For each country in the Guide the following information is provided:
- Country Name
- National Railway System
- Official Website
- UIC Code
- Rule of the Road
- Other Railways
- Tourist Lines
- Funicular Railways
- Special Notes
- Recent and Future Changes
- Border Crossings
- Lines with obscure or sparse passenger services
- Abbreviations Used
The first group of headings give general information about each country and its railway systems.
The name of the country is given, together with the form (or forms) used within that country.
National Railway System
The name of the national railway system is given or more than one name if several language versions are used. The abbreviation of the name as commonly employed is also given. This abbreviation will usually appear on wagons and coaches owned by the railway concerned as well.
Generally this is a link to the main passenger information website for the National Railway System of the country. Links to websites for Other Railways can be found in that section.
This is simply the language commonly (or officially) spoken in the country concerned. There may be more than one language in this category, but some minor variations are not mentioned.
The main currency unit is named. 16 of the 27 members of the EU are part of the Eurozone following the conversion of Slovakia on 1 January 2009. Lithuania is likely to be next, possibly in 2011 or 2012.
The International Union of Railways (UIC) specifies that rail vehicles capable of making international journeys carry, as part of their numerical identification details, a code which corresponds to the country of ownership. Recently an alpha code has also been added. This section details these codes. See also Wikipedia entry.
The name of the timetable book containing services of the state railway system is given, together with some notes on its content (whether bus and other services are included, for example), comments on the use of languages (other than that commonly used in the country) in it and its frequency of publication. Where timetables are available from the appropriate railway offices in London, this is noted. The type and general quality of the map(s) provided with the timetable book are noted.
The normal gauge used by the state railway concerned is given, and brief details of lines not conforming to the general gauge are noted. "Standard" means 1435 mm (4 ft 8½ in). For technical reasons, some railway administrations widen or narrow the "nominal" gauge, and this gives rise to discrepancies in the quoted figures; those given are taken from official sources wherever possible.
The principal system of electrification is specified in terms of electric potential ("voltage"), and whether direct current (d.c.) or alternating current (a.c.). Current collection is assumed to be from overhead wires unless otherwise stated. Brief notes on any nonstandard arrangements are given. Details of cross-border arrangements, where appropriate, are given in the Border Crossings file.
Rule of the Road
In Britain trains usually keep to the lefthand track of a double line of railway, and it is this arrangement that is meant by the rule of the road. In some countries where there is very little double track any rule is of less significance since in almost all the countries surveyed there is no fixed rule about which track is used at passing loops on a single line route. In other countries reversible working is common and it may not be at all obvious which is the "normal" arrangement. Where the word "varies" appears under this heading, this situation is implied. Other countries with a wellestablished "rule" but having a certain amount of reversible working ("banalisation" is the French term for this) are distinguished by a note to that effect.
The next group of headings comprise notes on passenger services, and details are given for each country of recent and proposed developments (including opening and closing of lines).
A list of other passenger carrying railways in the country is given, with an indication of gauge (if not standard), name of the owning organisation, and other points of interest. This list is as complete as possible for those railways operating a regular passenger service, but for some countries information is not readily available. Freight only lines are not normally listed; if tourist trains only are operated, then the line will appear in the list under Tourist Lines.
Only the more significant and currently operational tourist or preserved lines are listed. Some of these tourist lines carry normal freight traffic (run in some cases by a different operator), and it is important to note that the frequency of service on tourist lines can vary greatly, from many days in the year to perhaps only one or two.
A list of towns and cities with a local railway service not operated by the state system is given. See also Links - Metros, Trams and Trolleybuses.
A list of towns and cities with tram services appears under this heading. Sometimes the distinction between "light" rapid transit (interurban trams) and "heavy" rapid transit (Metro) is not clear, and so some systems might appear under either the "Metro" or "Trams" headings. See also Links - Metros, Trams and Trolleybuses.
See Links - Metros, Trams and Trolleybuses.
- Bruse's Funiculars - is an excellent source of data on funicular railways around the world.
Particular notes on railway or more general matters not covered elsewhere are given here. Any special hazards of the country concerned are mentioned.
