Coronavirus Train Disruptions – Southern Europe

By Edward | Coronavirus

May 21
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Coronavirus Train Disruptions - Southern Europe

In Southern Europe the coronavirus train disruptions have been mixed. Italy and Spain have had a catastrophic time, while the likes of Greece and Bulgaria have got off lightly - mainly because they had more time to react.

In Italy and Spain the railways have barely been running, while in Bulgaria, say, very few trains had to be cancelled.

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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 is in starting to ease its lockdown. Travel remains severely restricted. You are only allowed to travel with a sound reason which you have to have in writing when the police stop you. This is the form you have to have with you. 

International Services

International services are mostly running

  • Swiss local trains reach Domodossola. 
  • Thello services to Nice and Marseille are running
  • TILO regional services between Ticino and Lombardy are running
  • Services from Vienna to Bolzano restarted
  • Nightjets restarted at the end of June
  • Eurocity services from Milan to Switzerland running again
  • The Thello night train from Venice to Paris remains cancelled.

National Services

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

From what I can tell, all services are back to normal.

Italo also seems to be back to normal.

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: 1st July. Outlook: Improving

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 resuming, at last.

Services between Portugal and Spain remain suspended.

National Services

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

Refund policies

All tickets for travel from the 24th of May to the 31st of August have been automatically cancelled and the money automatically 100 % reimbursed. 

Updated: 1st July. Outlook: stable

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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 restored.

Alfa Pendular and Intercity services are still vastly reduced.

Here is CP's coronavirus page.

Refund policies

Refund policies are as usual.

Updated: 1st July. Outlook: improving

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
Closed
  • North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • 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

All international services are suspended. Services from Sofia to Belgrade are expected to resume on 1st July, services from Sofia to Bucharest on the 6th of July.

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: 1st July. 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. I'm watching closely to see if the Belgrade-Thessaloniki service starts this year.

National Services

National services are still running at a reduced level. Here is the link to Trainose's coronavirus page (Greek). It is a list of the only trains that are running, while all others are cancelled. 

Recent press releases suggest more trains are beginning to run. The axis of Athens-Thessaloniki has been restarted.

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: 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
  • 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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