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

As the current health situation linked to COVID-19 is still evolving, we advise you to carefully check the conditions and governmental measures of the country you are going to. Rest assured that Rail Europe connects in real time with train operators. This means that all journeys that appear in our search results can be booked. Please always check that your train is running prior to departure. 

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. 

If you have not been able to travel because of the health situation, please check our refund and exchange policies. If there are no special refund conditions stated below, it means that the regular conditions apply. We are endeavouring to process all refunds as quickly as we can and maintain the excellent service we promise at Rail Europe. Conditions can vary every day and are only valid until further updates on our websites (as per train operators’ updates).

To ensure your protection and that of all travellers, you need to wear a protective face mask throughout your journey as well as when travelling to and from stations in every European country. Please respect the barrier gestures throughout your journey.

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 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 at 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)

Please note that although there is a curfew in some cities (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Lille, Toulouse, Rouen, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne) in France between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. , you can still travel to and from those cities by showing your train ticket and filling in this form.. 

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 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 tickets for TGV, Intercité or connecting TER trains for travel up until 04 January 2021 are exchangeable and refundable at no extra charge. All tickets for the France-Germany TGV, France-Switzerland TGV (Lyria) and France-Spain TGV for travel up until 01 November 2020 are exchangeable and refundable at no extra charge. All TGV tickets for France-Italy for travel up until 12 December 2020 are exchangeable and refundable at no extra charge. All modifications need to be requested prior to the scheduled travel date. For exchanges, if the new fare is more expensive, the customer pays the difference in price. You can apply for exchanges or refunds via your Rail Europe account.

Passengers arriving from a non-Schengen member state are not allowed into 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 high risk zones, i.e. Belgium, some regions of Spain, some regions of France, some regions of Italy, some regions of the United Kingdom and some areas of Switzerland and Austria, quarantine rules may apply depending on local state regulations. 

  • 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. 

If you want to change the time of your journey, you can use your original tickets on the same route for travel up until 31 October 2020, as long as the tickets were booked by 13 March 2020. All you have to do when travelling is present the original ticket as well as some ID.

The Swiss government recommends that all passengers follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. 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 its compartments and carriages. Travellers coming to Switzerland from mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands, Belgium and Austria have to self-quarantine for 10 days. 

Travellers from some regions of France, Italy and Germany will have to self-quarantine.    

All travellers coming into Italy need to fill out a self-declaration form regarding their health status. You can access this form here

Wearing a face mask is mandatory in indoor and outdoor places everywhere in Italy. 

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

Onboard both Trenitalia and Italo 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.

Onboard Spanish trains, it is mandatory to wear a protective face mask and keep a safe distance from other travellers.

A passenger locator form must be filled in by all adults arriving back into the country. However, please note that the situation is changing all the time. At the moment, if you are travelling from Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy or 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, train companies strongly advise that you avoid peak travel times, carry hand sanitiser and wash your hands before and after travel. Wearing masks in shops and other enclosed places is now compulsory in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

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 travel to ensure they do not incur any admin fees if their plans change.

The government advises people to avoid unnecessary travel, to stay 1.5m away from each other, to avoid crowded places, and to wash their hands regularly.

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

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.

Non-essential travel (tourism) from Belgium to Paris is 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. 

Mandatory quarantine and testing applies for travellers returning or travelling to Belgium from some regions of Spain, France and Andorra. Limitations also apply to travellers entering Belgium from Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Depending on their nationality, travellers 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 onboard their trains. A negative test is required for travellers from Spain.

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

What should I do if my train is cancelled? You can exchange your ticket on our website or at the station. There are several trains running daily, so you are sure to find a seat on the same day.  If your train has been cancelled between 10 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, you can postpone your trip - at no additional cost - for up to one year after the original departure date.  If your train has not been cancelled and the ticket was purchased prior to 01 October 2020: 

  1. Exchangeable tickets (please refer to the after-sales conditions), can be exchanged before departure without a fee. However, you will be required to pay for any difference in price. This exchange must be carried out before the originally planned departure. 
  2. If the ticket is not exchangeable, an e-Voucher can be issued by our customer service (amount of the ticket plus an additional €15 per ticket) if the request is made within 30 days of the initial travel date. 

For all tickets purchased after 01 October 2020, individual exchange & refund policies apply.

Some trains may be cancelled at the last minute due to the current health situation. 

What should I do if my train is cancelled? You can exchange your ticket on our website or at the station. There are several trains running daily, so 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 or returning to the UK, France or Belgium. Click on the links for the UK, France or Belgian forms, which should be filled out in advance of arrival in the respective countries. 
  • Passengers travelling to the UK from Belgium, France and the Netherlands need to self-isolate for 14 days. 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 are now available. 
  • Water tank levels are checked more frequently to ensure that there is enough water for handwashing. 
  • One seat out of two is unoccupied. 

Eurostar offers free exchange of all tickets, in the form of a voucher, for journeys between 13 March and 15 November 2020. For trips originally scheduled up until 07 September 2020, vouchers may be redeemed up to 12 months from the date of issue, for a new Eurostar booking up to six months in advance. For trips originally scheduled from 08 September 2020 to 15 November 2020, vouchers may be redeemed up until 01 June 2021, for a new Eurostar booking up to six months in advance:

  1. If the train is canceled, voucher requests should be submitted within a period of 60 days following scheduled travel. 
  2. If the train is not canceled, voucher requests should be submitted by at the latest at midnight of the day before the scheduled travel. 

You can apply directly on the Eurostar website. For any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

TGV Lyria currently has less trains running. The timetable shown for trains in the booking system is accurate.

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