Pages tagged:
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

European Rail News & Notes
News
published on 22 May 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Reggio di Calabria has already had its taste of Frecce trains, but only the lesser grades – Frecciargento (FA) and Frecciabianca (FB) rather than the posh Frecciarossa. But that's about to change in June 2020 when the first Frecciarossa will make its way from Turin to Italy's far south.
News
published on 8 May 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
As France tentatively relaxes its Coronavirus restrictions, a process known as déconfinement, more train services are being introduced from Monday 11 May 2020. On some regional rail routes, intending passengers will need to secure a boarding card (coupon d'accès) prior to travel.
History
published on 6 May 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Macron's demand that Air France trim French domestic air services ups the game for rail operator SNCF. The move set us thinking about which French president of the last 100 years has been the most ardent supporter of rail travel.
News
published on 20 April 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It's going to take a long time for Europe's long-distance international train services to get back to normal, but many local trains across frontiers are already running again.
News
published on 16 April 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There are plans that a new company station will open close to Berlin called Dahlewitz Rolls-Royce granting access to the Rolls-Royce Aerospace plant for the company's employees. That good news prompts us to look at the fate of earlier company railway stations in France and Britain.
Opinion
published on 29 March 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Perhaps a future generation of travellers will look back at the international rail timetables for early April 2020, barely able to believe that Europe could have become so fragmented. But will they even be able to find out what the timetables were? In this digital age, we do just wonder whether scholars a century hence will be able to find copies of the railway timetables which were applicable in this difficult period.
History
published on 23 March 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Looking through our bookshelves recently, we stumbled upon our copy of the Great Western Railway (GWR) timetable for the early months of 1902. Being largely confined to indoor activities these days, we took the opportunity to touch base with railway services of yesteryear.
Practical Info
published on 20 March 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We take a look at Europe's fragmenting network of international rail links as passengers stay at home during the Coronavirus pandemic. Rail operators in western Europe have responded a little more slowly to the growing threat than those further east.
Practical Info
published on 19 March 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
In recent months, we have twice travelled from St Gallen to Lucerne on a Swiss PE train. The latter is the abbreviation for ‘Panorama Express’. It is only since December last year that this route gained PE status. But what’s behind that designation?
News
published on 9 February 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There’s much ado with cross-border train services in Europe these days. Apart from the well-documented revival of interest in night trains, there are also developments with daytime trains. We look at some of the latter in this post.
Notes
published on 17 January 2020
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Brendan Fox’s contribution to the European Rail Timetable extends over four decades. He was appointed Assistant Editor in 1982, moving up to Editor in 1985. He has now retired - for the second time in fact. Here's our tribute to Brendan.
News
published on 6 October 2019
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
As throughout Europe, new train timetables for Germany kick in with the annual timetable change in December each year. This year the new schedules start on 15 December. Here’s a rundown of some of the key changes which we are expecting in and around Germany.
News
published on 4 October 2019
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
High-speed trains between France and Switzerland are these days run entirely by Lyria. The operator introduces new timetables from Sunday 15 December 2019. Not everyone is happy with the proposed changes. We summarise the most important changes.
News
published on 15 September 2019
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Direct from the Alps to the Gulf of Taranto: 16 September 2019 sees the launch of a new and extraordinarily long Frecciargento route linking Italy’s Alto Adige (or South Tyrol) province with Calabria. Trenitalia extends an existing Frecciargento service from Bolzano to Rome to Sibari.
Practical Info
published on 13 September 2019
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A country-by-country guide to rail pass supplements and seat reservation fees for daytime domestic rail jourrneys within European countries prepared by the authors of Europe by Rail, Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries, in September 2019.
News
published on 3 December 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
As elsewhere across Europe, new train timetables are introduced in Italy next Sunday. In this post for European Rail News, we look at the country's expanding Frecciarossa network.
News
published on 30 November 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Here’s a summary of a few of the changes to train services in the United Kingdom and Ireland which will be introduced with the timetable changes in December 2018.
News
published on 4 November 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Austria generally enjoys a fine range of international links, and with new rail timetables starting across Europe on 9 December 2018, there are further improvements on journeys to, from and through Austria.
News
published on 31 October 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The new railway timetables that come into effect on Sunday 9 December 2018 could well bring significant improvements in international rail services in both the Belgian area of Wallonie and Poland's Silesia region. In this European Rail News, we sum up the changes.
News
published on 28 September 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Today sees the launch of a remarkable new train service linking four European capitals. Early this afternoon, Ukrainian Railways Train 013K departed from Kiev for Riga. This is the first direct train from Ukraine to Latvia for a decade.
News
published on 3 February 2018
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Italian rail operator Trenitalia is busy finalising details with its Slovenian partner for a new direct train service linking Ljubljana to Trieste which is most likely to start on 9 June 2018.
Practical Info
published on 22 November 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It is easy to explore the Czech Republic by train. The country is well served by a dense network of rural railway lines, and there are some excellent ticket deals that should not go unnoticed.
News
published on 11 November 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A new timetable comes into effect on 20 November that changes the frequency of Thello Eurocity services on the route from Marseille via Nice to Milan. Read on for further details.
Practical Info
published on 6 November 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We take a look at some changes on the Moscow to Paris and Nice services run by Russian Railways that come into effect in mid-December 2017.
