Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Central Europe

By Edward | Coronavirus

May 21
Empty DB train
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

🇩🇪

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. Though border checks are still in place, you are allowed to travel again.

Open
  • Czechia
  • The Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Poland
Closed

International Services

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

  • Railjets from Munich to Vienna are running.
  • TGV and ICE services from Karlsruhe and Frankfurt to Paris have resumed. 
  • 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 back to normal.
  • Select services to Denmark have been reintroduced
  • All connections with Switzerland are restored.
  • EN 462/463 Kálman Imre from Munich to Budapest is still hanging in there.
  • All Nightjets have restarted, except Munich-Vienna


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

Domestic 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 back to normal.

The DB lounges remain 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: 29th June. 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
  • Austria
  • Italy

Closed


International services

International trains are resuming service.

  • There are now a three daily trains from Basel to Paris, four from Geneva to Paris. One train goes from Lausanne to Paris.
  • Railjets and Eurocitys to Austria are running again
  • All Nightjets now running again 
  • Eurocitys to Italy (MIlano Centrale) restarted
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. TILO services reaching into Lombardy, including Milan.

Germany: Services back to normal.

Austria: all local cross border services back to normal.

National services

Most national domestic services are running to the original schedule again. Since the 8th of June, Sparbilette have been on sale again. The dining cars are open again, too.

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: 29th June. Outlook: improving

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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
  • Switzerland
  • Czechia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Italy
Closed

International Services

  • Trains to Slovenia have resumed.
  • There are five daily trains to Hungary
  • Railjets from Vienna to Bolzano have restarted
  • Micotra trains from Villach to Udine are running again
  • Railjet services from Vienna to Zurich via Buchs have resumed
  • The Railjets to Munich are also running. Same goes for the ICEs to Frankfurt via Passau.
  • Trains to Czechia and Slovakia have all been reinstated. 
  • Eurocitys from Munich via Innsbruck to Verona (Brenner Eurocity trains) are expected to restart around 25th June.
  • Most Nightjets and Euronights running again
EuroNight 462

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


Local cross border services

  • Local services continue to reach Simbach, Passau, Lindau and Freilassing. Kufstein and Salzburg are served by German local trains.
  • Local cross border services to Switzerland are running again, too.
  • The Micotra service from Villach to Udine and Trieste has restarted.
  • Trains to San Candido running

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 each other'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: 29th June. 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
  • Germany
  • Czechia
  • Slovakia
Closed
  • Ukraine
  • Belarus
  • Russia

International Services

EU international services are soon to be reinstated. First trains to Germany, Austria and Czechia running from 22nd June.

Here is a list of all PKP Intercity's international services

National Services

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

On PKP Intercity, from June 100% of seats are available for sale - not 50% like in other countries.

Restaurant cars remain closed.

Here is a current list of all PKP Intercity services running

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: 23rd June. Outlook: improving

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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
  • Slovakia
  • Austria
  • Slovakia
  • Poland
Closed

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!

  • Trains from Prague to Berlin are running
  • Regiojet is resuming services to Slovakia
  • Services to Austria running
  • Day services to Poland restarted
  • Night trains to Slovakia, Austria and Switzerland restarted
  • Night trains to Poland and Hungary remain suspended

National Services

SuperCity Pendolinos between Prague to Ostrava/Český Těšín are resuming.

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: 29th June. 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
  • Austria
  • Czechia
  • Poland
Closed
  • Hungary
  • Ukraine

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

International Services

  • International services to Czechia have resumed from the 9th of June.
  • Services to Austria restored
  • Hungary and Ukraine to follow 1st July. 
  • Night trains to Czechia running again

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.

Night trains are running again.

Here is that timetable in full.

Motorail services (Autovlaky) are scheduled to restart 1st July.

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: 29th 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

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

About the Author

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

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