Main Changes to European Train Schedules for 2020

The majority of European train timetables have just one annual major update and in 2019 it took place on Sunday December 15th.
So exciting new train travel opportunities are now in place - which will be available through most of 2020.

However, this timetable change was exceptional for TWO reasons:

(1) There is a lack of new transformative major projects – no new high speed lines have opened (on December 15th) and there is also a lack of other large-scale infrastructure, such as long tunnels, that have begun to be used.
But as can be seen below, there have been a particularly high number of service changes across the continent this time around.

(2) Many of the most significant new services didn’t actually begin operating on December 15th and will instead be introduced on various dates in the first six months of 2020.

The key routes which have been OR will be altered:

Click on them to be taken direct to details of the changes on each route:

Amsterdam to London

Trains from Barcelona


Berlin <> Lviv    l    Bucuresti > Sofia/Istanbul

Czechia/Hungary/Poland to Belarus/Russia

Dresden <> Rostock via Berlin


France <> Switzerland by Lyria services

Geneve <> Annemasse re-opens

Goteborg <> Oslo
    l     Hamburg <> Kobenhavn

Italian high speed services

Leipzig <> Praha
    l      Trains from Lille

Liverpool <> Scotland

London to multiple towns

Marseille <> Milan
    l     Milano <> Switzerland

Paris <> Barcelona

Paris to Montpellier and Nimes

Praha <> Wroclaw


Wien <> Bolzano

Wien and Innsbruck and Munchen <> Bruxelles

Wien (and Graz) <> Krakow     l     Zagreb <> Beograd


And these timetable changes have also been incorporated into the guide to Europe's international rail routes and the guide to to how to travel from London to Europe by train.

The information below was compiled using the vital resource that is the European Rail Timetable and then verified by looking up these journeys online.

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NEW TRAIN SERVICES:

Travelling to and from Wien/Vienna
New train services to and from Vienna

The Austrian national rail service provider OBB has introduced more new services than any other operator, so Wien/Vienna is the major beneficiary of the timetable changes with confirmation of FOUR new direct rail links to and from the Austrian capital.

(1) Wien/Vienna (and Innsbruck, Munchen) <> Bruxelles/Brussels by night train:

For many leisure travellers the most significant development on the new European train schedules is the welcome return of an overnight train service between Wien/Vienna and Bruxelles/Brussels – which as a consequence will also transform taking the train when travelling between London and Austria.

Although, at least initially, this Nightjet service between the Austrian and Belgian capitals won’t operate nightly.
It departs from Wien/Vienna on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 20:38 - a separate portion of the train departs on the same evenings from Innsbruck hbf at 20:44 and from Munchen Hbf at 22:52.

It arrives in Bruxelles-Midi station at 10:45 and has a connecting time of 1hr 53mins into a Eurostar train to London St Pancras International – which will also call at Ebbsfleet International.

In the opposite direction the overnight train to Munich and Innsbruck and Wien (the coaches are separated during the journey) departs from Bruxelles-Midi station at 18:04 on Mondays and Thursdays - the train also calls at Bruxelles-Nord station.
The arrival times are scheduled to be:
- in Innsbruck at 09:17 (connect for Bolzano, Verona and Bologna)
- in Linz at 06:43 (connect for Cesjke Budejovice)
- in Munchen Hbf at 07:09 (connect for Salzburg and Bad Gastein)
- in St Polten at 07:45
- in Wien Hbf at 08:27 (connect for Budapest, Graz and Klagenfurt)
-  in Worgl at 08:37 (for connections to the resorts of Kitzbuhel, St. Johann and Zell-am-See)

The connecting Eurostar departs from London at 12:58 and should arrive in Bruxelles 1hr 56 mins before the departure of the Nightjet

Those connecting times in Bruxelles, when travelling between London and Wien/Vienna, should virtually guarantee easy transfers.

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(2) Graz - Wien/Vienna <> Berlin

Another transformative service which will begin operating at a later date in 2020 is a Railjet train which will be introduced to a Berlin <> Graz route via Praha/Prague and Wien/Vienna.

So from May 4th there will be a second daily option for taking the train between the Austrian and German capitals - and there will once again be direct trains between Wien/Vienna and these cities; Dresden, Decin and Bad Schandau.
For those with a love for epic train travel, there will be a direct rail link between Graz and the cities of Berlin and Dresden.

But before this daytime Railjet train will be added to the timetable, there will also be a new option for making an overnight train journey between the Austrian and German capitals - an alternative to taking the Nightjet service.

That's because German railways operator, DB, is adding to its network of routes, on which IC trains, normally used for daytime services, are also used for overnight journeys.
From March 9th an IC train will be departing from Berlin at 22:29 and arriving in Wien/Vienna at 10:45 - in the other direction it will be leaving the Austrian capital at 19:15 and arriving in Berlin at 06:26.

It will be taking a different route to that Nightjet, so new direct overnight journey opportunities will be available such as Leipzig <> Wien and Berlin <> Linz, albeit with no couchettes or sleeping cars being available.
This train will also be travelling beyond Berlin as its journeys will be commencing and finishing in Rostock.

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(3) Wien/Vienna <> Bolzano
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

A new Railjet service has begun operating daily in both directions on a Wien/Vienna > Linz > Salzburg > Innsbruck > Brennero > Fortezza > Bolzano route.
Thereby providing a new direct link between Austria cities east of Innsbruck and Italian destinations in the South Tyrol.
 

Heading north the train departs from Bolzano at 07:45 and there is a connecting service available from Trento.
In the other direction the train departs from Wien Hbf in the Austrian capital at 15:30 and arrive in Bolzano at 22:20 - too late for any connections to be available to destinations to the south of Bolzano.