Practical Info
published on 4 November 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Next month sees new railway timetables starting in many European countries. We review what Berliners can expect when those new 2018 schedules come into effect on Sunday 10 December 2017. The highlight is a new fast link from Berlin to Munich, knocking two hours off the current journey time.
Practical Info
published on 19 August 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The main line south from Karlsruhe up the Rhine Valley towards Switzerland is closed due to track damage. Here we explain which train services are affected and suggest alternative routings.
News
published on 28 June 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
While major revamps of European rail timetables normally take place in mid-December each year, there are also mid-year revisions of schedules. We look at some new travel opportunities for summer 2017.
Practical Info
published on 3 June 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Did you know that Interrail or Eurail one-country passes can sometimes be used to travel across the border into neighbouring countries? So a Swedish pass can be used for travel to Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin and even on a bus route into Finland.
Practical Info
published on 1 June 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There is just one railway which cuts through Liechtenstein. It is used by the fast trains from Zürich to Vienna. Due to engineering work that line through Liechtenstein is closed for the entire month of June 2017.
News
published on 26 May 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Eurostar's posh new lounge for premium passengers at the Gare du Nord is a canny piece of design, a home away from home in the very heart of Paris. It's a good place to spend an hour or two before hopping on the Eurostar train to London.
News
published on 17 May 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It has been a while since Austrian railway carriages were last seen in Trieste. But the former Habsburg port may well secure a direct rail link with Austria in summer 2018.
Opinion
published on 16 May 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The surveys of passenger numbers which underpinned Richard Beeching’s 1963 report on the future of Britain’s railways were conducted in the last week of April 1961. So it is interesting to look at the pattern of train services which prevailed at that time.
Practical Info
published on 24 April 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It is always a nice surprise to discover convenient connections which are not at all promoted. Last summer it was possible to travel without the hassle of changing trains from Hamburg to Podgorica or from Berlin to Bar. So how is this possible, given that no train to Montenegro ever features on the departure boards at Hamburg?
Practical Info
published on 25 January 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The old signal box at the Gare de Lyon is no longer fit for purpose and a new signalling centre at Vigneux-sur-Seine is now ready to take over its duties. To this end, the main part of the Gare de Lyon will be closed to both arriving and departing trains on Saturday 18 March and Sunday 19 March.
Practical Info
published on 17 January 2017
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Austria’s Einfach-Raus-Ticket is a great deal for couples or small groups keen to explore Austria by train for a day. We check out the details of this flexible rover ticket.
News
published on 4 December 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
New rail timetables debut across Europe on 11 December 2016. Dozens of commentators have remarked on how the new schedules affect train services in western and central Europe. But hardly anything has appeared in English on what the new timetables herald for Russia.
News
published on 2 December 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Much has been made in mainstream media of the decision by Deutsche Bahn (DB) to withdraw from the premium end of the night train market. Yet it's important to remember that the great majority of Europe's night trains are unaffected by DB's decision to axe its entire CNL division.
News
published on 21 November 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The 14th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers was published in June 2016. Five months on, the book has already been reprinted once. So it’s selling well and it’s certainly pulled some good reviews.
Practical Info
published on 28 September 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Is there a nautical equivalent of the track basher? Are there ferry enthusiasts who book to travel on unusual ferry routes? September has been a good month for collectors of unusual ferry routes in the Hebrides – though unseasonal stormy weather has also made it a trying month for both CalMac and their passengers.
News
published on 26 August 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We have news of the reopening of a second international rail route from Bialystok. From 4 September 2016, the Polish city will have a once-daily direct train service to and from Hrodna in Belarus.
News
published on 7 June 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
This spring has seen the launch of three new local train services from Berlin to western Poland. All three services leave from Lichtenberg station in the eastern suburbs of the German capital. Let's take a closer look at these new links.
News
published on 5 June 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Austrian operator ÖBB and NTV Italo will run train services to Rimini on Italy’s Adriatic coast during the summer 2016 season. ÖBB will extend its Munich to Bologna service and Italo trains will speed to Rimini from Milan.
News
published on 16 May 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A brand new edition of our Europe by Rail book is published in June 2016. Never before in the long history of this title has there been such a profound revamp of the content.
News
published on 12 March 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Significant train timetable changes in eastern France and parts of Luxembourg come into effect on Sunday 3 April 2016. The new schedules are the result of a project called Cadencement du réseau TER-Métrolor which has been in preparation for a couple of years.
News
published on 2 March 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Two new train services from Brussels to France will commence operation next month. And they are as different as chalk and cheese. Here’s the gen on a new fast link to Strasbourg and a slow train to Paris.
News
published on 26 January 2016
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Looking at the spring 2016 train timetables, we notice that in April 2016 Eurostar is cutting out the intermediate stop at Lyon Part Dieu on some journeys between London and the south of France.
News
published on 12 December 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
This weekend sees substantial changes to regional train services in Berlin and more widely across eastern Germany. Here’s a run-down of the principal changes to train services which come into effect on Sunday 13 December 2016.
News
published on 12 November 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Issue 47 of hidden europe magazine which is published today has its fair share of rail journeys. We look at train number 562 which runs once each day from Simferopol to Moscow and see what's changing at Vienna Westbahnhof. And there is much more besides.
