Updates on train services in Europe

Updates on train services in Europe

As train traffic is starting to resume in most European countries, it is worth noting that Rail Europe connects in real time with train operators. This means that all journeys that appear in our search results will be in service and, therefore, can be booked.

At Rail Europe we care for the health, safety and satisfaction of our customers and, together with train operators, we will help you get back on track again by giving you the main travel prerequisites and all necessary information.

Should we travel at the moment?
We recommend carefully weighing up your travel options before booking a ticket. Even though train operators are starting to resume their European traffic, some government authorities require that you carry specific documentation in order to travel. Cross-border traffic might also still be limited and there could be mandatory quarantine periods. Therefore, we highly recommend checking on the relevant government websites before departure. Some train operators may require that you take certain safety precautions, such as cleaning your hands with sanitising gel. Moreover, there may be entrance restrictions in some countries. No matter where you are travelling in Europe at the moment, we do recommend that you keep using protective measures against COVID-19:

To ensure your protection and that of all travellers, we recommend wearing a mask throughout your journey as well as when travelling to and from stations.
All train operators are putting in place some new cleaning and sanitising measures in order to ensure safe travel.

Will I be insured for travel in Europe at the moment?
Some travel insurance companies are putting policy sales on hold until further notice. We advise checking with your travel insurance company for any specific terms and conditions before travelling.

Safety measures per country (updated as soon as we receive them)

  • France
    The lockdown began to be lifted slowly from 11 May. Wearing a protective face mask will be mandatory during all travel, from 08 May. Trips over 100km from home will only be authorised for essential professional or family reasons. You will need, therefore, to carry specific documentation to prove that travel is absolutely necessary.
    SNCF is resuming some of its train services, but with limited capacity in order to ensure onboard safety.

    When booking a local regional train within France (TER), it may be necessary to buy an extra mandatory seat reservation for some regions/schedules, in addition to purchased tickets. These can be bought and downloaded on the “Assistant SNCF” mobile app (in French) or on the French TER regional websites.
    Please note that all SNCF Grand Voyageur lounges and onboard catering services will be unavailable until further notice.

    SNCF has committed to three key measures in order to ensure customer safety:

    • Masks must be worn by all staff and customers
    • Provision of more soap and water in order to cater for handwashing requirements
    • Intensive and regular cleaning of trains, stations and shops, as per recommended guidelines
    • Germany

    Germany’s lockdown has been lifted slowly from 05 May. However, passengers arriving from a non-Schengen member state are not allowed to enter Germany.
    This does not apply to nationals of EEA member states, Switzerland, British citizens and passengers with long-term right of residence in EEA member states, Switzerland or the UK, who are returning home.
    Travellers must present a completed Public Health Passenger Locator form upon arrival.

    Deutsche Bahn

    • Travelers and DB employees are obligated to wear face masks on long-distance- and regional trains. We recommend our customers use masks also at stations, stops, and on platforms. Please note that it is important to wash hands thoroughly before putting on and taking off masks and to avoid touching anything but the straps. Customers can buy single-use masks – which are subject to availability – at the on-board bistro of our long-distance trains for EUR 1.50.
    • Long-distance trains are cleaned at maintenance facilities upon deployment and every two hours during regular operations. DB Regio trains are cleaned three times a day on average

    Switzerland

    In Switzerland the lockdown was lifted from 11 May. The government recommends that all passengers take recommended safety precautions and also wear a protective face mask.

    The Swiss train operator SBB has as many seats as possible open for booking in order to respect a safe distribution of passengers throughout their compartments and carriages. If it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of 2m, SBB recommends that you wear a protective face mask, in accordance with its Health Authority guidelines.

  • Italy

    Italy’s borders opened on 03 June 2020, with no 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving from abroad.

    Onboard both Trenitalia and Italo’s trains, it is mandatory to wear a protective face mask, carry protective gloves and keep a safe distance from other travellers according to the rules of each train operator.

  • Spain

    The lockdown in Spain is being progressively lifted as of 10 May. Trips from one region to another are authorised only in case of absolute necessity. Travellers must be able to justify their trip, and carry specific documents as proof.
    Onboard the trains, it is mandatory to wear a protective face mask, and keep a safe distance from other travellers according to the rules of each train operator.

  • UK
    The UK is still in lockdown. The government is, therefore, advising against all non-essential travel. You will need to carry specific documentation which proves that travel is necessary in order to board any trains.From 08 June, all visitors to the UK will be required to go into 14-day quarantine.
  • The Netherlands
    The lockdown in the Netherlands is being progressively lifted as of 19 May. The government advises people to avoid unnecessary travels, to stay 1.5m away from each other, to avoid crowded places, and to wash hands regularly.

  • Belgium
    Wearing a protective face mask is compulsory when travelling on board SNCB trains.

  • Austria
    All individuals, regardless of their citizenship, are required to present a medical certificate confirming a negative molecular-biological SARS-CoV-2 test when entering Austria by land.
    OBB requires passengers to wear protective masks when travelling on board their trains.
  • Cross-border traffic

    • Eurostar
      • Onboard Eurostar trains, it is mandatory for staff and customers to wear protective face masks
      • Additional cleaning and disinfecting of high-frequency touch areas such as tables, handles and grab bars. Additional stocks of soap and toilet paper will also be made available.
      • Water tank levels are checked more frequently to ensure that there is enough water for handwashing
      • One seat out of two will be unoccupied
      • Thalys
      • Onboard Thalys trains, it is mandatory for staff and customers to wear protective face masks

      International TGV

      • Masks must be worn by all staff and customers
      • Provision of more soap and water in order to cater for handwashing requirements
      • Intensive and regular cleaning of trains, stations and shops, as per recommended guidelines
      • France-Spain High Speed

      • There will be no France-Spain High Speed trains running until 21 June 2020. Traffic will resume progressively from 22 June 2020
      • Masks must be worn by all staff and customers

      Many thanks for your patience as we continue to inform and, hopefully, reassure you, our valued customers.