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(4) Graz - Wien/Vienna <> Przyemysl via Krakow and Rzeszow
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

A new EuroCity train service to southern Poland now departs from Graz at 05:28 and from Wien Hbf at 08:10.

It continues beyond Krakow to terminate at Przyemysl - so it will also provide a new direct rail link between the Austrian capital and cities in south-east Poland including Rzeszow.
Though the train doesn’t offer good connections in Przyemysl to/from the trains between Poland and Lviv in Ukraine.

In the other direction, having commenced its journey in Przyemysl, the train departs from Krakow at 13:07.

The morning EC train to Gydina via Warszawa and Gdasnk from Wien/Viennna has had its departure time moved to forward 06:10, because this train to Przyemysl has taken over its 08:10 departure time.
Krakow had previously been served by coaches that used to be attached to that train heading to Warszawa, so not only will there be more seats available between these two cities, Graz has also gained a new direct rail link with Krakow and beyond.

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New overnight Berlin <> Lviv Connection:
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

That EC train to and from Graz and Wien/Vienna isn't the only new train service offering enhanced connections with the Polish cities of Rzeszow and Przyemysl.

A new overnight service now departs from Berin Hbf (at 18:43 the coaches are attached to the train heading to Budapest and Wien) and arrives in Przyemysl at 08:38, where it connects with a train departing at 10:18 to the Ukrainian city Lviv, which arrives in Lviv-Holovnyi railway station at 13:45.
A direct service between Berlin and Ukraine isn't possible, as the Ukrainian railway system uses a wider spaced track, so the connection in Przyemysl is a necessary compromise.

In the return direction, the connecting train departs Lviv at 16:20 and arrives in Przyemysl at 18:19, from where the new EuroNight service leaves at 19:57 with a Berlin arrival at 09:48.

The Berlin <>  Przyemysl service also restores a direct link between the German capital and Krakow, but the train from Berlin arrives there at 04:15 - in the opposite direction the timings are much more attractive, as an 00:06 departure from Krakow with a Berlin arrival at 09:48, creates a conventional overnight journey.

For those keen on including some beautiful Polish cities on a European rail itinerary, a new routing opportunity is to travel overnight from Berlin to the beautiful city of Rzeszow - arriving there at 07:20, explore the city before taking a train to Krakow - and then head back to Berlin on the overnight train, OR on to Wien/Vienna or Graz on the daytime train.

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Amsterdam > London by direct Eurostar

Eurostar is to launch direct services from Amsterdam to London commencing on April 30th and from May 18th these trains will also call at Rotterdam - tickets are now on sale.
These trains from Amsterdam won't be calling at Ebbsfleet International - thereby mirroring the services from London

Due to custom controls the Amsterdam to London train journey in this direction currently requires a transfer between trains in Bruxelles, tickets remain on sale for journeys pre Apr 30th, which involve having to change trains at Bruxelles-Midi station.

Initially the direct Amsterdam to London service will have two departures per day on Mon-Fri and one departure per day on Saturday/Sunday , but additional end-to-end journey options, with a connection in Bruxelles, will also be available..

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Dresden <> Rostock via Berlin

The key addition to the German train timetable is a new service of express IC trains in eastern Germany which will travel every two hours in both directions between Dresden and Rostock via Berlin – though some departures won’t be commencing until March 8th.
As a result, from that date, the service of express trains between Berlin and Dresden in both directions will double.
The IC trains will operate in the hours in which there are no EC trains between the two cities.
Those international daytime trains between Berlin and Praha (and beyond) have been the main express services on this route

New double deck IC trains will be used on these services.

From October 5th the plan is for these IC trains to begin calling at the station at the new Berlin Brandenburg airport.

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Transformation of Liverpool <> Scotland Train Services:
Liverpool to Glasgow by train
The British train operator, TransPennine Express has introduced both a new route between Liverpool and Glasgow AND extended its current Liverpool <> Newcastle services to/from Edinburgh.
What had been Liverpool <> Newcastle trains also make calls in Manchester and Leeds, so both of these cities have also gained additional services to and from Edinburgh.

Though some of the planned services will not actually commence operating until early 2020, but it will be worth the wait, as there will be a double benefit.
Previously there were no direct trains between Liverpool and Scotland, plus brand new trains are being introduced to both routes – the planned schedules can only begin operating once all these new trains have entered service.

New trains are also being introduced to the Manchester <> Edinburgh and Glasgow routes via Preston and Carlisle.
 

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Direct trains return to the Praha <> Wroclaw route:
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

Wroclaw is the closest large Polish city to Praha/Prague, but for many years the railway journey between these two locations had been feasible, but awkward, as it typically required two changes of train.
So some very welcome news is that direct trains have returned to the Praha/Prague <> Wroclaw route!

LeoExpress has introduced a new service, though initially trains are departing from Praha hlvani (hl.n.) station on  Fridays - Sundays only at 18:08 - with a Wroclaw arrival at 22:44.
In the other direction, the train is departing from Wroclaw on Saturday and Sunday mornings only at 05:58 - with a Prague arrival in Hlvani (hln) station at 10:27.

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New connections between the Geneve and Haute-Savoie
 

No new long-distance railway lines have opened at the timetable change, but a regional route likely to be popular with tourists, has re-opened following a six year re-construction project - the CEVA rail link has transformed rail connections between Geneve and the scenic Haute-Savoie area in France.
 

New hourly Regional Express services branded Léman Express link destinations on the north shore of Lake Geneva, including Montreux and Lausanne, to Annemasse in France.
In some hours connections are available in Annemasse to and from Evian Les-Bains or St-Gervais-Les-Bains - from where there are onward connections to Chamonix.