Practical Info
published on 4 November 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Many travellers today are keen to book trips a long time in advance. And, if train travel is to compete with planes, then long booking horizons are essential. We look at international TGV services which allow customers to book their tickets four months in advance.
News
published on 2 November 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Deutsche Bahn now runs an overnight bus service from eastern Slavonia (in Croatia) and Zagreb to southern Germany. Border controls on the Austrian-German frontier mean that no long-distance trains are running from Salzburg into Bavaria. So, with no overnight train from Zagreb to Munich, DB is nudging travellers onto the bus instead.
News
published on 21 September 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
An announcement by German media regarding the arrival of Polish trains in Görlitz station gave hope that the erstwhile cross-border rail connection over the Neisse viaduct will be reopened in September 2015. It turns out this is not the case.
News
published on 20 September 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
December 2015 sees major alterations to rail services in Austria. This is the second year in succession where the spotlight of change has been on Vienna.
News
published on 19 September 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The coming couple of years will see the opening of several new stretches of high-speed railway in Europe. Here’s a look at what’s in store for rail travellers in France and Germany.
News
published on 18 September 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
For many years, Thalys trains never crossed the River Rhine. Trains from Paris all terminated at Cologne Hauptbahnhof on the west bank of the river. But from December 2015 Thalys will extend its network to Dortmund.
News
published on 25 August 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The dominant rail operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), has found itself facing significant competition from new entrants to the long-distance coach market in Germany. Now comes the news that DB has taken over long-standing coach operator Berlin Linien Bus.
Practical Info
published on 20 July 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The roam-at-will rail tickets available in each of Germany’s 16 states are called Ländertickets. Find out where they are valid and how they can be used.
Practical Info
published on 18 July 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Badly behaved Brits on the winter-season direct overnight ski trains between London and the French Alps have prompted Eurostar to rethink its policy on the consumption of alcohol.
News
published on 24 June 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
SNCF has today announced that the proposed reopening next month of two branch railways in western France has been postponed: that from Nantes to the coastal communities of Pornic and St Gilles Croix de Vie.
Practical Info
published on 7 June 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Travel for just €29 from London to Salzburg! Yes, it really is possible to buy a ticket from Deutsche Bahn which will take you from London to Austria for €29. The itinerary takes in six countries: England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
Practical Info
published on 1 June 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Want to find out about what’s new in Europe’s summer rail schedules? Then just head for the June issue of the European Rail Timetable which is published this week. And for those who want some additional material, the summer 2015 seasonal edition is published this week too.
Practical Info
published on 22 May 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Eurostar’s new direct year-round train from London to the Mediterranean has an en-route stop at Lyon. This coming winter that Lyon stop may prove to be a favourite connecting point for travellers bound for the French Alps - and make even offer an advantage over the regular Eurostar ski trains to the Tarentaise Valley.
News
published on 8 May 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Revised rail timetables come into effect in Britain later this month with many train operators launching their summer schedules on Sunday 17 May 2015. Here’s a run-down of some the main features of the new timetables in north-west England.
Practical Info
published on 25 April 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Deutsche Bahn (DB) has a very attractive rover offer for this summer. At some time over the weeks ahead, DB will announce details of its 2015 Deutschland-Pass. This is a rail pass which allows unlimited rail travel for one month across Germany.
Practical Info
published on 24 April 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Summer timetables come into effect this weekend on the narrow-gauge railways of the Harz Mountains in northern Germany. This is one of Europe’s most appealing narrow-gauge networks, and the regular use of stream traction is a big pull for rail enthusiasts.
Practical Info
published on 16 April 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Sometimes a temporary alteration in timetables can have repercussions on travel itineraries across a wide area. And that’s just what will happen this summer when engineering work between Aachen and Cologne will mean extended travel times on journeys crossing the Belgian-German border at Aachen.
News
published on 15 April 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
In many European countries the opening of even a modest new stretch of high-speed railway line is cause for great celebration. But in Spain they do things differently. Here high-speed lines are often opened without great fanfare.
Practical Info
published on 7 April 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Another European night train has slipped from the schedules this week with the withdrawal of the Madrid to Barcelona overnight service. This was the sole remaining overnight service in the train category known as Estrella.
News
published on 26 March 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It looks like all change at Thalys as the international rail operator trims its network. Thalys presently serves ten stations in Belgium. With next week’s cuts, that number drops to just four.
Practical Info
published on 25 March 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We look at the revised timings of Russian Railways' Paris-Berlin-Moscow service which will from mid-June 2015 depart Paris Gare d'Est station at 20.05, creating a new overnight option between Paris and Berlin.
Practical Info
published on 26 January 2015
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
With an Expo theme that foregrounds environmental choices (Feed the planet, energy for life’) the organisers of Expo 2015 are keen that visitors to the World Fair leave their cars at home and travel by train to Milan for the event. So much so, that Expo 2015 looks set to break all records when its comes to the sheer number of visitors arriving directly at the exhibition site by long-distance train.
Journeys
published on 14 November 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Each issue of the new European Rail Timetable contains a Route of the Month. These are texts, which highlight the particular appeal of one selected European rail route.
History
published on 8 November 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The spotlight this weekend in European media is very much on a country that slipped quietly into political history: the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Whatever your view of the DDR, you have to admit they knew how to run a railway. We'll take a closer look at the country's overnight train services.
