Updates on train services in Europe due to COVID-19 situation

As the sanitary situation is still evolving, we advise you to check the conditions and governmental measures of the country you are going to. 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 can help you get back on track again by giving you the main travel prerequisites and all necessary information. We do advise always checking with your local government for up to date travel advisories with regards to specific countries or regions. We may not be able to embrace everyone we want yet, but we can certainly start to embrace travel again. 

To ensure your protection and that of all travellers, we recommend wearing a protective face mask throughout your journey as well as when travelling to and from stations. Indeed, this is now mandatory in most European countries. 

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 put policy sales on hold during the height of the pandemic but this is changing as each country opens up again. We advise checking with both your travel insurance company and government travel advisory services before travelling.

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

Wearing a protective face mask is mandatory during all travel and there is a fine of €135 if travellers don’t wear one. In specific tourist areas you are also obliged to wear a mask in outdoor spaces so be sure to carry your mask at all times. There will be plenty of signs advising you to wear masks in these places. 

France’s national rail operator, 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, regular cleaning of trains, stations and shops, as per recommended guidelines

In order to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Thello night train service between Paris and Venice has been cancelled until further notice.

All passengers travelling to or returning to France from the UK on the Eurostar and aged 16 years and over are required to fill in a Sworn Statement form. This should be completed, signed and printed off in advance of travel. 

All TGV, Intercité or connecting TER trains, as well as France-Germany TGV, France-Switzerland TGV (Lyria), France-Spain and France-Italy TGV tickets for travel up until 01 November 2020 are exchangeable and refundable at no extra charge.

France-Spain high-speed trains

Masks must be worn by all staff and customers.

Germany began easing lockdown restrictions on 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 and, if coming into Germany from Belgium and from some regions of Spain, quarantine rules may apply depending on local state regulations. The same applies to travellers coming from some regions of France 

Deutsche Bahn

  • Travellers and DB employees are obliged to wear face masks on long-distance and regional trains. We recommend that customers also wear masks at stations, in shops and on platforms. Customers can buy single-use face masks at the bistro on board DB’s long-distance trains for €1.50.
  • Long-distance trains are cleaned before the train departs from its first station and then every two hours en route. DB Regio trains are cleaned three times a day on average. 

Switzerland’s borders reopened to Schengen passport holders on 15 June. The Swiss government recommends that all passengers follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and wearing a protective face mask is mandatory during all travel on public transport. 

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. Travellers coming to Switzerland from mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands or Belgium have to self-quarantine for 10 days. 

From 14 September, travellers from some regions of France will have to self-quarantine.    

Italy’s borders opened on 03 June, with no 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving from abroad. However, all travellers coming into Italy need to fill out a self-declaration form regarding their health status. You can access this form here

Onboard both Trenitalia and Italo’s trains, it is mandatory to wear a protective face mask and change it every four hours, as well as to keep a safe distance from other travellers. Trenitalia and Italo train carriages are regularly sanitised in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines. 

At the moment of the booking, the customer must declare:

  • that he/she does not suffer from COVID-19 or that he/she has not been subjected to a mandatory quarantine period of at least 14 days;
  • that he/she is not experiencing symptoms attributable to COVID-19 such as, for example, a body temperature above 37.5°C, a cough or cold, and that he/she has not had contact with a person suffering from COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
  • that he/she agrees to cancel his/her journey and inform the competent Health Authority in the event that any of the aforementioned symptoms emerge before his/her planned journey, or if they occur within eight days of the train services used for this journey arriving at their destination;

A negative COVID-19 test is required for travellers from Spain. In order to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Thello night train service between Paris and Venice has been cancelled until further notice.

The lockdown in Spain has been progressively lifted since 10 May. Onboard Spanish trains, it is mandatory to wear a protective face mask and keep a safe distance from other travellers.

If you arrive in Spain by train you must fill in a health control form (FCS) and sign it electronically before travelling there. You can access the form on the Spain Travel Health website.

France-Spain high-speed trains

  • Masks must be worn by all staff and customers.

Since 10 July you can travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from many European countries without having to self-isolate on arrival and this passenger locator form must be filled by all adults arriving back into the country. However, the situation is ever-changing. At the moment, if you are travelling from Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands,quarantine restrictions are in place upon arrival back in the UK and you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. 

If you have to travel while in the UK, then train companies strongly advise avoiding peak hours, carrying hand sanitiser and washing hands before and after travel. Wearing masks in shops and other enclosed places is now compulsory in England and Scotland.

Advance tickets remain non-refundable during the current global pandemic and are subject to an admin fee for those wishing to change their journey. Passengers should therefore think carefully before buying these tickets.

The price of walk-up single and return tickets are the same on the day of travel as they are weeks in advance.  Passengers may consider deferring their purchases until nearer the date of travelto ensure they don’t incur any admin fees if their plans change. 

Wearing a protective face mask is compulsory when travelling on board SNCB trains. Travellers returning to Belgium from abroad or wishing to stay in Belgium for more than 48 hours have to complete a "Passenger Locator Form". Please note that this form needs to be completed 48 hours before arriving into Belgium.

Mandatory quarantine and test for travellers returning or travelling to Belgium from some regions of Spain, France, Andorra. 

The lockdown in the Netherlands has been progressively lifted since 19 May. The government advises people to avoid unnecessary travel, to stay 1.5m away from each other, to avoid crowded places, and to wash hands regularly.

Travellers from some regions of France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. 

Depending on their nationality, travelers coming into Austria may be requested to present a medical certificate, not more than 72 hours old, confirming a negative test for COVID-19. Please check with the relevant Austrian government agency if the restriction applies to your travels. 

OBB requires passengers to wear protective masks when travelling on board their trains.

A negative test is required for travellers from Spain.

Be careful, some trains are cancelled at the last minute due to the sanitary context. What should I do if my train is cancelled? You have to exchange your ticket on our site or at the station. There are several trains running daily, you are sure to find a seat on the same day.

  • All passengers aged 18 years and over for the UK and 16 years and over for Belgium and France are required to fill in a form if travelling to or returning to the UK, France or Belgium. Click on the links for the UK, French and Belgian forms, which should be filled out in advance of arrival into the respective countries. 
  • Passengers travelling to the UK from Belgium need to self-isolate for 14 days and, from 15 August, this also applies to those travelling from France and the Netherlands. 
  • 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
Be careful, some trains are cancelled at the last minute due to the sanitary context. What should I do if my train is cancelled? You have to exchange your ticket on our site or at the station. There are several trains running daily, you are sure to find a seat on the same day. 
  • Onboard Thalys trains, it is mandatory for staff and customers to wear protective face masks 
  • The Belgian Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs has declared Paris as a red zone. This means that non-essential travel (tourism) from Belgium to Paris is not possible or not permitted. Visitors travelling for non-essential reasons who enter Belgium from Paris, are required to remain in quarantine and have themselves tested upon arrival..

90% of the TGV Lyria trains are running. The timetable shown for trains in the booking system is accurate.

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

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