In Geneve these trains now call all both at the main station, which previously hadn't been linked to Annemasse, and at the re-opened Geneve-Eaux-Vives station

Annecy in France is now also linked to Geneve by hourly local trains which also call at both the main stations in th city and at Annemasse.

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TRAIN SERVICE WITHDRAWALS:


Changes to Lyria services:

(1) No direct Geneve <> Marseille trains for most of the year:

Not such good news for those who wish to travel between Geneve and France by train is that the Lyria service on the Geneve <> Marseille route will no longer operate for most of the year.
As a result Avignon and Marseille will only have direct trains to/from Switzerland between July 4th and August 30th.

Outside of these dates the only direct trains linking Switzerland with anywhere in France south of Lyon will be the TER trains on the Geneve – Aix-les-Bains – Grenoble –Valence route.

There is no direct replacement on the dates when the Lyria service isn't operating, but the Geneve to Avignon and the Geneve to Marseille journey guides have been updated to explain the alternative options.


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(2) The Paris <> Bern direct trains terminated: Updated
 

The aleration of the Geneve <> Marseille is one aspect of a revamp of the Lyria service of high speed trains between France and Switzerland.
One service which hasn't survived these alterations is the direct train from Paris to Bern, as it has now ceased operating.

Therefore a rail train journey from the French to Swiss capitals now involves taking a train from Paris to Basel and making the fairly straightforward connection in Basel SBB station, into one of the comparatively frequent trains from Basel to Bern.

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The other changes to Lyria services are:

(1) Lyria services are also being altered on the Paris <> Lausanne route -  three of the six daily direct trains between the two cities now take the route via Geneve, instead of the more direct route via Frasne and Vallorbe – the journey time will be around 20 mins longer.

(2) On the Paris <> Switzerland Lyria routes double-decked trains are now used on all departures, which has significantly increase the number of seats available.


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No more direct trains between Leipzig and Praha/Prague:

The direct EC train service on the Leipzig <> Prag/Praha has been discontinued, but journeys by train between the two cities are still feasible due to straightforward connections in Dresden.

However, as a result of this change, the earliest arrival time possible in Prag/Praha when travelling from Dresden has been pushed back by two hours to 11:53, while the final train of the day from Prague TO Dresden is now the 16:26 departure.

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TRAIN SERVICE ALTERATIONS:


New route for Hamburg <> Kobenhavn/Copenhagen trains:
A new route for Hamburg to Copenhagen trains

The key daytime railway connection between Germany and Scandinavia is the train service between Hamburg and the Danish capital and it has now been switched to a new overland route, travelling via Jutland.
As a result the trains are now longer shunted on board ferries for the sea crossing between Puttgarden in Germany and Rodby in Denmark.


Despite being longer in terms of distance travelled, the journey time between Kobenhavn/Copenhagen and Hamburg by train is very similar to that route via Rodby (before it began to be affected by engineering work) – and the service frequency to and from the Danish capital is unaltered.

The city of Odense has also gained a new direct daytime train service to and from Germany and there are also improved connections when travelling during the day by train from Hamburg to Stockholm.

The 08:53 train from Hamburg is due in to Kobenhavn H station at 13:33, so should offer a comparatively easy transfer into the 14:10 train on the Swedish capital.

The 08:53 and 12:53 departures from Hamburg also offer easy connections in Kobenhavn/Copenhagen of just under an hour, into trains on to Goteborg/Gothenburg.
Although a year-round daytime train journey from Hamburg to Oslo still isn't possible - a train from Kobenhavn is due to into Goteborg less than 15 mins after the last train of the day from there on to Oslo has departed!

The trains between Hamburg and Kobenhavn don't call at Fredericia, but the trains on the Hamburg to Aarhus route still call there, as well as at Kolding - where connections will be available into trains to Odense and Kobenhavn.
So those two cities now have three* year round direct trains from Hamburg, plus two departures with good connections.
*There are usually up to three additional summer services on the Hamburg <> Kobenhavn/Copenhagen route, but the timings of these extra services have yet to be confirmed.

Disappointingly the year-round connections when heading south from Sweden to Germany during the day by train haven't been improved.
On the usual timetable the Mon-Saturday early morning Snabbtag service from Stockholm arrives in Copenhagen only five minutes before the departure of the 11:26 train on to Hamburg, so making the transfer on time will be a big gamble.

If you only want to make one change of train on a Stockholm to Hamburg journey, the best option will usually involve taking the 08:21 to Kobenhavn from Stockholm.
It is usually scheduled to arrive in the Danish capital at 13:13, but at least it pretty much guarantees a connection into the 15:26 train on to Hamburg.

The alternatives involve taking a Snabbtag service to Malmo, connecting there for an Oresundtag train to Kobenhavn and then making a second transfer into a train on to Germany.
Though better news is that Malmo <> Berlin night train will be operating daily during its summer season between June 22nd and August 30th.
 

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More trains on the Goteborg/Gothenburg <> Oslo route: 
 

There are now additional services on this key Scandinavian rail link between Sweden and Norway.

For several years now the service pattern had been 2 x daily trains, plus additional morning services on Monday - Saturday, but now the schedule in each direction is 4 x trains per day on Monday to Fridays, with 3 x departures per day on Saturday and Sundays.
Heading south trains depart Oslo for Goteborg
-
on Monday to Friday at 06:01; 10:01; 14:01 and 18:01
- on Saturdays at 08:01; 14:01 and 18:01.
- on Sundays at 10:01; 14:01 and 18:01.

Except for the 18:01 departures, these trains from the Norwegian capital arrive in Goteborg in time to connect with the hourly Oresundtag services on to Kobenhavn/Copenhagen via Malmo.
Though the schedule on the Goteborg to Kobenhavn route has also now been altered, meaning that the transfer time at Goteborg C station is around 55 mins, instead of 10-15 mins - the 14:01 from Oslo is scheduled to arrive in Goteborg at the exact same time as a departure to Kobenhavn!

