The Newslines from the November 2021 edition of the European Rail Timetable are reproduced here:-
Rail services across Europe are gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels and we are continuing to update our tables based on the latest information available. Services that remain suspended are indicated by either a note and / or a shaded column. International travel restrictions are also easing although readers are still advised to consult official government advice before making international journeys. Our Winter International Supplement, which will be found on pages 585 to 623, has been expanded and updated further with advance timings for most international tables valid from December 12.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a very challenging period for the whole travel industry with far fewer people making journeys over the past 18 months. As a result, sales of the European Rail Timetable have dropped considerably thus putting a severe strain on the company’s finances. Determined to preserve the future of the timetable, we have had to adapt and implement various changes during this difficult period to offset the lower income by reducing production costs. Regular readers will be aware that we suspended production completely during the early period of the pandemic and, more recently, have reduced the number of printed editions to lower overall production costs (which are much higher for printed editions). We realise that it could take time to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic and so have undertaken a review on how best to move the company forward. As a result, we will be implementing a number of production changes from the December 2021 edition. Most significantly, we will publish four printed seasonal editions per year, each of which will include all eight Beyond Europe sections, the Rail Extra feature and European rail pass information.
The printed editions will be published at the following times: Winter (December), Spring (March), Summer (June) and Autumn (September).
So that our printed timetables are fully recyclable, the cover of the seasonal editions will no longer be laminated.Digital editions will continue to be produced monthly with the December, March, June and September editions mirroring the printed versions. The other eight digital editions will include the latest European content, but will no longer include any Beyond Europe pages. Together with a few internal changes, we hope this revised production format will enable us to continue timetable production for years to come. As restrictions ease, we hope that our readers will soon be able to resume their travels around Europe (and beyond) by rail.
After 18 months being suspended, train 68/67 Kyiv Ekspres / Kiev Express Kyiv – Warszawa will resume on November 4 from Kyiv and one day later from Warszawa (Table 56).
The Isle of Wight railway between Ryde and Shanklin was finally due to re-open on November 1 following the delayed completion of major route upgrade work, together with the need for extra safety tests for the line’s new rolling stock. Refurbished former District Line underground trains (designated Class 484) now operate services along the route which runs with an improved frequency of every 30 minutes (Table 107).
The line between Exeter and Okehampton will gain regular services seven days a week from November 20 (Table 113).
Since March 1 the scenic cross-border line between Besanc¸on and Le Locle has been temporarily closed for major route upgrade work. From November 1 the section between Besanc¸on and Morteau will reopen to rail traffic, but the cross-border section between Morteau and Le Locle will remain closed until December 23. Table 376a has been updated with the latest schedules.
Spanish Railways plan to open the new 143 kilometre high-speed line between Sanabria AV and Ourense in December. The present journey time of 4 hours between Madrid and Ourense will reduce to just 2½ hours as a result.
Services continue to be reinstated on various routes across Spain and the relevant tables have now been updated. For example, a second daily Madrid – Granada AVE service is now available, but the weekly InterCity option between these cities has been withdrawn (Table 678a). Several services between Madrid and Pamplona have been retimed (Tables 650a and 654).
The second Porto to Vigo Celta service has resumed, thus providing an evening journey, once again, in both directions (Table 696).
Table 1235 has been updated with revised timings which have been in place since October 10.
In Table 1250, trains EC143 / 146 were suspended from October 8 until further notice.
The previously suspended IC trains in Table 1260 are now running again, but only between Budapest and Hidasnemeti.
A new high-speed timetable started from October 16 with an additional train pair added between Istanbul and Ankara, and another between istanbul and Konya (Table 1570). High-speed services are now close to pre-pandemic levels.
Ada regional express services between Istanbul Pendik and Adapazari are now running to and from Adapazarı’s town station once again, having been terminating in the outskirts of the town (at Mithatpasa) for a number of months due to engineering works (Table 1570).
UKRAINE and MOLDOVA
As is usual when the clocks change, Ukrainian Railways has revised a number of its timetables from October 31, so we have fully checked this section. Notably, IC trains Kyiv – Lviv – Przemysl (Tables 1700 and 1732) and the international service between Kyiv and Warszawa (Tables 1055 and 1725) have been reinstated. It has also been reported in the Moldovan press that an Odesa – Chisinau – Iasi train will be introduced in November, but we have not yet received any details.