News
published on 17 October 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Russia today announced the suspension of all direct rail services via Ukraine to the Balkan region. This affects direct trains from Moscow to Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia.
News
published on 15 October 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The airport station at Vienna (called Flughafen Wien) will be linked into Europe’s long-distance rail network from 14 December 2014. With the December timetable changes, it will become the eastern end point for ICE trains from Germany to Vienna.
published on 13 October 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
With new European rail schedules coming into effect on Sunday 14 December, here’s a summary of some key changes in the new timetables.
News
published on 25 September 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
In the two or three months prior to the annual revamp of European rail timetables, there is inevitably speculation and angst about how the new timetables might impact on travel plans. We have a glimpse at the travel opportunities introduced by the new Eurostar services for travellers leaving from London St Pancras.
News
published on 13 September 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Britain has a reputation for overcrowded trains, which is in some measure due to the enduring popularity of rail travel in England, Wales and Scotland. Over the last nine years passenger journeys by rail in Great Britain have more than doubled. In 2013, over 1.6 billion journeys were made by train.
published on 12 September 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Spanish rail operator RENFE plans to reclassify the sole remaining Arco service as an Intercity train from Monday 29 September 2014. This last Arco train is the Camino de Santiago which each morning leaves Irun for the long journey to A Coruna — serving Santiago de Compostela along the way.
News
published on 12 August 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Yesterday’s ‘Letter from Europe’ reports on the decision to axe the night train from Switzerland to Denmark. It is, sadly, part of a wider trend. A raft of European night trains looks set to be cut. Deutsche Bahn’s City Night Line (CNL) network is being severely pruned.
History
published on 6 August 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
If you are like us and five-star hotels are not quite your style, then it may have escaped your attention that a number of Europe’s most celebrated and expensive hotels were quietly rebranded this past spring. They have lost the Orient Express branding.
News
published on 4 August 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Local train services across the border between Germany and Poland have often been patchy. So it’s very good news that the local train service between Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and Poznan is being restored from later this week.
Practical Info
published on 2 August 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There is a new promotional fare of 13 euros valid on selected regional rail routes radiating out from the eastern German city of Halle. The €13 ticket is a piolot project that runs at first until the end of October.
Practical Info
published on 1 August 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We are often asked 'how long in advance can I book my rail ticket'? In many parts of western Europe, rail companies release tickets for sale about three months in advance of the date of travel. But there are exceptions. So here we take a closer look.
Opinion
published on 31 July 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
With rail operators now entering the bus business, let’s take a look at how long-distance coach travel stacks up against the train on a key route in Germany.
News
published on 18 March 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
An interesting new rail service starts in Germany next month when DB Regio launches a direct Berlin to Hamburg link. There are of course already plenty of trains between Germany’s two largest cities. But this new addition is interesting in a number of ways.
News
published on 16 March 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Here in Berlin there is a real sense of spring in the air, and we are well aware that travellers’ thoughts are turning to summer journeys. It’ll be no surprise that we tend to favour the train for most of our trips across Europe. So, for those of our readers who have not spent the long winter nights tracking changes in train timetables, here’s a run-down on headline changes over recent months.
Practical Info
published on 11 March 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The taxis in Warsaw have been doing a roaring trade this week, transferring frazzled passengers from Centralna station up to Gdanska station in the north of the city. A festival of engineering work on the main east-west rail route through the heart of Warsaw means big changes for a few weeks in rail services to, from and through the Polish capital.
News
published on 10 March 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The direct rail service from Paris to Moscow is run by Russian Railways (RZD) using their sleek modern sleeping cars. It is, we think, one of Europe’s most interesting trains — and, for those who want to splash out on the top-of-the-range luxury sleepers, one of the most comfortable train journeys in Europe.
News
published on 9 March 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
This weekend sees the restoration of the direct train service from the French Riviera to the Russian capital. The direct Russian train to Nice had to be suspended in January, following a catastrophic landslide which closed part of the coastal rail route that runs west from Genoa to the French border.
published on 18 January 2014
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It was sixty years ago this week that a direct passenger rail service between Moscow and Beijing was introduced. The very first train to ply the route left Moscow on 16 January 1954, running via the classic Trans-Siberian route to Chita, then turning south to cross into China at Manzhouli and on through Harbin to Beijing.
published on 1 November 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It was four months ago today that we published a press release from Thomas Cook announcing the demise of the company’s publishing division — a blow to travel publishing and particularly to travellers who valued the company’s European Rail Timetable. So it is with a big smile that we can today formally announce that a new company has been created to continue publishing the timetable. Read the full text of the press release in European Rail News.
News
published on 29 September 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A new rail connection between Russia and the Adriatic coast will start in 2014. There will be a seasonal direct service from Moscow to Koper (on the coast of Slovenia).
News
published on 26 August 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
SNCF quietly expanded its TGV network today with the introduction of a seventh cross-border TGV service from France to Germany. The new service connects the university city of Freiburg im Breisgau in south-west Germany with Paris.
published on 18 August 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Is Elipsos nearing the end of the line? In late 2012, The Spanish rail operator cut its routes to Italy and Switzerland. What remains are two night train routes: from Barcelona and Madrid to Paris. And with upcoming competition from fast TGV daytime services from Paris to Barcelona, we wonder if Elipsos' days are numbered.