Though the schedule for a Norway to Germany journey by train has become easier - by taking that 06:01 train, easily timed connections of around 55 mins are now available in both Goteborg and Kobenhavn on Monday to Friday, which will enable a scheduled arrival in Hamburg at 20:02.
The previous schedule relied on a 15 min connection in Goteborg.

However, AT WEEKENDS, a year round train journey from Oslo to Hamburg in a single day still isn't available (though this is likely to become an option on Saturdays and Sundays, when the additional seasonal departures are added to the Kobenhavn - Hamburg route).

The revised schedule also doesn't impact on the fact that it isn't possible to travel from Bergen or Trondheim to Kobenhavn/Copenhagen in a single day by train.
The 14:01 departure to Goteborg still leaves Oslo before the first trains of the day from Bergen and Trondheim, will arrive in the Norwegian capital.
Though Bergen and Trondheim to Goteborg journeys are still possible - for those willing to spend more than three hours in Oslo between trains.

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Heading north the trains to Oslo are now scheduled to depart from Goteborg:
on Mon-Fri at 06:10; 10:15; 14:15; 18:10
on Saturday at 8:15: 14:15; 18:10
on Sunday at 10:15; 14:15; 18:10

Connections from the Oresundtag trains from Kobenhavn are available into the afternoon departures on from Goteborg, the connecting time between trains will be 50 - 55mins - though it still won't be possible to travel from Hamburg to Oslo in a single day.

For those prepared to gamble on making an 11 min connection at Oslo S station on a Saturday, it has become theoretically possible to depart from Goteborg at 08:15 and connect into a train on to Bergen that usually departs Oslo at 12:03.

Though the earlier departure time on Monday-Friday at 06:10 results in an extended Goteborg > Bergen journey on those days of the week - on Monday to Friday the transfer time in Oslo, into this 12:03 departure on to Bergen, is now more than 2hr 45mins!

Though a welcome improvement on Mondays to Fridays and Sundays is that the later train on to Bergen from Oslo at 15:43 now has a new viable connection from Goteborg - depart by the 10:15 and the connecting time in Oslo will be under two hours.
By departing from Kobenhavn at 05:27, on Mondays to Fridays it's also now possible to travel from Kobenhavn to Bergen by train during the day.

On Mondays to Fridays and Sundays there is also a new connection available in Oslo for those travelling from Goteborg to Trondheim - though the 10:15 from Sweden is due in to Oslo only 11mins before a train on to Trondheim will be departing.

However, neither the Mon-Fri 06:10 departure from Goteborg or the daily train at 14:15, offer good connections into day trains on to Trondheim - though the 18:10 train will still offer an evening departure from Goteborg that connects into the Oslo to Trondheim overnight train (and the overnight train from Oslo to Bergen).
The train usually scheduled to depart from Kobenhavn at 13:27, enables connections in Goteborg and Oslo, for those who wish to take the night trains on to Bergen and Trondheim.


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A new operator on the Oslo <> Stavanger route:
 

A new operator, Go Ahead Nordic, has taken over the train service on the Olso <> Stavanger route though initially it seems as though the existing schedule on the route has been maintained.
Presumably the increased frequency promised by Go Ahead will be available at subsequent timetable change over dates.


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Changes to train services from Lille: 
Latest details of connections at Lille Europe station
The services on most routes from Lille to other destinations in France have been altered.

In summary the main ammendments are:

(1) Lille to Amiens - in common with most other TER services in northern France, the sequence of departure times during the day has been standardised - resulting in a significant increase in the service provided.

(2) Lille to Bordeaux via Poitiers - the service of TGV InOui trains has been reduced so that there are two departures on Mondays to Saturdays and only one on Sundays.
The daily train now leaves Lille only 10 minutes before a Eurostar is due into the city, so the 'connection' now involves being in Lille for around 1hr 45mins between trains.

(3) Lille to Nantes via Angers - The timetable has been completely revised and both of the morning departures now leave before the first Eurostar from London has arrived in Lille - thereby breaking what had been a convenient connection 

The afternoon departure now leaves Lille only 13 minutes after the arrival of a Eurostar from London - and this is evidently too tightly timed for ticket agents to sell the end-to-end journey involving this train.
The only viable option for a London to Angers or Nantes journey via Lille now involves spending 2hr 10mins at Lille Europe station between trains.

(4) Lille <> Paris:

The service of TGVs between Paris Gare du Nord and Lille had been split between trains that only travelled between the two cities and arrived at and departed from Lille Flandres station - and trains which also served destinations to the north of Lille, which called at Lille Europe station.

However, the trains between Paris and most destinations to the north of Lille have been diverted away from the city, so will apparently no longer be calling at Lille Europe station - instead they now travel via Arras.
A few trains on the Paris <> Boulogne and Calais routes are still calling at Lille Europe, but they are diverted off the high speed route in order to call at Arras - so are slower than the trains to and from Lille Flandres.

As a result Lille Flandres is  now the station in the city with by far the most frequent AND fastest service of regular TGVs to and from the French capital, which is less confusing and more convenient for most travellers.

(5) Lille to Rennes: The second train of the day has been moved forward by 25 minutes and now usually departs Lille at 11:25 - just two minutes before the 08:55 Eurostar from London is due into Lille Europe station!
So what had been a particularly useful connection has now been broken.

The afternoon departure now leaves Lille only 13 minutes after the arrival of a Eurostar from London (it's attached to a train heading for Nantes) - and this is evidently too tightly timed for ticket agents to sell the end-to-end journey involving this train.
So the only viable option for a London to Rennes journey via Lille now involves spending 2hr 10mins there between trains.

