Coronavirus Train Travel – 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

Almost all Western European trains are back to normal. The Russian Railways services from Moscow to Paris and Nice remain suspended. In Most countries you have to wear a mask on the trains.

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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
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
Closed

Britain is in lockdown. Since 5th of November much is closed again, and this is likely to affect train services.

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 train from London to Paris, leaving St. Pancras at 10:24.
  • There is one daily train from London to Brussels and Amsterdam, leaving St. Pancras at 08:04.


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

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

If you travel to Belgium, you need to fill out the Belgian passenger locator form.

Returning to England from France, Belgium or the Netherlands, you have to self-isolate for 14 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.

  • Open access operators Hull Trains and Grand Central are suspended until at least 2nd December.
  • Avanti West Coast is cutting one third of its services
  • Most other operators are running to reduced schedules.
  • Here is that list in full


Updated: 25th November. Outlook: stable

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 has 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.

There is one daily Eurostar to London.

Local cross border services

All local cross border services are running.

National Services

My faithful reader Gerben wrote in to say that certain peak-hour Intercitys and Sprinter services have been cancelled, as have the late-night trains for party-goers. Here is the complete list: You are advised to

  • Avoid crowds and the rush hour.
  • wear your mondkapje.

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

Updated: 25th November. Outlook: getting worse

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Belgium - coronavirus train travel

🇧🇪

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

Belgium border situation

Open
  • Great Britain
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany

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 from Brussels to London. It goes at 19:05.

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 from 8th November.

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: 25th November 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
  • Great Britain
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Italy
  • Spain
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, departing at 15:13 from Gâre du Nord.
  • 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

Trains are being cancelled again.

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.

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 4th January 2021

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: 25th November. Outlook: getting worse. Fine for not wearing a mask: €135 for first-time offenders.

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Sweden - coronavirus train travel

🇸🇪

No face masks necessary. 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

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: 25th November. Outlook: stable

Norway 🇳🇴

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

Norway safe list

Norway has a draconian safe list. Here it is in full

If you come from a red area it is 10 days quarantine for you.

Safer
Riskier
  • 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: 25th November. 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

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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