What's new on the European Train Timetables

The majority of European train timetables have just one annual major update, and in 2018 it took place on December 9th.

The information below was compiled using the vital resource that is the Winter 2018/2019 edition of the European Rail Timetable and then verified by looking up these journeys online, on the respective ticket booking websites.

Why does this timetable update matter?

Four reasons:

(1) Brand new services and faster routes have now begun operating.

Therefore many of the new and improved train services, which will be available throughout 2019, have already entered service.

(2) Longer services and routes which were to be discontinued, have now ceased operating.

(3) New trains have also entered service.

(4) The departure and arrival times of many trains will have been altered by less than 30mins.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR SERVICE CHANGES on continental Europe:

The new timetable change has marked a comparatively uneventful year for major schedule and service changes on continental Europe.

No new major high speed lines, and few other large infrastructure projects, such as new stations have been brought into service.

Additions to the timetable:

These new international express train journeys have been added to our GUIDE to continental Europe's international rail routes.

Berlin ↔ Wien/Vienna via Nurnberg on direct ICE trains:
An ICE-T from Austria arrives in Nurnberg

The capitals of Germany and Austria are once again being connected by direct daytime trains, as a brand new service via Nurnberg more than makes up for the withdrawal of the previous service via Praha, a few years ago.

A daily ICE-T train in each direction, now travels on the high speed line between Halle and Nurnberg and then between Nurnberg and Wien/Vienna via Linz.

So Linz is now also served by direct trains to and from Berlin.

These trains depart from Berlin hbf daily at the convenient time of 10:05 and arrive in Wien at 17:45.

In the other direction they depart Wien Hbf at 10:15 and arrive in Berlin at 17:58.

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Berlin ↔ Wien/Vienna AND Budapest via Wroclaw by Nightjet

A new Nightjet service has restored the overnight train link between Berlin and both Vienna/Wien and Budapest - it is scheduled to depart from Berlin Hbf at 18:40.

In the opposite direction the train is scheduled to depart from Budapest at 19:25 and from Wien/Vienna at 22:10

Instead of taking the route via Praha/Prague that the previously withdrawn EuroNight train followed, it takes a new route via Wroclaw in Poland.

This train has also restored the daily direct 'daytime' train service between Berlin and Wroclaw - it will depart from Berlin Hbf at 18:41 and Berlin Ost at 18:51 and arrive in Wroclaw at 23:00.

Though in the other direction it departs Wroclaw at the bracingly early time of 05:05.

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Bratislava ↔ Zurich via Wien and Salzburg
The Bratislava to Zurich train arrives in Wien hbf


Access by train to and from the Slovakian capital has been transformed for the better.


One of the daily Railjet services in each direction on the Zurich ↔ Wien/Vienna has had its journey extended from and to Bratislava.

The Slovakian capital has therefore also be linked by direct trains to and from Innsbruck, Linz and Salzburg.

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Improved services to and from Romania:

The capital cities of Hungary and Romania will once again be linked by direct DAY trains, which will provide an alternative to the overnight trains from Budapest to Buccuresti/Bucharest.

The restored daytime IC train will depart from Keleti station in Budapest daily at 07:10, for an epic journey that arrives in Buccuresti at 23:22.

The daytime trains in either direction between Budapest and Cluj Napoca have had their journeys extended from/to Wien/Vienna.

Thereby providing a new direct daytime train service between Austria and Romania, it is scheduled to depart daily from Wien Hbf at 10:42 and has been given the evocative name 'Transalvania'.

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Withdrawals:

Trains between Lille and The Netherlands to be discontinued:

Lille is no longer be served by Thalys trains to/from Antwerp and The Netherlands.


Instead the Thalys trains which served Lille have been switched to travel to/from Marne La Vallée, providing daily direct trains between Disneyland Paris and both Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

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Withdrawal of the direct Bruxelles/Lille to Nice train:

The direct TGV train from Bruxelles to Nice via Lille has been discontinued.

Now the best alternative is to travel via Marseille, departing Buxelles-Midi daily at 10:33 and thereby avoiding the need to transfer between stations in Paris.

The direct Bruxelles to Nice called in Lille, so its removal from the timetable means, that for that time being, travelling via Paris is now the only viable option for travelling from London to Nice by train.

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Goodbye to the overnight train on the Vienna ↔ Prague route:

The removal of this train isn't a huge surprise, as the daytime service of trains on this route has been improved in recent years.

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The Basel ↔ Marseille TGV:

The direct TGV which travelled in both directions between Basel and Marseille via Lyon and Avignon has been discontinued.

Meaning that Geneva is now the only Swiss city with direct trains to Avignon and Lyon and Marseille.

Though if you now want to travel to these destinations from Basel, the quickest and easiest option is to take a train from Basel to Mulhouse and connect there into TGV trains.

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Service changes:

New trains on Swiss Intercity (IC) routes:

The long awaited, and rather fabulous, new LD/Twindexx trains (pictured above)have have now commenced service on the principle rail route in Switzerland; namely the IC 1 route;
St Gallen - Winterthur - Zurich Flughafen - Zurich HB - Bern - Fribourg - Lausanne - Geneve.

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Improvements in Germany:

Here's our summary of the key updates to the network of ICE trains in Germany.