(6) Lille to Strasbourg: The last train of the day now leaves Lille more than an hour later at 19:09, so what had been a convenient connection with the 15:04 Eurostar from London, now involves spending more than 1hr 30mins in Lille between trains

The Eurostar connections from London which are now available in Lille are shown on these summaries below.
Though they should be treated very much as a guide, as precise departure times can vary on specific dates.

MONDAY TO THURSDAY:
 

Depart
London

Arrive
Lille Europe

Depart
Lille Europe

Destination

06:47

09:26

11:03

Lyon

 

 

11:25

Rennes

 

 

11:25

Strasbourg

08:55

11:27

13:00

Marseille*

11:04

13:26

14:01

Marseille

12:58

15:30

17:03

Montpellier

 

 

17:16

Bordeaux**

 

 

17:39

Nantes

 

 

17:39

Rennes

15:04

17:26

18:25

Marseille

 

 

18:57

Mulhouse**

 

 

19:09

Strasbourg


FRIDAY:

Depart
London

Arrive
Lille Europe

Depart
Lille Europe

Destination

06:47

09:26

11:03

Lyon

 

 

11:25

Rennes

 

 

11:25

Strasbourg

08:55

11:27

13:00

Marseille*

11:04

13:26

14:01

Nice

12:58

15:30

16:02

Montpellier***

 

 

17:03

Montpellier

 

 

17:16

Bordeaux**

 

 

17:39

Nantes

 

 

17:39

Rennes

15:04

17:26

18:25

Marseille

 

 

18:57

Mulhouse**

 

 

19:09

Strasbourg


SATURDAY:

Depart
London

Arrive
Lille Europe

Depart
Lille Europe

Destination

06:57

09:26

11:03

Montpellier

 

 

11:25

Rennes

 

 

11:25

Strasbourg

08:55

11:27

13:00

Marseille*

11:04

13:26

14:01

Marseille

12:58

15:30

17:03

Perpignan

 

 

17:03

Marseille

 

 

17:16

Bordeaux**

 

 

17:39

Nantes

 

 

17:39

Rennes

15:04

17:26

18:57

Mulhouse**

 

 

19:09

Strasbourg

17:04

19:26

20:02

Lyon


SUNDAY:

Depart
London

Arrive
Lille Europe

Depart
Lille Europe

Destination

08:55

11:27

13:00

Marseille*

11:04

13:26

14:01

Marseille

12:58

15:30

16:02

Montpellier***

 

 

17:03

Montpellier

 

 

17:16

Bordeaux**

 

 

17:39

Nantes

 

 

17:39

Rennes

15:04

17:26

18:25

Marseille

 

 

18:57

Mulhouse**

 

 

19:09

Strasbourg

 

*= a low-cost, more basic Ouigo service departing from Lille Flandres station.
**= departs from Lille Flandres.
***= this train arrives at Montpellier Sud-de-France station and calls at Nimes Pont-Du-Gard station.
 

Trains to Marseille also call at Avignon TGV.
Trains to Montpellier also call at Valence TGV and Nimes.
Trains to Bourdeaux also call at Poitiers.
Trains to Nantes also call at Le Mans and Angers.
Trains to Rennes also call at Le Mans.
The train to Mulhouse also calls at Dijon.

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Arriving and departing by train in Montpellier and Nimes: 

No new high speed lines came into service at the December timetable change, but one line which is now used by many more trains is the LGV Nimes - Montpellier.

This high speed line by-passes the cities of Montpellier and Nimes, so trains which use it can’t call at the respective city centre stations, Montpellier St Roch and Nîmes  – instead they call at Montpellier Sud-de-France and the brand new station, Nimes Pont Du Gard.

Montpellier Sud-De-France is located on the city’s southern edge and a combination of shuttle bus and trams link the station to the city’s central area, with a transit time of around 45 mins.
Nimes Pont Du Gard is located in a rural area, 14 km from the city, but the station is on two levels, so the TGV trains on the new high speed line will be sharing the station with the regional TER trains between Nimes and Montpellier - so those trains will 'connect' Nimes Pont Du Gard to the city centre.
 

There are now more regular TGV trains from Paris to Montpellier Sud De France station and these trains will also call at Nimes Pont Du Gard – the overall number of services to Paris to Nimes and Montpellier has actually increased.

However, the number of trains from Paris to the city centre stations of Nimes and Montpellier St Roch has been reduced – and  three of those remaining departures are by the discounted Ouigo services because they have been introduced to the Paris – Nimes – Montpellier route.
Therefore outside of the summer season, on most dates there will be no more than 5 or 6 x regular TGV (InOui) trains per day connecting the Gare De Lyon with the city centres in Nimes and Montpellier.

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Paris  <> Barcelona re-timed
 

The year-round afternoon departure from Paris to Barcelona has been pushed back an hour, so that on most dates it will be leaving the Gare De Lyon at 15:08 and arriving in Sants station at 21:46.

Daily connections from London are still available on the dates when the usual timetable is operating, with a very similar end-to-end journey time - but the later departure time allows more time for connecting passengers to access St Pancras International.

A consequence of that afternoon train leaving Paris later, is that for most of the year, taking the 10:14 train from Paris will now be the only option for a train journey in a single day from the French capital to Madrid.
(Though between May 29th and Aug 30 another option will be available for this capital to capital journey, departing Paris at 07:14).

