Here's an overview of the contents of the upcoming 16th edition of the guidebook Europe by Rail, which was published in mid-October 2019.
At the heart of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide – the 16th edition of which was published on 15 October 2019 – are detailed descriptions of 52 amazing European rail journeys. Some journeys are sufficiently long that you could easily build an entire holiday around them (eg. from Amsterdam to Oslo or Hamburg to Budapest). Others are more modest in scope - such as a scenic wander through the Harz Mountains of eastern Germany or a rail cruise along the French Riviera.
Each route kicks off with our personal appraisal of the journey using a star rating system and a note of the countries through which the route passes. Every route description includes a sketch map, showing places along the way, with superimposed grids that give the pattern of rail services along that route. Much of the timetable information in the book is derived from the monthly European Rail Timetable (ERT). Our thanks to the guys who produce that wonderful compendium; ERT table numbers are used for easy reference throughout the book.
Sometimes we commend a short-cut or an alternative route. Of course no-one dictates that you must follow our routes in their entirety. You can pick and choose, switching from one to another where they intersect, and sometimes branching out on your own to explore territory beyond our recommended routes. Here is the list of the 52 routes featured in Europe by Rail (just click on a section name to review the list of routes in that area):
The Sidetracks features, 25 in all, are often bold leaps — and might particularly encourage you to strike out independently. Some Sidetracks will lead to offshore islands (such as Sardinia or Mallorca), others will take you well beyond the regular tourist trails, even to countries like Albania or Kosovo which often get completely overlooked in many travel guides to Europe. The Sidetracks also recall moments from railway history and especially memorable short trips beyond the core 52 routes covered in the book. Here are three examples from the book (click on a title to see a short excerpt from the text):
There is some information that is best presented on a country-by-country basis. In the gazetteer we give key data such as language, time zone and currency. For countries that feature in our 52 rail routes, we give additional travel information, which includes the countries' main rail operators, the validity of Interrail and Eurail passes and the availability of country- or regional passes. An overview of accommodation options and culinary hightlights rounds of each country description.
The comprehensive tables of city links in Europe by Rail show, for major cities on Europe’s rail network, the key facts about train travel between principal city pairs. City pairs may be linked by a direct overnight train service and/or by a daytime service. For all services we give a typical travel time (in hours and minutes). This allows you to quickly detect additional travel options while planning your trip through Europe by rail.
Previous editions of Europe by Rail had limited information on connecting options from principal waystations along a route. But starting with the 14th edition, we have greatly extended the coverage as well as the number of connections. This allows you to branch off a route or connect mid-way to another journey described in Europe by Rail. Connections are now a really powerful way of devising your own routes.