Practical Info
published on 5 August 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
When British Railways introduced the Inter-City brand in 1966, no-one could possibly have anticipated how the idea would be emulated and adapted by railway administrations across Europe. Today, the term Inter-City (or IC) is used for a variety of train services – we take a closer look at the Inter-City brand across Europe.
published on 21 July 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
European Rail News reported last month on the revised train timetables in operation following the Elbe flooding in early June. Europe’s main east-west rail route was severed by those floods, necessitating the diversion of all trains running west from Berlin towards Hanover and beyond. The current interim timetable will be extended until next Sunday, then from Monday 29 July a new schedule will be introduced, the gist of which we present here.
published on 1 July 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Following intense speculation on social media late last week, Thomas Cook have today made a statement about their publishing arm, which is set to close this summer. Read the full text of the press release in European Rail News.
published on 30 June 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We are saddened to report that Thomas Cook is withdrawing from the UK travel timetable and guidebook market. The August 2013 European Rail Timetable (ERT) will be the last published by Thomas Cook. But a small team, led by the current compilers of the ERT, is creating a new company to continue publication of the timetable.
published on 21 June 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Flooding in and around the Elbe Valley earlier this month led to wholesale cancellations of train services to the west and south-west of Berlin. The main railway line running west from Berlin was cut by flooding on 9 June and will take many weeks to restore. Here are some key points to note in the interim timetable introduced by the Deutsche Bahn.
published on 10 June 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The Spanish railway authorities today announced that the new high-speed route from Alicante to Albacete will open next week. We look ahead what this will mean for both travel times and the existing rail route.
published on 24 March 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Long before anyone had even heard of Eurostar, the British Rail Board (BRB) published a series of indicative timetables for a possible Channel Tunnel rail service linking London with Paris. We reproduce here what we believe is the first iteration of that timetable, released 40 years ago in 1973.
published on 28 February 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Thomas Cook Publishing this week marks 140 years of the European Rail Timetable. It was in March 1873 that the company launched the first such timetable. Titles and designs have changed over the years, as indeed do train times, but the simple concept enshrined in the book has remained essentially the same over 140 years of publishing history.
published on 1 February 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The Belgian Railway authorities this afternoon announced the return of old-style InterCity services from Brussels to stations in the Netherlands. This is to provide some kind of replacement for the short-lived FYRA service, introduced in December 2012 and then withdrawn last month.
published on 28 January 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Amsterdam certainly pulls the crowds and for travellers using InterRail (and Eurail passes) a stop in Amsterdam has become almost a rite of passage. For young travellers from Britain in particular, Amsterdam ranks as an almost compulsory early stop on any round-Europe rail tour. We suggest here an onward journey from Amsterdam south towards Cologne that offers a chance to see the rural landscapes of the Netherlands and nearby parts of Germany.
published on 27 January 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
If you are bound for Amsterdam from London or Paris and are travelling just for fun, might we suggest an alternative to the fast Thalys connection? Make for Lille and then follow our rural itinerary on through Belgian Flanders and Dutch Zeeland. This route takes in lowland landscapes that inspired Flemish and Dutch artists.
published on 26 January 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Cast back to last year, and Brits wanting to travel by train to the Netherlands just opted for the cheapest and most obvious route. Eurostar (and plenty of agents besides) sold an Any Dutch Station (ADS) ticket. It cost little more than a regular Eurostar ticket to Brussels, and allowed customers to connect in the Belgian capital with onward trains to the Netherlands. Unfortunately, that ADS ticket is no longer for sale.
published on 17 January 2013
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Cast back fifty years and St Pancras station in London had plenty of trains to stir the imagination. The Palatine still ran from St Pancras to Miller’s Dale and The Waverley to Hawick. But during the 1980s and 1990s, St Pancras was a dull place for devotees of interesting trains. It’s hard to get excited about the slow train to Luton or the semi-fast to Leicester. This most august of London termini fell into deep decline.
published on 28 December 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Sattuma is a popular folk band from Petrozavodsk in Russian Karelia. The group includes, as a standard part of its repertoire, a song about the express train from Petrozavodsk to Joensuu in Finland. Great song, but no regular train plies the route described in the lyrics. Sattuma’s song about the train from Petrozavodsk to Joensuu has been wishful thinking - until this week.
published on 24 December 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Here is a thought to ponder as you make those final preparations for Christmas. In Berlin extra trains will run tonight on the city’s rail networks. Switch to London, and the rail network is today beginning to shut down. No trains will run anywhere in Britain on Christmas Day — and all but a handful of routes (in and around London and Glasgow) will be train-less on 26 December.
published on 11 December 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Last weekend, a raft of changes was introduced to train services from Moscow to France, the Netherlands and elsewhere in western Europe. The December 2012 issue of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable gives full details of all these changes. We here pick up some key changes to train 21JA from Moscow.
published on 11 December 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
For many years, Venice enjoyed a direct Moscow train service, but it was unhappily axed last December — a victim of the demise of the nightly Budapest to Venice service which carried the through carriages from Moscow. But the Moscow to Venice itinerary could well return, a result of the re-routing of the existing Moscow to Nice train, which now follows a quite different route from Vienna to Verona.