The year round morning departure from Barcelona to Paris is now also departing later, on most dates it will be leaving at 10:10 instead of 09:25 and will be scheduled to arrive at the Gare De Lyon in Paris at 16:46.
On Mondays to Fridays this train has an easily timed connection into the 18:13 Eurostar from the Gare Du Nord to London, but on Sundays the timings are a little tighter, as the 'connecting' Eurostar departs at17:43.
However, on Saturdays the Barcelona > London journey is longer, because there isn't a Eurostar from Paris until 19:13

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Spain to France by Regional Trains - new schedule: 


The alternative, generally cheaper (rail pass users can save money) and more scenic option for travelling from Barcelona to France by train, involves making connections at the border station of Port Bou.
Travelling this way was made simpler recently, because the regional French TER trains on to destinations in France now commence their journeys over the Spanish side of the border in Port Bou station.

However the schedule for these trains from Port Bou to France has been altered, in particular there are now fewer of these trains from Spain travelling direct to Avignon via Beziers, Montpellier and Nimes, but there are now more direct TER trains from Port Bou to Toulouse via Narbonne

As the connections in Port Bou station can vary between departures take a look at this summary.
 

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Transformation of services on the Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante route 

No brand new high speed lines opened on December 19th  but one new line which is being launched on January 13th is the link between Camp de Tarragona station and Castello.
It will allow trains on the Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante route to use the long-established high speed line between Barcelona and Camp de Tarragona and then connect to the existing route to the north of Castello.

As a result the timings of trains between Barcelona and Valencia will be reduced by around 25 minutes, though the existing Euromed services will retain their branding, because the same trains will still be used (in anticipation of the change, high-speed trains were introduced some years ago).
Some journeys have been extended beyond Barcelona to provide new direct links between both Girona and Figueres with Valencia.

However, central Tarragona will be losing the majority of its rail connections with Valencia and Alicante.


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Revised High Speed Services in Italy

(Train services in Italy have TWO annual updates, so some of the changes summarised below may only be in place until June 13th).

The Italo Services:
A new timetable for the Italo train services

Italian high speed train operator NTV has revamped its Italo services which travel the length of Italy's main high-speed route between Torino/Milano and Roma/Napoli/Salerno.

On its new timetable, these services have broadly been placed into FOUR groups:

(1) hourly trains which travel in both directions and call at all stations on this high speed route:
Torino Porta Nuova - Torino Porta Susa - Milano Centrale - Milano Rogoredo - Reggio Emilia A.V. - Bologna Centrale - Firenze S.M.Novella - Roma Tiburtina - Roma Termini - Napoli Afragola - Napoli Centrale - (Salerno)

Plus there are faster services:
(2) Milano Centrale > Milano Rogoredo > Roma Termini - Napoli Centrale
(3) Milano Centrale > Bologna Centrale > Roma Tiburtina  > Roma Termini
(4) Napoli Centrale > Roma Termini > Bologna Centrale > Milano Centrale
Most of these faster Italo services heading south call at Milano Rogoredo and not Bologna Centrale, but heading north this pattern is reversed with all but one of the fast trains calling at Bologna Centrale.

NTV has also withdrawn its Italo services between Torino/Turin and Venice/Venezia, its trains now only travel between Venezia/Venice and Milano, though it has upped the frequency to 9 x trains per day in each direction.

Torino/Turin has been particularly impacted by these changes, the city has lost its Italo services to Venezia via Verona and Padova AND its fast Italo services to Roma and Naples, but it has gained more high speed services to both Bologna and Firenze/Florence - Italo now operates a more frequent service between Torino and those two cities than that offered by Trenitalia.
Bologna has also gained more non-stop fast services from Roma/Rome.

Also more trains are now calling at Napoli Afragola and Reggio Emilia A.V stations.

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The Frecce services:

Trenitalia has also made some impactful changes to its high-speed 'Frecce' services, in summary they are:

(1) More fast services have been introduced between Torino/Turin and both Napoli and Roma/Rome (the Frecce trains are now faster than the alternative Italo services between these cities)

(2) The number of Frecce trains between Torino/Turin and destinations to the east of Millano has been reduced, as a result there is now only one direct train in each direction between Torino and Trieste.
There are now also only three trains per day between Torino/Turin and Venezia/Venice (because Italo has also withdrawn its Torino <> Venezia services, Torino has now lost more than half of its direct trains to/from multiple cities including Brescia, Verona, Vicenza and Padova/Padua).
These remaining trains to and from Torino are also all routed via Milano Porta Garaibaldi station, so as a result there are slightly fewer Frecce trains between Milano Centrale station and Venezia S. Lucia station.
 

(3) Torino/Turin has gained a new rail link with Perugia.
Though the service is primarily aimed at business travellers, as heading north the train (which previously terminated in Milano) still departs from Perugia at 05:13.arrives in Torino at 09:44 – and offers a good connection into a TGV train to Paris.
In the opposite direction it departs from Torino Porta Nuova at 17:43 and from Torino Porta Susa at 17:53  with a Perugia arrival at 22:25.
In Milano this train now departs from and arrives at  Porta Garibaldi station instead of at Milano Centrale.

(4) More of the Frecce trains between Milano and both Napoli and Roma, including the fast services which skip Bologna and Firenze/Florence, now call at Milano Rogoredo station.
Italo has also significantly increased the number of its trains which call there, so the revamped Milano Rogoredo is now a high-speed hub station.
Thanks to Metro and suburban rail links with the city centre, when travelling between central Milan and destinations to the south by train, including Bologna, Florence, Naples and Rome, connecting at Milano Rogoredo will now often be a faster end-to-end journey than travelling via Milano Centrale.

(5) The Frecce trains on the Verona (and destinations to the north and west of Verona) <> RomaRome route now call at Firenze S.M.Novella station - and as a result their journey times are longer by 15 - 20mins.
To save time these trains used to avoid the diversion to S.M.Novella station and made their call in Florence/Fireneze at  the less convenient Campo Di Marte station - but they now match the Italo trains on this route and use S.M.Novella.
As a result the number of trains between Verona and the the city centre in Florence/Firenze has more than doubled.

