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

    Closed

    • Austria
    • Slovenia
    • France

    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

    All international services remain suspended.

    • Swiss local trains reach Domodossola. 
    • Thello services from Milan to Nice and back are expected to resume 4th June.

    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.

    LeFrecce: services ever resuming. Here is the link to that timetable, in force till June 2nd.

    In major cities ONLY the main station is served: Milano Centrale, Roma Termini, Napoli Centrale and Torino Porta Nuova.

    Italo: severely reduced service. Here it is.

    Intercitys: still low service level, but improving. Here is the link to that timetable, valid till 2nd June.

    In major cities ONLY the main station is served: Milano Centrale, Roma Termini, Napoli Centrale and Torino Porta Nuova.

    Local services: getting better again. 50% of normal services running. Here is the link for all timetables of all regions.

    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: 26th May. 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

    Closed

    • Portugal
    • France

    Face masks (mascarillas) are mandatory in all Spanish trains. Social distancing distance is 2 m. 

    Spain is in beginning to ease its lockdown. The state of emergency is in place until the 7th of June. You are only allowed out with a sound reason which you have to have in writing when the police stop you.

    International Services

    I can't find any services between France and Spain. Services between Portugal and Spain are suspended. 

    National Services

    Long- and medium distance train services are still reduced by 70%. Only 1/3 of seats on each train are sold, so as to enable people to keep at distance.

    From 1st June to 7th June only 50% of seats on any long- and mid distance train will be sold. Furthermore:

    • You are only allowed into the boarding area 1 hour before departure
    • The train is closed for boarding 5 minutes before departure.

    The start of RENFE's Avlo service remains postponed.

    Here is the link to RENFE's corona page

    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: 26th May. 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: 26th May. 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

      Closed

      • Serbia
      • North Macedonia
      • Romania
      • Greece
      • Turkey

      Bulgaria has closed schools and parks and discourages all but essential travel. Its borders are closed to foreigners until further notice.

      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.

      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: 26th May. 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: 26th May. 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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