The Key Changes to European Train Schedules for 2020

The majority of European train timetables have just one annual major update and in 2019 it will take place on December 15th.
It's a date worth paying attention to, because it marks the commencement of exciting new train travel opportunities - which will then be available through most of 2020.
Less good news is that some train services will cease operating after December 14th 2019.
 
However, this upcoming timetable change is exceptional for two reasons:

(1) There is a lack of openings of major projects – no new high speed lines, no new major stations or longer tunnels, etc are coming into use.
So there are comparatively few transformative alterations on the new timetables this time around. 

(2) Many of the most significant new services won’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 that are being altered:

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

Amsterdam to London

Czechia/Hungary/Poland to Belarus/Russia

Dresden <> Rostock via Berlin


Geneve <> France

Goteborg <> Oslo
    l     Hamburg <> Kobenhavn

Leipzig <> Praha
    l     Liverpool <> Scotland

London to multiple towns

Marseille <> Milan
    l     Milano <> Switzerland

Paris <> Lausanne


Paris to Montpellier and Nimes

Praha <> Wroclaw
    l     Torino <> Perugia

Trieste <> Ljubljana

Wien <> Berlin (more trains)

Wien <> Bolzano    l     

Wien and Innsbruck and Munchen <> Bruxelles

Wien <> Krakow     l     Zagreb <> Beograd


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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 is introducing 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 will be 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 will depart from Wien/Vienna on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 20:38 from January 12th - also from that date a separate portion of the train will be departing on the same evenings from Innsbruck hbf at 20:44 and from Munchen Hbf at 22:52.

In Bruxelles it will have 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 Wien, Munich and Innsbruck (the coaches are seperated during the jouney) will depart from Bruxelles-Midi station at 18:04 on Mondays and Thursdays from January 13th - the train will also call at Bruxelles-Nord station.
The connecting Eurostar will depart from London at 12:58 and will arrive in Bruxelles 1hr 56 mins before the departure of the Nightjet

These 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.
And 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) Graz - Wien/Vienna <> Przyemysl via Krakow and Rzeszow

Both Graz and Wien/Vienna also gain a direct daytime train service to Krakow and this train will commence operations on December 15th.

Departing from Graz at 05:28 and from Wien Hbf at 08:10 it will continue beyond Krakow to terminate at Przyemysl - so it will also provide a 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 will depart from Krakow at 13:07.

Until December 14th the morning EC train to Gydina via Warszawa and Gdasnk will depart from Wien Hbf at 08:10but because this train to Przyemysl will take over this departure time, from Dec 15th that train to Gydnia via Warsaw will be leaving the Austrian capital two hours earlier at 06:10.

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(4) Wien/Vienna <> Bolzano
 

From December 15th a new Railjet service will begin 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 will depart from Bolzano at 07:45 and on Mon-Friday there will seemingly be a connecting service available from Trento.
In the other direction the train will depart 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 desinations to the south of Bolzano.

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Amsterdam > London by direct Eurostar

This is breaking news as Eurostar has yet to issue a press release or to release tickets for sale, but  the DB pan-European online timetable is listing direct Eurostar services from Amsterdam to London commencing on Tuesday March 31st.

Due to custom controls the Amsterdam to London train journey in this direction currently requires a transfer between trains in Bruxelles, but the long awaited direct trains from The Netherlands to the UK are apparently imminent.
Though the timetable is showing that they will spend 20 - 28 mins between arriving and departing at Bruxelles-Midi station 
 

Days Of Week

Amsterdam
Dep:

Rotterdam
Dep:

London
Arr:

Mon-Sat

07:47

08:28

10:57

Mon-Fri

13:46

14:28

16:57

Sat/Sun

13:47

14:28

16:57

Not Sat

18:47

19:28

21:57


These trains from Amsterdam won't be calling at Ebbsfleet International - thereby mirroring the services from London.

The 13:46/47 departure will restore the direct train service from Amsterdam to Lille.

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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.

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 is introducing both a new route between Liverpool and Glasgow AND extending its current Liverpool <> Newcastle services to/from Edinburgh at the December 15th timetable change.
Those existing Liverpool <> Newcastle trains also make calls in Manchester and Leeds, so both of these cities will also gain additional services to and from Edinburgh.

Though some of the planned services may not actually commence operating until early 2020, but it will be worth the wait, as there will be a double benefit.
There are currently no direct trains between Liverpool and Scotland, plus brand new trains will be 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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Piedmiont and Umbria connected by Torino <> Perugia trains:


The recently introduced service of Sunday to Friday direct high speed Frecce trains between Milano and Perugia has evidently proved successful, because from Dec 15th the route will be extended to provide a new rail link between Torino and the capital of Umbria.

