New Train Services and Routes
The majority of European train timetables have an annual major update on the second Sunday in December
Thousands of specific departure and arrival times have been adjusted, usually by only a few minutes.
We need to check and update some departure times that we include on our 'Journey Information' so keep that in mind for the time being.
Over the coming weeks we will also be collating the adjustments that enable new journeys which involve a change of train and publishing an additional summary.
What we have been able to produce is a summary of the key changes to direct trains on popular routes.
Click on the links below to access further details of how you can now travel by on each of the affected routes.
SUMMARY OF MAJOR CHANGES:
- A new high speed line has transformed the Berlin to Munchen/Munich route;
- The train service between Wien/Vienna and Venezia/Venice has been doubled;
- New direct trains between Frankfurt (Main) and Milano;
- Daily direct trains between Zurich and Venezia/Venice:
- The overnight train between Berlin and both Budapest AND Vienna/Wien has been withdrawn.
1: The headline news is the opening of the high speed line in Germany located between Erfurt and Nürnberg – a 190km long extension of the high speed line between Halle/Leipzig and Erfurt.
The new route has significantly reduced many journey times including enabling the fastest ever train service between from Berlin to München/Munich and from München/Munich to Berlin – newly introduced ICE-Sprinter services now travel between the two cities in under 4hr 5mins.
The regular service of ICE trains now take only 4hr 35mins – around 1hr 40mins faster than previously!
As a result of these changes, when travelling north from Venezia/Venice, it’s now possible to travel the full length of this spectacular route in daylight – and avoid the late night arrival in Wien/Vienna.
Other services/routes that are now also faster than ever before include:
Berlin to Nürnberg/Nuremberg
München/Munich to Leipzig
More ICE trains to and from Leipzig:
Another change connected to the high speed line is that the ICE trains which used to take a Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Ulm- Munchen/Munich route, now take a Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Ulm - Munchen/Munich route.
So now there are new direct ICE trains between Leipzig and both Stuttgart and Ulm.
And there is now an hourly service of ICE trains on the Berlin and Leipzig AND Frankfurt - Leipzig routes - so there are now around twice as many ICE trains in either direction on both of these routes.
Direct ICE trains between Berlin and Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport:
The gap left on the timetable on the route via Kassel has been plugged by a new route that provides Berlin with its first regular service of ICE trains to/from Frankfurt Airport/Flughafen - trains depart every other hour in both directions.
Views that are now avavailable when travelling from Venezia to Wien by direct train include these:
When heading south there is now an alternative to having to set an alarm clock in order to depart from the Austrian capital before 06:30.
This train service is now also operated by the rather fabulous Railjets.
3: The daytime* EC trains from Budapest to:
have had 20 mins cut from their schedules as the now arrive at and depart from Budapest-
These trains used to spend 20 mins travelling through the Budapest suburbs.
*The overnight trains between Budapest and both Praha/Prague and Warszawa/Warsaw will still depart from/arrive at Budapest-Keleti station.
4: The direct trains from Venezia/Venice to Zurich and Zurich to Venezia/Venice are now daily, they had previously only operated at weekends.
As a result there is now also a daily direct train service from Venezia/Venice to Lugano and from Lugano to Venezia/Venice.
6: The train service on the wonderful route between Zurich and Stuttgart now operates hourly in both directions.
7: There are now 7 x trains per day now from München/Munich to Praha/Prague and from Praha/Prague to München/Munich – there had previously been only 4 x trains per day in each direction.
8: There are now more trains than ever before between Stockholm and Göteborg and the total of non-stop trains per week has also been increased.
We’ll be making additions to this list as more timetable enhancements are confirmed - and a big thanks to the compilers of the wondrous European Rail Timetable for saving us and everyone else the bother of combing the timetables to spot the changes.
In Germany in both directions these trains also call at Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Freiburg and the train heading south to Italy also calls at Baden-Baden.
However, in Switzerland the southbound train takes a different route to the northbound train.
The train from Frankfurt also provides a service to Luzern and to Lugano, but the train from Milano travels via Stresa, Brig, Visp and Bern – so those locations now have direct trains to, but not from, Frankfurt.
Heading south you can see views like these:
Heading north you can see views like these:
The major change in 2016 was the significant reduction in overnight trains, particularly in Western Europe and unfortunately this negative impact on European overnight train travel has continued
1: The overnight train service in both directions between Berlin and both Budapest and Wien/Vienna has been discontinued.
There are still direct daytime trains from Berlin to Budapest and from Budapest to Berlin, but there are now no longer any direct trains between Berlin and Wien/Vienna.
To make a train journey from Berlin to Wien/Vienna and from Wien/Vienna to Berlin you will now have to travel during the day and change trains in Praha/Prague.
2: SNCF has also reduced the number of overnight train services it operates, with the most notable withdrawl being the 'Train Bleu' overnight service between Paris and Nice.
So now the only means of travelling between Paris and Nice by train is to travel by day on the TGV.
The city that seems to be the biggest loser in the timetable changes is Nice.
Along with the withdrawl of the of the overnight train between Nice and Paris other service changes include:
(i) The Lyria train service between Geneve and the south of France now only operates in both directions between Geneve and Marseilles - it now no longer travels beyond Marseille to/from Nice.
(ii) The daily Intercités train between Nice and Bordeaux has also been withdrawn in both directions.
As a result of these changes the only trains that call at Marseille en route between Nice and other cities in France are the TGV trains between Nice and Lyon/Lille.
The TGVs between Paris and Nice don't call at Marseille.
Another consequence of the discontinuation of the Lyria service beyond Marseille is that this train HAD a good connection in Lyon with the direct Eurostar from London (on the dates when it operates).
But now the only options for journeys by train from London to destinations between Toulon and Nice is to make connections in Lille or Paris.
FURTHER CHANGES IN 2018:
Some major updates to the timetable weren’t ready for the major timetable change and will take place during 2018.
The main further changes to come are:
1: From April 9 the Intercity Brussels service in both directions between Bruxelles and Amsterdam will be diverted from its current route to call at Breda.
These trains will then use the Dutch high speed line between Breda and Rotterdam, though they won’t travel the route at high speed - so will still be slower than the Thalys trains.
The Intercity Brussels service will also also be swicthed to using the high speed line between Rotterdam and Amsterdam so will no longer serve Den Haag/The Hague.
Though some direct trains between Bruxelles and Den Haag Centraal station will be introduced.
Connections between Bruxelles and other Dutch cities including Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Tilburg will then be available at Breda.
2: The Contournement Nîmes-Montpellier high speed line in France will be used by passenger trains from July 7th
When it opens some trains between Paris and Montpellier will be switched to the new line and will call at the new station Montpellier-Sud/Montpellier-Odysseum - which will be linked to the city centre by tram.
The prime beneficilary of the new line will be new Marseille - Avignon TGV - Montpellier - Toulouse - Bordeaux service of 2 x TGVs per deay in each direction, which will then supplement the regular service of IC trains on this route.
However, it seems as though the majority of TGVs which connect Paris and Lyon to Montpellier will still (initially) call at Montpellier-St Roch station.
3: The direct Eurostar services between London and Amterdam should commence at Easter 2018.
4. There had been a plan to suspend the direct train services in both directions between Oslo and Stockholm during the entirety of 2018 due to the need to carry out works on the line.
However, the commencement of the work has been seemingly deferred, with the new dates at which it is to be carried out, still to be confirmed.