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Marseille <> Milano now connected by a daily service:
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

A recently introduced innovation that has been continued on the new timetable is that the direct train, operated by Thello, on the Marseille <> Milano route now operates year round, instead of being a seasonal service.
So it now provides a daily rail link between Toulon, Monte-Carlo and Cote D’Azur locations including Antibes, Cannes and St Raphael, with multiple destinations in Italy, including Albenga, Genova and Sanremo.

There is also now a daily direct train from Milano and from Genova, to destinations to the west of Nice including Antibes, Cannes and Toulon.

Particularly welcome news for those who appreciate beautiful train journeys, is that, the departure times of the only services to travel through the French and Italian Rivieras, have been brought forward in both directions to the morning.
The train from Milano to Marseille uses the 11:10 departure time, of a train which used to travel no further than Nice, while the train from Marseille to Milano now leaves from there at 11:28.

That earlier departure time for the eastwards service has also simplified journeys from locations west of Nice to destinations in northern Italy and Switzerland.
An arrival time in Milano of 18:53 now enables onward connections to the likes of Bellinzona, Brig, Domodossola, Geneva, Lasuanne, Luagno, Padova, Verona and Venezia.

The train heading west from Milano and Genova is now scheduled to arrive in Marseille at 18:31 and provides onward connections to both Avignon and Lyon.

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Alterations on the Czechia/Hungary/Poland to Belarus and Russia route: 
Service suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis

As mentioned on this Russian Railways travel blog and from what can be gleaned on the DB pan-European online timetable, Russian Railways has withdrawn its long-standing 'Polonez' service which operated sleeping cars direct from Warszawa to Moskva/Moscow on three nights per week.
However, it has been replaced by a new daily Prague <> Moskva/Moscow overnight service.

The daily train from Praha Hlvani station at 10:23, which also calls in Pardubice, will in effect now be a train of three parts:
- daytime coaches to Krakow
- daytime coaches to Warszawa
- and it ALSO conveys sleeping cars which be travelling on to the Russian capital via Minsk.

What had been a daily EC train from Budapest to Warszawa has had its journey extended from the Polish capital and it now conveys daytime coaches as far as Terespol, on the Belarus border.
Leaving Budapest at 08:40 it also calls in Bratislava.

At Ostrava station or Bohumin stations, the Prague to Moskva/Moscow sleeping coaches and Praha to Warszawa daytime coaches, will be joined to the Budapest to Terespol train.
This combined train will then later, during its journey, depart from Warszawa at 19:15 and arrive in Brest at 23:38*, in Minsk at 06:08 and in Moskow/Moskva at 16:58 - pretty much the same timings that the 'Polonez' train utilised.
So Warszawa also benefits from a new nightly service to Minsk and Moskva.

Presumably those who wish to make a train journey from Budapest via Bratislava to Minsk or Moskva, will join the EC train to Terespol and then move through the train during its journey after departure from Bohumin, in order to access the sleeping cars.
Similarly travellers who wish to make a Praha to Terespol journey by daytime coaches, can also move through the train as it heads towards Warszawa.

*=As will be seen travelling to Brest doesn't require an overnight journey, but the daytime coaches aren't able to travel beyond Terespol, because the Belarus railways use the Russian gauge (wider spaces between the rails)
The sleeping cars can be switched between the two types of track.

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Increase in frequency of many British long-distance services:
 

Exploiting the full advantage of new fleets of trains being available, several British long-distance routes are now benefiting from an enhanced service.

On Mondays to Fridays the London <> Edinburgh service has become the longest European rail route to operate at a frequency of a minimum of 2 x trains per hour throughout the day.
Because up to five trains per day which used to start or finish in Newcastle, have had journeys extended to and from Edinburgh.

Another significant change on the LNER timetable is that following 41 years of service, the iconic InterCity 125 trains are no longer operating services between London and Scotland - all trains between King's Cross station and destinations north of Edinburgh are now in the hands of brand new Azuma trains.

Another key beneficiary of the LNER timetable change is the charming spa town, Harrogate - this gateway to the Yorkshire Dales now has 6 x direct trains to/from London King’s Cross instead of one daily service.
More trains to and from London Paddington station
GWR has also significantly increasing its volume of services, and as a result there are more long distance trains to and London Paddington station, than ever before, all of which are operated by recently introduced Intercity Express trains.

The headline news is that London and Bristol are now connected by the fastest ever regular train services between the two cities, as five x trains per day in each direction on Mondays to Fridays are taking the more direct route to the north of Bath, which has brought the journey time between the two cities down to just 1hr 24mins.
The plan is to add more departures on this faster schedule during 2020.

Bath hasn't lost any trains from London, in fact it's also gained some additional services on weekday evenings, as newly introduced trains will be completing the journey in just 1hr 12min.
In most hours during the day there are now 3 x trains per hour travelling between London and Bristol, either direct or via Bath.

The cities of Gloucester and Worcester, the spa town of Cheltenham and multiple destinations in the Cotswolds including Kingham for Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stroud, all now have a better than ever train service of an hourly rail connection to/from London.
 

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Temporary closure of the Mannheim <> Stuttgart high speed line

Between April 10th and October 31st the high speed line  between Mannheim and Stuttgart is being closed for renewal work to be carried out.
Unusually for a high speed route, it also used by regular IC and EC trains between destinations to the north of Stuttgart and the city - so virtually all express trains services between Stuttgart and both central and northern Germany will be impacted by the closure.

The ICE trains which use the full length of the line will likely have their journey times extended by around 40 minutes - what will probably happen is that trains heading south to Stuttgart will be re-timed to depart earlier, while those travelling north will be arriving at their destinations later than usual.