This month’s Beyond Europe section features our North American tables which include some significant updates since this section last appeared in the September edition.
In December, VIA Rail’s Ocean service between Montreal and Halifax will have a second weekly journey restored in each direction (Table 9000). In April, the service along the Quebec – Windsor corridor is expected to return to 85% of pre pandemic levels, with a full service reinstated by June (Tables 9010 and 9015). The full trans-continental Canadian schedule is planned to return in May (Table 9050). VIA Rail has announced that from October 30 passengers aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated to travel on its trains.
In the United States of America, many Amtrak schedules changed in October, the most significant being in California. Pacific Surfliner services shown in Table 9320 have had a major overhaul from October 25 with additional services added and train numbers altered. In addition, services will operate to the same schedule every day rather than have separate timings for weekdays and weekends. The San Joaquin service in Table 9330 was enhanced to six round trips a day from October 18. Metrolink, which operates many services in California, re-issued its timetable from October 25 with numerous timing adjustments. Brightline services in Florida have been suspended since March 2020 but were scheduled to restart from November 1 (Table 9248).
Table 9 (Winter): In an exclusive arrangement with Eurostar, ski holiday specialist Travelski will be running its own dedicated train this winter between London St Pancras and Bourg St Maurice. Branded Travelski Express, it will only be available to passengers who purchase a Travelski holiday package which includes rail travel, resort transfers, accommodation and a seven-day ski pass. A Eurostar train has been hired and will run from London overnight on Fridays and return daytime on Saturdays in roughly the same timings and dates as Eurostar’s own service operated in previous years.
Table 10 (Winter): Eurostar has published a cautious advance timetable but may add further trains depending on how the travel market develops. From December 12 to January 8 Eurostar is initially planning to operate two or three services per day on the London to Paris route. Between London and Amsterdam it plans to operate a daily service supplemented with an additional service to Brussels on certain dates. From January 9 to February 5 it plans to operate two daily services to Paris and one to Amsterdam. We also understand that Eurostar will not be serving Ebbsfleet or Ashford stations until 2023.
Table 11 (Winter): All TGV services in this table have been updated with provisional timings.
Table 13 (Winter): French Railways plan to run two daily TGV services between Paris and Barcelona, with a third journey added during the peak summer period.
Tables 18, 20 and 21 (Winter): Thalys intend to reintroduce more services between Paris and Amsterdam /Koln meaning the overall service will be close to pre-pandemic levels.
Table 32 (Winter): Austrian Railways will operate a new Nightjet service between Paris and Wien, running three nights a week.
Table 60 (Winter): EC173/172 Hungaria Hamburg – Berlin – Praha – Budapest will be split, running Hamburg to Praha and Praha to Budapest, with no connection between the two. Overnight NJ 457/456 Berlin – Wien will be extended to Graz from June 12.
Table 61 (Winter): EN347/346 Dacia Wien – Budapest – Bucuresti will be rerouted through Romania via Timisoara and Craiova instead of via Brasov.
Table 73 (Winter): A new Nightjet will run between Amsterdam and Zurich via Frankfurt (Main).
Table 75 (Winter): Most EC trains between Munchen and Zurich have been accelerated in both directions by about 30 minutes with revised timings in Austria and Switzerland. A seventh daily service along the route has not yet materialised to plug the four hour gap in an otherwise two-hourly service. Until April 10, two services in each direction will not run between St Margrethen and Zurich.
Table 77 (Winter): EC57/56 Wawel Berlin – Wroclaw – Krakow will be extended to Przemysl.
Table 82 (Winter): The three Zurich – Milano services which extend to Venezia, Bologna and Genova will be switched around.
Table 91 (Winter): A new Intercity service, numbered 311/310, will be introduced between Budapest and Ljubljana via Graz. It is, in fact, an extension of the existing IC 926/915 service between Budapest and Szombathely. Initially we had a problem adding this new service in the international Table 91 but, by juggling a couple of stations around in the station bank, we have been able to fit it in. For those interested in how this has been achieved, compare the table on page 84 to the new version on page 622.
Table 99 (Winter): Overnight NJ 40456/407 Warszawa – Wien will be extended to Graz from June 12.
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