published on 29 November 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The new rail timetables that start in Britain on 9 December 2012 bring much improved services on the East Suffolk Line from Lowestoft to Ipswich and a big expansion of the London Overground network. But we think the most significant innovation to long-distance services in Britain in the new schedules comes in the competitive London to West Midlands market — evidence, perhaps, that a little competition on the rails can be very good for the consumer. Not for the first time, it is Chiltern Railways who are making the running.
published on 23 November 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Croatia is a country with relatively low levels of car ownership (at least compared with many European countries), and a decent rail network. The country is gearing up to join the European Union (EU) next year, and the EU is pressing Croatia to implement structural reforms in inefficient state-owned industries. And running trains on that network might be deemed a worthwhile public service. But Croatia has deferred so totally to the economic pieties dictated by the IMF and the EU that it is now scrapping many train services.
published on 23 October 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There are major changes to report on night trains to and from Portugal. There have been rumours throughout this year about the poor loadings on the two international overnight trains to Lisbon. These trains are the Lusitania (Madrid to Lisbon) and the Sud Expresso or Surex (Irun to Lisbon). We had been fully expecting a new timetable from 9 December, when many European rail operators introduce new schedules, but now we see that a major recasting of these two services was introduced this month.
published on 26 September 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Across much of western and central Europe, new train timetables kick in on Sunday 9 December 2012. This is a once-a-year event when public transport schedules are revised. Coordinating international rail schedules is a tricky business and until such time as all the various operators have loaded the relevant schedules into their databases the trains cannot be booked. Read on to get an idea about when tickets might be bookable for the Christmas and New Year period - and beyond.
published on 19 September 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Recent reports by travellers following Route 40 in Europe by Rail highlight temporary changes to rail services on one of the principal routes linking Hungary with Romania. The upcoming October 2012 edition of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable highlights the full impact of these changes, which look set to continue until 18 October.
published on 12 September 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The direct rail service from Kyiv to Berlin is due to be axed at the end of this month. The final departure from Kyiv will be on Sunday 30 September, and the last return run from Berlin will leave Zoo station in the German capital at 21.35 the following evening. The Kashtan has been a staple of European schedules for many years and its withdrawal will sever the last remaining direct rail link between Ukraine and Germany.
published on 19 July 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Weaving words for European Rail News is an engaging sideline for us. We do much else besides, including looking after and publishing hidden europe magazine. A new issue of hidden europe appeared just this week. It is all about journeys and places, mainly offbeat ones.
published on 17 July 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
In European Rail News yesterday, we highlighted something of the history of InterRail and it drew a number of comments from readers who e-mailed us. "Surely InterRail was so much better in the past, before the days when railway companies started levying supplements for pass holders," is a comment that captures the general tenor of the replies.
published on 16 July 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Anniversaries are worth celebrating. And this summer marks the fortieth birthday of InterRail. Yes, it was way back in 1972 that Europe's national rail operators launched a scheme to tempt young Europeans to explore their home continent.
published on 15 July 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Arenaways is a newish Italian rail operator. The company launched passenger services in autumn 2010, running from Milan to Turin in competition with Trenitalia. Last week Arenaways was due to start overnight services in Italy, running from Turin to both Apulia and Calabria (and vice versa).
published on 14 July 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Mid-morning today, a train arrived at Thessaloniki station from Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia. Nothing of great note, you might suggest. But actually this is the first scheduled international passenger train to arrive in Greece since early last year. In 2011, the Greek government — as part of its financial austerity programme — cut all train services across the country's international borders.
published on 27 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Damage to a bridge in Amsterdam is affecting many rail services to and from the Dutch city. The situation is fluid and travellers are advised to check the current situation before travelling. Night trains to and from Amsterdam are the most seriously affected.
published on 22 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A new rail link is launched today, connecting the Hungarian capital with the Croatian port of Pula. It is a twice-weekly summer season service, with departures from Budapest on Tuesday and Friday evenings and with trains from Pula running back to Budapest on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The service will run until late August.
published on 20 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Cast back half a century and there would have been nothing unusual about a direct train from Edinburgh to the port of Oban on Scotland's west coast. Indeed, our 1961 Bradshaw shows three direct trains each weekday from the Scottish capital to Oban — all running along the now sadly defunct Callander route, and serving along the way stations like Kingshouse Platform (on request), Killin Junction and Luib. All names that have long disappeared from the timetables.
published on 18 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Russian Railways (RZD) this week launches new direct seasonal through carriages from Moscow to Split on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. The inaugural run left Moscow's Kiyevskaya station just after 10 pm last evening. The entire journey to Split takes 62 hours, but with an interesting interlude in Budapest along the way.
published on 15 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Spain boasts Europe's most extensive network of dedicated high-speed passenger railways, and that network is further enhanced this weekend with the opening of a further short stretch of high-speed line south of Madrid. The new link will carry the first direct AVE trains from Spain's eastern Levante region to Andalucía, so removing the need to change trains in Madrid.
published on 14 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A new local rail service from Villach in Austria over the nearby border to Udine in Italy has just been launched. Good news for local travellers in this part of the eastern Alps. The new service runs twice daily in each direction.
