Updates on train services in Europe

As train traffic is coming back to near normal in most European countries, and train companies are following strict safety guidelines, we can think of no better mode of transport for a special trip back out into the world. 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):

The lockdown began to be lifted from 11 May. Wearing a protective face mask is mandatory during all travel and there is a fine of €135 if travellers don’t wear one.

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 and 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. 

Thalys

  • Onboard the trains, it is mandatory for staff and customers to wear a protective face mask

France-Spain high-speed trains

Masks must be worn by all staff and customers.

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 and, if coming into Germany from the Spanish regions of Aragon, Catalonia or Navarre, quarantine rules may apply depending on local state regulations.

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.

From 08 August 2020 travellers coming to Switzerland from mainland Spain have to self-quarantine for 10 days. 

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. 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.

France-Spain high-speed trains

Masks must be worn by all staff and customers.

Since 10 July you can travel to England, Scotland and Wales from most 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, if you are travelling from Spain quarantine restrictions are in place upon arrival back in the UK. From 08 August this also applies if you are travelling back from Belgium to England and to Wales from 07 August.  If you are travelling back to Scotland from Luxembourg, you will also 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. 

Eurostar 
  • 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. 
  • Additional cleaning and disinfecting of high-frequency touch areas such as tables, handles and grab bars. 
  • Additional stocks of soap and toilet paper are now 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

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.

Thalys

Onboard Thalys trains, it is mandatory for staff and customers to wear protective face masks

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.

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

  • 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

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

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