.

DB Curry wurst peeping out from a pile of microwave chips

Curry wurst ingredients

  • 4 tbsp oil (any cooking oil. I used olive)
  • 2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 tin (ca. 500 ml) tomatoes (my tin was 400ml. Turned out fine)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 Bratwursts (depending on how much sauce you like, the amount will easily stretch to 6 curry wursts. I froze the rest)
Sausage comment: For the sausages, I don't recommend anything cured. Frankfurters are not nice with this. I can just about imagine bangers working, provided they've got at least 70% meat. But German Bratwurst would be best.
  • 30 ml lemon juice (that's roughly half a lemon)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamico)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp curry powder (didn't have German curry powder. I substituted this with garam masala)
  • handful of nachos (I left these out)
  • Secret ingredient if you live in Germany: 1 tbsp Munich sweet mustard. Here I departed from the recipe. Some sort of honey-mustard concoction would work too.
Join my free Rail Guide Europe Club and access a growing library of Insider Rail Guides! Find out more...

Curry wurst method

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in small saucepan. Add tomato paste and curry powder/garam masala. Let sizzle on medium for a few moments.

German Dining Car at Home

At the beginning, fry curry powder or garam masala with tomato paste

2. Throw in the tinned tomatoes, ketchup, lemon juice and vinegar. Bring to the boil and let bubble gently on lowish heat. Try and get the tomatoes nice and small with a wooden spoon (I got bored of this and wheeled on the blender). Season with sugar to your liking. Ditto salt and pepper. 

German Dining Car at Home

Sauce is ready. I whizzed it with a blender to get closer to the real thing

3. Fry your sausages in a frying pan for 5-7 minutes (depends on what sausages you've got, doesn't it?). Let them cool down a little bit, then slice. Arrange the slices on a plate and slop a generous sloosh of your sauce over them. Dust it with curry powder ( I used more garam masala and English mustard powder). Scrunch up the nachos and sprinkle over the curry wurst.

German Dining Car at Home

Some might say my bratwurst is too thin. It was all I could get. Flavour was good though.

Serve with chips or a squidgy white roll. And beer.

German Dining Car at Home

Here we go

Curry wurst video

Here is an entertaining and detailed video about how to make your own curry wurst. It is a bit more hardcore than DB's method.

FREE Access

Join my Rail Guide Europe Club FREE

Sign up now and gain instant access to:


  • The password to my Insider Rail Guides
  • My FREE Telegram help group
  • Ask me Anything status by email

Where do we go from here?

Well, I hope these recipes go a little way to soothe your lockdown and help you keep your sanity. I realise that they all contain meat, but vegetarians, I've got something in the pipeline for you as well.

If you cook one of these dishes, Let me know in the comments how it goes. Also, if there is a @_DiningCar dish that you would like me to consider, please put it in the comments.

And if you haven't joined my free Rail Guide Europe club yet, consider doing it now. It is absolutely free and gives you access to all sorts of exquisite goodies.

Swiss Restaurant car review SBB Elvetino
Mar 19

Europe’s Trains During Coronavirus

By Edward | Coronavirus

Europe’s Trains during the Coronavirus Pandemic

It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen again and start cataloguing the European rail disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic. But there it is. The virus is resurgent and most countries are reentering lockdown.

As of 2nd November, rail services are beginning to suffer. Nightjets between Austria and Germany are being suspended. Private, open-access operators are already decimating or cancelling their services.

Remember to click “Refresh” in your browser to ensure you are seeing the latest version of this post.

Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Eastern Europe

Read More

Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Southern Europe

Read More

Coronavirus Train Travel – Western Europe

Read More

Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Central Europe

Read More

Europe’s trains during Coronavirus – what you need to know

    1. In the first wave of early 2020, coronavirus brought down almost all international train services.
  1. Due to the uncertainty around coronavirus travel restrictions, most operators relaxed their refund policies.

Europe’s trains during the Coronavirus pandemic – November 2020 Update

      1. As the second wave engulfs us, it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the trains.
    1. Many local border- and cross-border services are still running, in spite of coronavirus. Theoretically you could still get quite far.
    2. Borders within the EU remain open, though Hungary is letting only Hungarians and Hungarian residents in.

To make things easier for you, I’ve split this post into regions – Western Europe, Southern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.

Now what?

Well, I’m going to update this page weekly. 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. Look at my coronavirus page, where I have all my coronavirus-writing in one place
  3. Join my free Rail Guide Europe club and get the password to my insider guides

For the time being,

  • Keep washing those hands for 30 seconds
  • Stay at home
  • Be kind
  • Be safe and be healthy.