published on 13 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Holders of InterRail and Eurail passes have often commented to us on the high supplements payable by pass holders for travel on the premium AVE services in Spain. There has long been a slow train option from Barcelona to Madrid, but it has until now involved a change of train in Zaragoza. That changes on Sunday when Spanish operator RENFE introduce a new direct Regional Express service between Spain's two largest cities.
published on 12 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
A new train service starts today across the border between Serbia and Romania. For travellers following Route 50 in Europe by Rail, this new service provides a very useful cross-border link. Twice-daily local trains will link Vrsac in Serbia with Timisoara in neighbouring Romania.
published on 9 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Here's an interesting thought. Already this year we have had a number of readers of our Europe by Rail book comment on the hefty supplements that some railway operators charge to holders of Eurail and InterRail passes. But even on itineraries through countries where fast trains require advance seat reservations, it is often possible to devise a creative journey plan that sidesteps the trains on which you might have to pay a pass holder's supplement.
published on 6 June 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The new EuroCity train service from Berlin to Gdansk, previewed in European Rail News on 1 May 2012, started today. It is many years since the two cities have been linked by regular daytime trains. The reintroduction of the daytime link between two cities that have an intertwined history is very welcome, yet the one-way fare is ridiculously expensive.
published on 28 May 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We are sorry to note the demise of the rural Albanian rail route that until recently served the western shores of Lake Ohrid. This was truly one of Europe's great rural rides, a journey so peculiarly full of character that we had already been wondering about including a fuller mention of it in a future edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers.
published on 3 May 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The regular rail link between Tallinn and St Petersburg has been an on-off affair. Anything but regular in fact. While the overnight Tallinn to Moscow train has been a mainstay of the timetable for many years, the daytime link between the Estonian capital and St Petersburg has capricious appearances in the timetables, only then to disappear again. Too often, it has been a pawn in the less than easy relations between Russia and Estonia, with one or the other party axing the cross-border train as a reaction to some event on the other side of the border.
published on 1 May 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Europe's summer rail schedules kick in next month, though in truth the volume of changes that come with the June timetable change are very much fewer than what we expect with the main annual timetable change in December each year. One of the more interesting innovations with this year's new summer schedules is a direct train from Berlin to the Baltic port of Gdansk (still known to many German speakers as Danzig). The service continues beyond Gdansk to Gdynia, along the way serving the resort town of Sopot.
published on 20 April 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Okay, so we've been a little lax of late. We've taken quite a spell out to travel and now feel refreshed and renewed after some very memorable rail journeys around Europe. All in the interest of researching new routes for the 2013 edition of Europe by Rail. Among the memorable rail journeys that either or both of us made in March and April 2012 were trips on five named trains.
published on 14 February 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
With the opening of Berlin's glitzy new airport on 3 June this year, look for some changes to rail services in the Berlin area. A brand new station opens to serve the new airport, with the focus on local and regional links serving the Berlin and Brandenburg region. But the new airport will also host a small number of long-distance services.
published on 10 February 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Keeping up to date with changes in European ferry services could be a full-time job these days. We used P&O Ferries for a crossing from Calais to Dover last week, and very fine it was too. A lovely crossing on a crisp, clear winter day as foot passengers on the Pride of Burgundy.
published on 9 February 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable has always excelled in its coverage of France. England's nearest neighbour has long exerted a strong appeal for rail travellers (and not merely from England) and some of Thomas Cook's earliest tours were to France. Timetable editor Brendan Fox and his team have surely faced one of their biggest-ever challenges this winter as French rail operator SNCF introduced wholesale reform of their schedules.
published on 17 January 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
2012 is shaping up to be as difficult as last year for rail travellers heading south through the Balkans to Greece. In 2011, Greece put a hold on all passenger trains crossing its land borders, thus severing the popular rail route from Bulgaria to Greece that crosses the border at Kulata, which is part of Route 41 in both the 2011 and 2012 editions of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers. It now looks at though this lack of trains across Greece's borders is going to continue for some months yet.
published on 16 January 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We have already commented on the difficult situation for rail travellers bound for Greece in an earlier post. The withdrawal of all international trains across Greece's borders affects travellers following Route 43 in Europe by Rail. A pity as this is a great route from Belgrade via Skopje to Thessaloniki. But worry not! You can still follow Route 43, pretty much as described in the book.
published on 13 January 2012
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We ensure that each annual edition of Europe by Rail is bang up-to-date and correct at the moment it is sent off to the printers. But train schedules change and sometimes we are caught out. And that is what has just happened with Route 9 in the book. This route is a fabulous transect across the Iberian peninsula from Barcelona to Lisbon. At the border between Portugal and Spain you will now need to cross by bus.
published on 7 December 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Many readers of the guidebook Europe by Rail have commented on the fabulously complicated arrangements that surround Berlin's railway stations. To us, it all seems crystal clear, but then we know the city well. We offer here some guidelines that help travellers find their proper place of departure or arrival.
published on 2 December 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There is something quite exquisite about grand railway termini. Folk fly through them, the dash for the train diminishing the status of these great cathedrals to travel. But these are not places through which one should rush. An earlier generation of Londoners referred to Victoria station as the "gateway to the continent". Victoria's role has been eclipsed by St Pancras — the grandest of termini in a capital that has many fine railway stations.