(1) New ICE 4 trains  have taken the place on most of the ICE-T trains on the Hamburg - Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Nurnberg - Munchen/Munich route (the trains between Berlin and Munich which travel via Leipzig).

As these ICE 4 trains have 12 coaches/cars and the ICE-T train have only 7, there has been a significant increase in capacity on this route

The ICE 3 trains are still being used for the faster 'ICE-Sprinter' services between Berlin and Munchen/Munich, which don't divert off of the direct route to call at Leipzig.

As a result of this change we have updated our introduction to ICE trains.

(2) The number of ICE trains from Koln/Cologne to Stuttgart has been increased by a third, with up to 14 ICE trains per day now travelling between the two cities.

However, the additional departures, in both directions, now take this route:

Stuttgart - Mannheim - Frankfurt Flughafgen/Airport -  Seigburg/Bonn - Koln-Messe/Deutz - Dusseldorf - Essen - Dortmund - (Bremen - Hamburg).

So these additional trains don't depart from the main station in the Koln/Cologne - Koln Hbf.

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Changes on some TGV routes in France

French national rail operator SNCF offers two types of TGV services (1) Standard InOui services and (2) more basic, but cheaper Ouigo services.

A major difference between these two services USED to be that Ouigo services didn't depart from and arrive at stations in central Paris, instead they used stations on the outskirts - and they also used alternatives to the main central stations in other cities.

This policy has been changing in recent years, but SNCF has taken further steps in this direction on the new timetable.

(1) On the routes from both central Lille (Lille Flandres station) AND central Paris (the Gare De Lyon) to Marseille via Avignion, new Ouigo services have been added -  which now offer a more directly comparable alternative to the standard TGV InOui trains.

(2) There have also been significant changes on the Paris to Nice route.

The first and last departures of the day from Paris to Nice are now Ouigo services and the number of TGV InOui services between the two cities has been reduced from seven to four - and three of these trains now divert off the direct route to serve Marseille, so are around 20mins slower.

As a consequence of Ouigo trains now sharing these and other routes, with standard TGV InOui trains, we have also updated these pages on ShowMeTheJourney.

Our guide to booking train tickets in France.

Our guide to travelling by train in France.

Our guide to using rail passes in France.

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The daily TGV from Paris to Ventimiglia no longer crosses the border

What had been a long established daily TGV service between Paris and Ventimille/Ventimiglia now no longer travels across the Franco/Italian border.

It now terminates at, and commences its journey, on the French side of the border in Menton.

Therefore, when travelling from Paris, it's no longer possible to travel on to any destination on the Italian Riviera if you take this train.

However, if you take the first Regionale train of the day heading west from stations between Genoa and SanRemo, you can connect in both Ventimiglia AND then Menton for Paris.

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A new Frecciarossa train from Turin to Lecce via Bari and Ancona

The daily 'Frecce' train on the Adriatic coast route to and from Turin/Torino has become a Frecciariossa train instead of a Frecciabianca train.

As a result it uses the high speed lines between Turin and Bologna, so the journey times between Turin and all destinations south of Bologna - including Ancona, Pescara, Bari and Lecce are now around an hour faster!

It also calls at Milano Porta Garibaldi station, thereby providing an additional Frecciarossa train between Milano and the Adriatic Coast destinations.

However, the Frecciabianca service that it has replaced, provided the only direct train service between Torino and towns between Milano and Bologna including Modena, Parma and Piacenza.

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Earlier departure time from Venice/Venezia for the overnight train to Paris:

The overnight Thello train from Venezia S. Lucia to Paris Gare De Lyon has had its usual departure time from Venice brought forward by around an hour to 19:20.

Though its arrival time in Paris is only earlier by around 20 mins, it is now usually scheduled to arrive in the Gare De Lyon at 09:37 - so the overall journey time has been increased to 14hr 17min.

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Better connections in La Tour De Carol

Why does it matter that the departure times on a local railway line in France have been altered?

Well if like us, you share an interest in taking spectacular train journeys, the fact the trains between La Tour De Carol to Toulouse, have a revised timetable is very welcome news indeed.

And that's because one of the most beautiful routes taken by regional trains in all of Europe, is the route from Barcelona to Toulouse via La Tour De Carol.

It's certainly the most spectacular route when travelling between France and Spain by train, but it's now become a lot easier to travel this way between Barcelona and Toulouse.

The revised schedule of trains on the La Tour De Carol ↔ Toulouse route, now provides multiple connections per day of under 30 mins, in each direction with the trains on the Barcelona ↔ La Tour De Carol route.

Yes it's still a longer journey than the alternative options, but it's a much more fabulous experience to travel this route - and if you'll be travelling with a rail pass, you can avoid any rail pass reservation fees.

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Changes on the Munich/Munchen ↔ Zurich route:
From a Munich to Zurich train

Not such welcome news is that the number of trains per day from Munich to Zurich and from Zurich to Munich has been reduced from four to three.

And for those who care most about fastest possible journey times, these three trains have all been diverted to take a longer route via Kempten, so the journey times have increased by 25 mins.

But for fans of scenic train journeys, the new route is much more beautiful, with the views of the GroBer Alpsee, pictured above, being a highlight.