Though the service is primarily aimed at business travellers, as heading north the train will still be departing Perugia at 05:13.
It will arrive in Torino at 09:44 – and offer a good connection into a TGV train to Paris.

In the opposite direction it will depart 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 will depart from and arrive at  Porta Garibaldi station instead of at Milano Centrale.
 

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Direct trains return to the Praha <> Wroclaw route:
 

Wroclaw is the closest large Polish city to Praha/Prague, but for many years the railway journey between these two locations has been feasible, but awkward, as it typically requires two changes of train.

So some very welcome news is that from December 20th direct trains are returning to the Praha/Prague <> Wroclaw route!

LeoExpress will be introducing a new service, though initially trains will be departing from Praha hlvani (hl.n.) station on  Fridays - Sundays only at 18:08 - with a Wroclaw arrival at 22:44.
In the other directio, the train will be 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 will commence operations at the timetable change, but a regional route likely to be popular with tourists, is re-opening following a six year re-construction project.
The opening of the CEVA rail link will transform rail connections between Geneve and the scenic Haute-Savoie area in France.
 

From Dec 15th new hourly Regional Express services will link destinations on the north shore of Lake Geneva, including Montreux and Lausanne, to Annemasse in France.
In some hours connections will be 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 will call both at the main station and the re-opened Geneve-Eaux-Vives station.

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TRAIN SERVICE WITHDRAWALS:


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.
Though the 10:00 departure from Geneve has a tightly timed connection at Valence TGV station into a train to Avignon and Marseille.

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No more direct trains between Leipzig and Praha/Prague:
 

The direct EC train service on the Leipzig <> Prag/Praha route is being discontinued, but journeys by train between the two cities will still be 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 will be pushed back by two hours to 11:53, while the final train of the day from Prague TO Dresden will be the 16:26 departure.

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The Zagreb <> Beograd rail link cut:

The long-standing EuroNight train from Munchen/Munich and Zurich to Beograd/Belgrade won't be travelling beyond Zagreb from December 15th - this train also conveyed daytime coaches from Villach in Austria to Beograd.

Presumably this a temporary change due to the ongoing works to improve the railways in Serbia, but as the Budapest <> Beograd daytime train also remains suspended on the new timetable, Serbia has now lost all of its railway connections with countries to the west.

The EuroNight train will connect in Zagreb to a train travelling east towards Serbia, but it will be terminating at the border station in Tovarnik, with apparently no onward connection to Beograd.
The return EuroNight train to Munchen and Zurich will apparently be commencing its journey in Tovarnik, but seemingly with no rail connection from the Serbian capital.

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TRAIN SERVICE ALTERATIONS:
 

Changes on the Paris <> Lausanne route
 

Lyria services are also being altered on the Paris <> Lausanne route - after Dec 15th two of the five daily direct trains between the two cities will take the route via Geneve, instead of the more direct route via Frasne and Vallorbe – the journey time will be around 20 mins longer.

Another change for all of the Paris <> Switzerland Lyria routes from Dec 15th is that double-decked trains will be used on all departures, which will signficantly increase the number of seats available - so should ensure that the discounted tickets won't sell out so quickly.

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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 from December 15th it is being switched to a new overland route, travelling via Jutland.
As a result the trains will no longer be 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 will be less than 10 mins longer than the previous usual schedule – and the service frequency to and from the Danish capital will be unaltered.

The city of Odense will also gain a new direct daytime train service to and from Germany and there will also be improved connections when travelling during the day by train from Hamburg to Stockholm.
The year round morning train to Kobenhavn/Copenhagen will now depart Hamburg at 08:53 - and it will offer an attractive 37 minute connection into a daily Snabbtag train from the Danish capital on to Stockholm.

The 08:53 and 12:53 departures from Hamburg will 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 won't be 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 will be scheduled to depart!

The trains between Hamburg and Kobenhavn won't call at Fredericia, but the trains on the Hamburg to Aarhus route will still call there, as well as at Kolding - where connections will be available into trains to Odense and Kobenhavn.
So these two cities will 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 won't be improved.
On the usual timetable the Mon-Saturday early morning Snabbtag service from Stockholm will be arriving 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 - while the 10:25 Snabbtag service from Stockholm to Kobenhavn seemingly misses the 15:26 train to Hamburg by one minute!

So the only feasible options for a daytime train journey from Stockholm to Hamburg will 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 will be additional services on this key Scandinavian rail link between Sweden and Norway.

For several years now the service pattern has been 2 x daily trains, plus additional morning services on Monday - Saturday, but from Dec 15th the schedule in each direction will be 4 x trains per day on Monday - Friday, with 3 x departures per day on Saturday and Sunday.