Connections will be affected across Germany, but particularly in Mannhiem as it is the meeting point of multiple north <> south ICE routes.
The key ICE routes which will have longer journey times* are:

(1) Dortmund - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Augsburg - Munchen:

(2) Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Augsburg - Munchen
(there are other trains between Berlin/Leipzig and Munchen)

(3) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart:

(4) Hamburg - Bremen - Dortmund - Essen - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne (Messe-Deutz) - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart

*Journey times won't be any slower between destinations to the north of Mannheim.

Services which will also be affected, but with likely journey time extensions of around 25 minutes are:

(1) The TGV services Paris and Stuttgart via Strasbourg

(2) The EC trains which connect multiple cities in Germany, including Frankfurt (Main) and Koln/Cologne with Salzburg and other cities in Austria.

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Westbahn has reduced its Wien <> Salzburg service

Austrian independent rail operator, Westbahn, has reduced the train service it provides in competition with the state operator OBB on the Wien <> Salzburg via Linz route.

Its trains from Salzburg and from Wien/Vienna  are now departing hourly instead of every 30 mins, and what has been withdrawn is the service which served multiple stations in Wien city centre.
Meaning that stations such as Wien Mitte and Wien Renweg have lost (for the time being) their direct rail connections to/from Salzburg.

The remaining hourly Westbahn service also won't be arriving in and departing from the city's main station Wien Hbf, instead it uses Wien Westbahnhof - though that station has excellent U-Bahn links with central Wien/Vienna.

The situation has arisen because Westbahn has sold some of its trains to the German national rail operator DB, but their replacements won't now be available until late 2020.

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Changes on the Zagreb <> Beograd route: 

The Zurich to Zagreb sleeper train is combined with 'day train' which commences its journey at Schwarzach St. Veit in Austria and then travels across Slovenia and Croatia to arrive in Beograd/Belgrade.
According to the European Rail Timetable a change is that coaches will no longer be making the complete end to end journey from Zurich to Beograd, so presumably travellers intending to make this journey, will have to move through the train on arrival in Zagreb in order to complete the journey?

So trains are still crossing the Croatian/Serbian border and the European Rail Timetable also lists the option of an overnight train from Ljubljana and Zagreb to Beograd/Beograd.
It shows it as being available until Jan 11th and then between June 20th and Sept 13th, with a departure from Ljubljana at 21:05, from Zagreb at 23:41 with a Beograd/Belgrade arrival at 06:05.

Between June 12th and Sept 20th this train should have a 'connection' into a train on Sofia, which is due to arrive in the Bulgarian capital at 20:37*.
Though according to the European train timetable this train on to Bulgaria will apparently be departing from Beograd-Topčider station at 09:15, but the overnight train from Ljubljana and Zagreb will arrive at the new Beograd Centar station.

(*The 'Sofia-Istanbul' express is usally scheduled to depart from the Bulgarian capital at 18:25).

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A new departure time for the Bucuresti > Istanbul/Thessaloniki train: 

It looks as though between June 5th and October 5th, the summer only train from Bucuresti/Bucharest to Istanbul and Sofia will  scheduled to depart from Bucuresti Nord station at an earlier time of 11:00.
On Fridays only it conveys coaches that head to Thessaloniki in Greece.

It used to depart at 12:40, so left 10 minutes after the scheduled arrival time of an overnight train from Budapest.
However, in 2020 it looks as though this 'connection' will no longer be available, meaning that taking the day train from Hungarian capital and then spending the night in Bucuresti/Bucharest, will the best option for a Budapest > Sofia or Istanbul or Thessalonki train journey.

This summer only 11:00 departure is the only long-distsance train which crosses the Romanian/Bulgarian border.

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Changes on the Gotthard Route between Switzerland and Italy

New Giruno trains should now be operating some departures in both directions on the Gotthard route from Milano and from Zurich – with these trains due to take over all of these EC services by mid-April.

Some of the departure times on the Milano <> Zurich and Milano <> Geneve routes have also altered, but the frequency on both routes remains the same.

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More Regional Trains Between Milano and Erstfeld in Switzerland:

It has now become a lot easier to travel on the spectacular older Gotthard route from Milano to Switzerland.

The regional trains from Milano to Erstfeld are now operating at a significantly increased frequency, with hourly departures between 06:43 and 09:43 and then from 12:43 to 16:43.
The trains departing Milano in the odd hours have easy connections in Erstfeld with trains on to Basel via Luzern, while the trains leaving Milano in even hours have simple connections into trains on to Zurich via Zug.

Those EC trains mentioned above use the epic Gotthard Base Tunnel, so not only are they direct, they're also faster - but these regional trains take the more beautiful older route.
And rail pass users can avoid the reservation fees that they have to pay on those EC trains.

In the opposite direction, trains to Milano now depart from Erstfeld hourly between 08:43 and 17:43, offering more connections from Basel and from Zurich.

These trains travelling between Milano and Erstfeld also call at stations omitted by the EC trains including Biasca, Faido, Ariolo and Goschenen - at this station connections are available to/from Andermatt and the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn route
 

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FUTURE CHANGES:
 

These train schedule changes are inevitably still to be 100% confirmed, but it's highly likely that these future changes will be in service before the end of 2020;

(1) Amsterdam <> Wien, Munich and Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper trains - likely to be commencing on Dec 13th
(2) Faster journeys on the Milano <> Zurich route - likely to be commencing on Dec 13th
(3) Direct trains on the 'Golden Pass Route' between Montreux and Interlaken via Gstaad and Zweissimen - likely to be commencing on Dec 13th
(4) Trenitalia's Frecce trains competing with the TGV trains on the Paris <> Milano route via Torino  - likely to be commencing on June 14th.