published on 23 November 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We drifted slowly through wintry forests, past unkempt meadows and villages full of scrawny desolation. We crossed the River Odra four times. And four times I gazed down at the river's wine-dark waters from the train, watching the waters swirling under bridges, swirling through history. We stopped on a level crossing, inconveniencing no-one, for cars there were none. But that was a fine moment, sunshine tussling with midday mist and for once getting the upper hand.
published on 16 November 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There was a time when travellers from West Germany enjoyed a fabulous range of direct train services to the Mediterranean coast of France. Cast back forty years and a mainstay was the daily year-round Hispania Express. From 23 March 2012 there will now be a new fast daytime service linking Frankfurt-am-Main with Avignon and Marseille.
published on 13 November 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
In 2011, the Greek government — as part of its financial austerity programme — cut all train services across the country's international borders. Rail services to neighbouring Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey were all suspended. And just in case you wonder, there are no rail services anyway across the frontier between Greece and Albania.
published on 25 October 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
When is a train not a train? Take a peek at page 685 of the 2011 edition of Europe by Rail and you'll see what we mean. There are some places in Europe where a rail operator offers transport by bus rather than by train. Such bus links are fully integrated into the railway tariff system and rail passes are accepted.
published on 11 October 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
The railway platform at Tirana was as full as it ever gets. That meant all of half a dozen people waiting for the dawn train to Pogradec, among them an English gricer and a Polish twitcher. The latter had travelled across Europe to catch a glimpse of rare birds and was bound for Lake Ohrid.
published on 20 September 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Travelling across the North European Plain, a vast sweep of two-dimensional terrain that extends from Brussels to Berlin and beyond, travellers might well give thanks for whatever modest hills punctuate their journey. The Harz Mountains barely rise to more than one thousand metres, but seen from the flatlands to the north they appear mightily impressive: great, forested humpbacks that preside over the plains. The highest point is the Brocken, at 1,141 metres the loftiest elevation anywhere in northern Germany.
published on 1 September 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Boulogne has always knocked spots off Calais as a port-of-entry into France. The city has a particularly attractive Ville Haute (Upper Town). But sadly, you'll not find a lot of travellers from England visiting Boulogne nowadays. The famous port has been left proverbially high-and-dry with no ferry operators regularly serving the port.
published on 10 June 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
We sensed we were crossing into another world as the Moscow-bound train rumbled over the long bridge that spans the River Bug. The reed beds are full of wildfowl which are not troubled by the frequent trains that rattle overhead. This is the border wilderness that divides Poland from Belarus. It marks one of Europe's great divides: the Curzon Line.
published on 29 May 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
You could easily miss Elton. The train from Dublin to Cork speeds past Elton. You hardly catch a glimpse of the cluster of houses that make up this little Irish village. When the grandly titled Great Southern and Western Railway built a line through the district in 1849, they judged Knocklong, just a couple of minutes up the line from Elton, as deserving of a station. So Elton, a little smaller than Knocklong, lost out.
published on 6 May 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Are not the finest parts of many long train journeys those fleeting glimpses of a city or a country that you get just prior to arrival at your destination? There is a superb moment on the train journey through Slovakia towards Budapest, a view dominated by the huge basilica at Esztergom.
published on 4 May 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
New rail timetables for the former Soviet Union come into effect later this month. There remains some uncertainty about some services, but for travellers heading east, here are a few thoughts on what to expect: the return of the Berlin to Kaliningrad night train, a new link from Riga to Minsk, a direct daily train from Berlin to Ukraine and more.
published on 19 March 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Domodossola has sleek trains aplenty. There are great expresses that purr north through the Simplon Tunnel into Switzerland or slide south towards Milan, hugging the west side of Lago Maggiore along the way. But lovers of great scenery and unusual trains head down into the concrete zone, there in the subterranean depths of Domodossola railway station to board the little train that rattles east across the valley and climbs into the hills beyond.
published on 28 February 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Chernivtsi's distinctive green-domed railway station gives a hint of the city it serves. It is a stylish station, one that well befits what is a gem among Ukrainian cities. Of course, for many travellers Chernivtsi is merely a place to change trains. There are connections far and wide. But the most interesting train of the day from Chernivtsi is the morning train to Moldova.
published on 8 February 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
Looking back at rail journeys we made in 2010, we would say a December journey with UK operator Wrexham and Shropshire really was one of the highlights. We travelled north from London's Marylebone station on one of W&S' sleek silver and grey trains, sliding through rime-clad Chiltern countryside. So we were perturbed to find that late last month, Wrexham & Shropshire ceased operations.
published on 1 February 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
It takes less than four hours to cross Macedonia by train. It is just 250 km from the border with Serbia at Tabanovce to the Greek frontier at Gevgelija. Of course Macedonia deserves more than merely four hours, but that short train journey affords a few insights into one of Europe's least known countries.
published on 10 January 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
There are a few changes on Eurostar this week with the introduction of a new Standard Premier class on services linking London with Brussels and Paris. Standard Premier replaces Leisure Select as the middle tier of the three class service on Eurostar's capital city services.
published on 6 January 2011
by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
If you like three dimensional landscapes, then Germany's most northerly state of Schleswig-Holstein is probably not for you. The hills are there, but you have to look hard to see them. We took a local train across Schleswig-Holstein last Sunday on a route that happily included the Rendsburg bridge.