Heading south trains will depart Oslo for Goteborg on Monday to Friday at 06:01; 10:01; 14:01 and 18:01, while at weekends departures will be at 08:01; 14:01 and 18:01.

Except for the 18:01 departure, these trains from the Norwegian capital will still 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 is also being altered from December 15th, meaning that the transfer time at Goteborg C station will be 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 will become easier - by taking that 06:01 train, easily timed connections of around 55 mins will now be 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 won't be 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 won'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 will still leave 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 will still be possible - for those willing to spend more than three hours in Oslo between trains.

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Heading north the trains to Oslo will usually be scheduled to depart from Goteborg on Mon-Fri at 06:10; 10:15; 14:15; 18:10 and at 08:15: 14:15 and 18:10 on weekends.

Connections from the Oresundtag trains from Kobenhavn will be 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 by train year round.

For those prepared to gamble on making a connection of between 12 and 15 mins at Oslo S station on a weekend, it will become theoretically possible to depart from Goteborg at 08:15 on Saturday and Sunday 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, will be more than 2hr 45mins!

Though a welcome improvement on Mondays to Fridays is that the later train on to Bergen from Oslo at 15:43 will now have a 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 will also be possible to travel from Kobenhavn to Bergen by train during the day.

On Mondays to Fridays there will be also be a new connection available in Oslo for those travelling from Goteborg to Trondheim - though the 10:15 from Sweden will be due in to Oslo only around 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, will 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, will enable 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:
 

From the December 15th timetable change, a new operator, Go Ahead Nordic, is taking over the train service on the Olso <> Stavanger route though initially it seems as though the existing schedule on the route will be maintained.
Presumably the increased frequency promised by Go Ahead will be available at subsequent timetable change over dates.

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Arriving and departing by train in Montpellier and Nimes:

No new high speed lines are coming into service at the December timetable change, but one line which will be used by many more trains from this date 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 two new stations, Montpellier Sud-de-France and 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 and will have no public transport access to and from the city centre – yet.
 

From Dec 15th there will be more many 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 will actually increase.

However, the number of trains from Paris to the city centre stations of Nimes and Montpellier St Roch is being reduced – and two of those remaining departures will be by the discounted Ouigo services because from Dec 15th they will be introduced to the Paris – Nimes – Montpellier route.
Therefore outside of the summer season, on most dates there will be no more than 4 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 is being 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 will still be available on the dates when the usual timetable is operating, with a very similar end-to-end journey time - but the later departure will allow more time for connecting passengers to access St Pancras International.

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Alterations on the Czechia/Hungary/Poland to Belarus and Russia route

The situation on these routes requires some clarification, so this info will be updated in due course, but it's clear that there have been changes which are worth being aware of.

According to this Russian Railways travel blog and from what can be gleaned on the DB pan-European online timetable, Russian Railways is withdrawing its long-standing 'Polonez' service which operated sleeping cars direct from Warszawa to Moskva/Moscow on three nights per week.
Through sleeping cars from both Budapest and Praha/Prague were attached to this train in order to provide a direct rail service from those cities to Moskva/Moscow.

But from Dec 15th the long-standing daily EC train from Budapest to Warszawa will seemingly be having its journey extended from the Polish capital - continuing on to Minsk via Brest.
Having left Budapest at 08:40 and travelled via Bratislava, Ostrava and Katowice, it will then depart from Warszawa Centralna at 19:15 and follow the same schedule as the 'Polonez' train - but will only be travelling as far as Minsk, where it is scheduled to arrive at 06:08.
Sleeping cars will seemingly be attached to this train on departure from Bohumin in Czechia - the station call after Ostrava.

A daily train on to Moskva will be departing from Minsk at 06:58 and arriving in Belorusskaya station in Moskva at 16:58 - the same time at which the 'Polonez' train arrived.
Another apparent change is that this train on from Minsk will be commencing its journey in Brest - thereby preserving the direct service from there to Moskva.

The train from Budapest will be arriving in Brest at 00:38.

The daily EC train from Praha Hlvani station to Krakow, which leaves the Czech capital at 10:40 and also calls in Pardubice, is timed to connect in Ostrava with the Budapest to Minsk service.

IF these changes are confirmed the upside is that multiple cities, including Budapest, Bratislava, Katowice, Pardubice, Praha and Warszawa will be gaining a daily rail connection to Moskva/Moscow, but what is less clear for the moment is whether direct trains will still be available?

What MAY be getting lost in translation is the fate of those through sleeping cars from Budapest and Praha to Moskva, which used to be shunted between various trains in order to complete their journeys.
(Because they were shunted between trains, they tend to be omitted from online timetables).
After all not only will trains still be operating over the route they used to take, they will also be departing and and arriving at similar times.