Details are given of available railway maps, other than those used for internal purposes by the railways and not available to the public. Many detailed maps are published by Quail Map Company, 31 Lincoln Road, Exeter EX4 2DZ, UK. Additionally, available maps are listed by and can be ordered on line from Transport Diversions Emporium. See also M.G.Ball's European Railway Atlas.
Recent and Future Changes
Any known developments (e.g. electrification, new lines, branch line closures) are given here. Obviously the list is unlikely to be exhaustive, and may indeed be wrong. In most cases openings, electrifications and closures which have taken place recently are given here.
A list of Border Crossings between the countries in Europe is given, with electrification details where appropriate.
Lines with obscure or sparse passenger services
Services given here are over sections of line which carry a very restricted service or those not easily recognised from the timetable concerned ("unusual lines"), and their selection is therefore somewhat arbitrary. Train details are nearly all taken from public timetables. In some cases the routing given is to some extent speculative and has not been checked by observation, although it does seem probable. Where there is considerable doubt, this is indicated. The compilers would be pleased to hear from any reader with more definite information.
In general routes which are simply "main line connections" or which concern fairly minor deviations or which serve isolated sections of stations may be omitted here.
Only outline information is given about the days of operation of these trains, so it is essential that users check all trains and dates of operation with a current timetable before committing themselves to travelling on these services.
Countries are listed alphabetically. Each route entry is given an identification number for reference purposes; e.g. the first entry for Belgium for the 2005/6 timetable year is referred to as BE06/1. These entries are usually approximately in official timetable order. The extremities of the line are given as the passenger stations nearest to any junctions concerned. Where known, the actual junction names are given in parentheses ( ) following the station name. These may be identified by the prefix Bif (French: = Bifurcation; Spanish: = Bifurcación; Portuguese: = Bifurcação) or Y (Belgium) or Abzw (German: = Abzweigstelle - a brief Guide to German railway terminology is available). Under many of these headings, reference to table numbers in the timetable book is given in square brackets [ ].
Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). Generally this refers to the European Railway Atlas by M.G.Ball in the original printed editions published by Ian Allan. For countries with recent updates this refers to the modern electronic version, and to indicate this the map reference is prefixed "ERA". For some countries, an additional map reference may be given in italic: for Austria, Germany and Switzerland (and for future updates Italy and Slovenia) the Schweers+Wall Eisenbahn Atlas, and for the Czech Republic the Malkus Atlas Drah Ceské Republiky.
Trains are listed by train number (in italics) and are usually given their true originating stations, unless the train originates at several places, in which case what appears to be the principal originating station is quoted. Terminating stations are normally given unless the train serves several places. In cases where a train originates some distance from the section of line concerned, the time is given for the last stopping place before that section, rather than at the station where the train starts (sometimes both are given). In the lists of trains, station names are sometimes abbreviated, provided the meaning is clear, in order to save space.
No special indication is given for trains which do not convey seating accommodation (i.e. those with couchettes or sleeping cars only) and users should check the timetable for this restriction.
A list of services (without train times) which are particularly sparse by the standards of the country concerned is also given under this heading. Cross-border lines often fall in this category but are not specifically listed. The train count is usually that for three mid-week days and may be different on market days or at weekends. There may be no trains on Sundays or public holidays.
Individual trains are sometimes marked with a code to draw attention to restricted days or dates of operation, or other important information. These codes are:
Dates D Only runs certain dates E Only runs certain dates during summer timetable period only H Only runs certain dates during winter timetable period only Days (unless otherwise shown, trains run every day of the week) M Monday T Tuesday W Wednesday Th Thursday F Friday S Saturday Su Sunday plus O only X excepted
Weekdays should be taken to mean Mondays to Saturdays, unless the context suggests otherwise. Public holidays (for which dates are usually shown in the country timetable) generally have a Sunday service or in some cases a modified service: check locally.
- (for example 17:34) This is how normal station stops are shown.
s (for example 17s56) Train stops only to set down passengers. Boarding at this station may not be allowed. u (for example 18u03) Train stops only to pick up passengers. Alighting at this station may not be allowed. Category (shown after the train title) A car carrier train which carries foot passengers AA car carrier train barred to foot passengers N unadvertised train
- Route subject to confirmation – it applied to the equivalent train in a previous timetable.