Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Western Europe

By Edward | Coronavirus

May 21
Empty LNER train
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. 

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Great Britain - Coronavirus  train disruptions🇬🇧

Facemasks are now 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. 

France has eased its lockdown and is trying to get the tourists in again.

Eurostar is running one train per day between London and Brussels and up to two per day between London and Paris. 

As borders have reopened, the romantic getaway or or the brie run are on the menu again - except that when you return to England, you have to self-isolate for 14 days.

On returning to England, you need to have the following form filled out and submitted.

Click here for Eurostar's corona page and timetable.

Since 8th June, on arrival in the UK you have to go into quarantine for two weeks - irrespective of where you have arrived from and how. 

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 July. 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

Thalys is increasing frequency. From 9th June there are:

  • Two daily services form Amsterdam to Paris Nord via Brussels-Midi (except Sunday, when there is only one service.

Around the 12th of July Thalys is expected to step up its services further.

IC Brussel has returned to its normal schedule between Amsterdam and Brussels.

ICEs to Germany are all running to their normal schedule again. 

The Intercity to Berlin has been running to schedule since 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

All trains are running again. Only essential travel is advised, though it is not policed. Here's what you need to know

  • Breaking: Bicycles allowed again at off-peak times
  • All seats are usable by passengers from 1st July
  • Touch as little as possible
  • Avoid crowds and the rush hour.
  • You need to wear your mondkapje.

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

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 July. Outlook: improving

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Belgium - coronavirus train disruptions

🇧🇪

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

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

  • There are five daily Thalys services to Paris. If travelling to France, be sure to have this form with you.
  • ICEs to Germany are running to schedule.
  • IC Brussel is running to schedule
  • ICs from Tournai to Lille Flandres are mostly running
  • Hourly trains between Athus and Luxembourg
  • The Nightjet to Vienna is suspended.

National Services

National services are back to normal.

Here is SNCB/NMBS's corona page.

The Belgian state is financing 12 free trips on SNCB within Belgium for Belgian residents. If you live in Belgium, you have 6 months in which you can take 2 free trips per month - 12 altogether. Nice.

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 July. 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
  • Italy
  • Spain
Closed

France has completely left lockdown. Train travel is encouraged again. No forms are needed anymore.

International Services

  • Some TGV and ICE services from Paris to Germany have resumed, but are not fully restored yet.
  • There is now one train each from Paris to Basle and Geneva
  • There is at least one, sometimes up to three Eurostars to London
  • Here is the link to Eurostar's update
  • The Thalys goes to Brussels five times a day, and to Amsterdam twice a day.
  • Here is the link to Thalys's timetable updates.
  • The Paris-Moscow and Nice-Moscow trains remain cancelled.
  • The Thello to Venice is cancelled at least until the 31st of July.
  • Services to Spain expected to restart 1st July.

National Services

Trains are running again and can be filled up to 100%.

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 up until 31st August 2020.

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 July. Outlook: improving.

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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. These restrictions are in place till 30th June. After that, load is to be increased, allowing, say, families to book and travel together. 

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 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 July. 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

  • Some night trains are cancelled. The ones between Trondheim and Bodø and between Oslo and Trondheim are running
  • Some daytime domestic services are still affected by cancellations or closures
  • Here is Vy's coronavirus page.
  • And here is another useful Norway page: www.entur.no

Limited services on all long distance lines. 

Refund policies

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

Updated: 1st July. 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
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  • 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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