According to the excellent TrainTracks.eu website (which is published in German) a benefit of the timetable change, is a new nightly direct sleeping car from Praha to Moskva.
It is right that the Czech national rail operator, CD, is selling a Praha to Moskva journey after Dec 15th with 'No Transfers'.
But what this MAY mean in practice is that a traveller taking this route will travel on the daytime coaches from Praha as far as Bohumin.
They can move through the train to join the sleeping cars which be travelling on as far as Minsk and then on arrival there, they can again move through the train to join coaches, which will be travelling on to Moskva/Moscow.

Also to be confirmed are the options from travelling to Moskva/Moscow from Warszawa by train, presumably connections will have to be made in either Brest or Minsk, but the independent Polish rail journeys website, Polrail, is currently not offering tickets on this route.

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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 will benefit from an increased volume of service after December 15th.

The London <> Edinburgh service will 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 currently start or finish the journeys in Newcastle, will have journeys extended to and from Edinburgh.

Another key beneficiary of the timetable change will be the charming spa town, Harrogate - this gateway to the Yorkshire Dales will have 6 x direct trains to/from London King’s Cross instead of its current one daily service.
More trains to and from London Paddington station
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, will all have a better than ever train service of an hourly rail connection to/from London Paddington station, by recently introduced Intercity Express trains.

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Marseille <> Milano to be connected by a daily service:

A recently intriduced innovation to be continued from Dec 15th is that the direct train, operated by Thello, on the Marseille <> Milano route will operate year round, instead of being a seasonal service.
So this will also provide a daily rail link from Toulon, Monte-Carlo and Cote D’Azur locations including Antibes, Cannes and St Raphael, to multiple destinations in Italy, including Albenga, Genova and Sanremo.

There will also be 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 from December 15th, the departure times of the only service to travel through the French and Italian Rivieras, are being brought forward in both directions to the morning.
The train from Milano to Marseille will use the 11:10 departure time, of a train which currently terminates in Nice, while the train from Marseille will be leaving from there at 11:28.

The earlier departure time for the eastwards service also opens up a swathe of train journey opportunities from the south of France to destinations in northern Italy and Switzerland.
An arrival time in Milano of 18:53 will enable onward connections to the likes of Bellinzona, Brig, Domodossola, Geneva, Lasuanne, Luagno, Padova, Verona and Venezia.

The train heading west from Milano and Genova will arrrive in Marseille at 18:31 and enable onward connections to both Avignon and Lyon.

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Westbahn is reducing its Wien <> Salzbug service

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

From Dec 15th its trains from Salzburg and from Wien/Vienna will be departing hourly instead of every 30 mins ,because what is being withdrawn is its service which served multiple stations in Wien city centre.
Meaning that stations such as Wien Mitte and Wien Renweg will be losing (for the time being) their direct rail connections to/from Salzburg.

What is being retained is Westbahn's service to/from Wien Hbf - the primary railway station in the city.

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 Gotthard Route between Switzerland and Italy

From Dec 15th new Giruno trains will begin operating 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.

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More Regional Trains Between Milano and Erstfeld in Switzerland:

From Dec 15th it will become a lot easier to travel on the spectacular older Gotthard route from Milano to Switzerland.

The regional trains from Milano to Erstfeld will be operating at a signficantly 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 will have easy connections in Erstfeld with trains on to Basel via Luzern, while the trains leaving Milano in even hours will 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 beautful 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 will depart from Erstfeld hourly between 08:43 and 17:43, offering more connections from Basel and from Zurich.

These trains travelling between Milano and Ertsfeld 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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Connect in Villa Opincina on the Trieste <> Ljubljana route:

The fairly recent and very welcome return of direct trains between Trieste and Ljubljana, which transformed Italy <> Slovenia rail travel has seemingly proved to be short-lived - though taking the route is thankfully still feasible.

According to the European Rail Timetable, the Slovenian rail company SZ, is now only operating trains between Ljubljana and the Italian border station at Villa Opicina, but Trenitalia is providing connecting trains between Trieste (and Udine) and Villa Opicina - a situation that will still be in place when the new timetable comes into effect.
The overall end-to-end Trieste <> Ljubljana journey time is similar to that provided by the direct trains.

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A YEAR FROM NOW:

These train service changes are still to be confirmed, but what is definite is that the current plan is that these services (and more) won't begin operating before mid-December 2020.

(1) Amsterdam <> Wien, Munich and Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper trains
(2) Faster journeys on the Milano <> Zurich route
(3) Direct trains on the 'Golden Pass Route' between Montreux and Interlaken via Gstaad and Zweissimen
(4) Competing services to the TGV trains on the Paris <> Milano route via Torino