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 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

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      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.

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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.

        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.

          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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