Rail operators across Europe have been unveiling
their 2020 timetables over recent
weeks, with the switchover date to the
new schedules taking place in the early hours of
Sunday 15 December. But that doesn’t mean that
all the new services will start on that day. Some are
eased into the timetables either a little in advance
of that date — or sometimes only rather later.
So travellers eager to try out the new twice-weekly night train from Brussels to Vienna will have to wait until January 2020. The new train will leave Brussels at 18.04, reaching the Austrian capital at 08.27 next morning. By the end of 2020, this new Nightjet link will be running every night and will also be conveying through carriages from Amsterdam to Austria. As with all Nightjet services, there’s a choice of seats, couchettes or sleeping car accommodation. It’s a very welcome innovation, one which will please passengers from Britain heading to Austria and beyond. There’s a generous two-hour connection in each direction at Brussels Midi between the Eurostar (to and from London) and the new night train.
New Railjet services
Austria is very much the focus for a number of interesting new services. Starting 15 December 2019, there will be a new daily Railjet service from Vienna via Salzburg and Innsbruck to Bolzano. This will be the first time that ÖBB’s posh red Railjet trains have run on regular scheduled services over the Brenner Pass into Italy. Departure from Vienna is at 15.30, with the train stabling overnight in Bolzano and setting off on the return journey at 07.45 next morning. The travel time between the two cities is a shade under seven hours. The new service gives a welcome new daytime link between the largely German speaking Südtirol region of Italy and the Austrian capital. The only other direct train service from Bolzano to Vienna is a weekly overnight service, composed entirely of sleeping cars, operated by RZD Russian Railways.
Another interesting new Railjet service will be introduced in early May 2020 with the launch of a daily train from Graz via Vienna and Prague to Dresden and Berlin. This will be the first time that Railjet stock is scheduled to run regularly into eastern Germany with the happy reinstatement of direct trains between Saxony and Austria. This new train is additional to the two Berlin to Vienna trains introduced in 2018, both of which take quite different routes from the Railjet — the night train running via Wrocław and Ostrava, and the daytime service via Erfurt and Regensburg.