Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

France

Hungary

Netherlands

Poland

Sweden

Switzerland

A guide to Trains in Europe

An Introduction

Types of European train explained inc TGV, ICE, AV, AVE, EC trains in Europe, high speed trains, overnight sleeper, couchette trains. Save time and money.

In the majority of European countries trains have specific TRAIN TYPES (categories) which can help travellers identify which trains:

  • Are international
  • Travel on high speed lines
  • Are faster than other trains between two destinations
  • require rail pass users to pay supplements  Scroll down the page for supplement prices for Eurail and InterRail pass holders
  • Have compulsory reservations
  • Convey restaurants and/or other opportunities to purchase food/drink on board
  • Are overnight trains
  • Convey specific types of sleeping accommodation

For an inexperienced rail traveller in Europe train types can be bewildering, so below is a table with the basic information for the train types including what countries they operate in and whether they're international (operate in more than one country).
You'll find more information about each train type in the international or country sections to the left.

All international long distance day trains have a specific train type and you can find more information about these in the international trains section (to the left)

Scroll down this page to access our NEW GUIDE to which types of trains operate on the most popular European rail routes!

At the foot of the links to the left you'll find our unique guide to overnight trains in Europe.

Types of trains that travel on high speed lines are in bold type. Trains may not travel on a high speed line for the entire journey between two destinations, or by a high speed line at all between certain destinations.

Train Type Code Day Train Overnight
Train*
Country Supplement**
Alaris ALS X . Spain Yes
Alleo AEO X . International
France - Germany
Yes
EN Allegro ALG . X Italy/Austria .
Altaria ALT X . Spain Yes
Alvia ALV X . Spain Yes
ALX ALX X . International
Munich - Prague
No
Arco . . . Spain (all services
replaced by
IC trains)
Yes
Artesia . . . replaced by TGVFI .
Artesia . . X Discontinued
replaced by
Thello
.
Avant AVA X . Spain Yes
AVE AVE X . Spain Yes
AVE France - Spain AVEFS X . International
Spain-France
Yes
Berlin-Warsaw Express BW X . International Yes
City Night Line CNL . X International .
Corail-Lunea LUN . X France .
Corail Teoz IC* X now branded IC France Yes
Ekspress EX X . Poland Yes
Euro City EC X . International No
Euro City EC* X . Swiss-Italy Yes
. . . . . .
Euromed EM X . Spain Yes
EuroNight EN . X International .
Eurostar EST X . International (Yes)***
Estrella ESL . X Spain .
Express EX X . Czech Republic No
Frecciagento FA X . Italy Yes
Frecciabianca FB X . Italy Yes
Frecciarossa FR X . Italy Yes
FYRA . . . withdrawn/cancelled .
IC IC X . Belgium No
Inter City IC x . Czech Republic No
IC IC* X . France Yes
IC IC X . France No
IC IC X . Germany No
IC IC X . Hungary Yes
IC IC X . Italy Yes****
IC IC X . Netherlands No
IC(Regiotag) IC X . Norway Yes
IC IC X . Norway - Sweden Yes
ICN ICN X . Switzerland No
InterCity Direct ICD X . Netherlands
domestic trains
on high speed line
Yes
Inter City Notte ICN . X Italy .
ICE ICE X . Germany No
Lappland-staget LSG . X Sweden .
Lusitania LUS . X Spain - Portugal .
Lyria TGVL X . International
France - Switzerland
Yes
Lyn LYN X . Denmark No
Media Distancia MD X . Spain Yes
OBB Euro City OEC X . Austria No
OBB Inter City OIC X . Austria No
R-598 R598 X . Spain Yes
Railjet RJ X . International*****/
Austria
No
Regio REG X . Italy No
Snabbtag (X2000) Sn X . Sweden Yes
Super City SC X . Czech Republic Yes
SJ Night SJN . X Sweden .
Talgo 2000 T2000 X . to/from Spain
Talgo TLG X . Spain Yes
Thello TLO . X Paris - Milan - Venice .
Trenhotel THOT . X Spain .
TGV TGV X . France Yes
TGV France-Italy TGV-FI X . International
France - Italy
Yes
TGV France-Spain TGVFS X . Some trains are AVE Yes
TGV-Reseau TGVR X . Belgium to France Yes
Thalys THA X . International Yes
X2000 . . . replaced by
Snabbtag
.

*= reservation fees are payable on overnight trains
**= payable by rail pass users,but included within standard ticket prices for point-to-point journeys, so these trains can be more expensive than others which MAY operate on the same routes
***= rail pass users have to purchase separate tickets for travel on Eurostar trains
****= According to the Eurail and InterRail websites rail pass users don't have to reserve on IC trains, but the the ticket machines at Italian stations state that they are required. Therefore I strongly recommend ALWAYS reserving seats on Italian IC trains and in effect you're paying a 'supplement' by doing so

*****= Reservations compulsory for journeys to/from Budapest

Notes For Train Types

Not all European countries operate trains that have specific categories, but it's a good idea to check the train information for each country that you're planning to visit.

Not all train services have a specific type/category. However, for those that do we have referred to the train type/category whenever necessary on ThereByTrain.com, as they can be such a useful tool for planning rail journeys.

On routes on which more than two different types of train operate, the slower the train, the cheaper it is likely to be.

Therefore finding out about types of train can save you time and money.
The train types aren’t specific to one train on each route; they apply to ALL the trains between two destinations that meet a certain criteria.
For example all of the fast, air-conditioned trains between Venice and Milan are of the train type FB’, while all of the slower non air-conditioned trains are of the type ‘REG’.

The type of train is so important that we’ve used our own categories where necessary.
For example on ‘therebyrain.com’ trains marked as ‘local’ are trains on which supplements aren’t charged and call at the majority or all of the stations on a specific route.
As the types of local train across can be confusing I’ve termed the majority of slow trains as ‘local’ irrespective of what country they operate in.
Some of the trains referred to as 'Local' trains on ThereByTrain can in fact fact cover long distances.

Which trains operate on popular routes - NEW

ThereByTrain has produced a unique at a glance guide to the types of train that operate on routes from the most popular destinations in Europe.

How the table works

Supplements = DAY trains on which supplements must be paid by rail pass users (and on which an additional charge/reservation fee has been added to the journey ticket price).

Reservations= reservations are available.
On trains marked* reservations are particularly recommended for 2nd class rail pass users, seats can sell out on these trains.

Other express train = reservations not available

Figures in brackets = number of changes of trains required

More than one type of train operate on certain routes!

Route Supplements Reservations Other express
train (number
of changes)
Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PARIS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys . . (5) .
to Basel Lyria . . (3) .
to Barcelona TGVFS . . (3) .
to Brussels Thalys . . (3) .
to Cologne Thalys . . . .
to Lyon TGV . . Direct .
to Marseilles TGV . . (1) .
to Milan TGVFI . . . Thello
to Munich Alleo . . . CNL
to Nice TGV . . .
to Rome/Roma TGVFI & FR . . . n/a
to Zurich Lyria . . (4) .
Route Supplements Reservations Other express
train (number of
changes)
Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From AMSTERDAM . . . . .
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . EC . . .
to Brussels THA . IC . .
to Cologne . . ICE . .
to Copenhagen . EC/IC (2) . . CNL
to Munich/Munchen . . ICE(1) . CNL
to Paris THA . . (4) .
to Prague . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BASEL . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Brussels . EC . . .
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . (3) .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Strasbourg . EC . Direct .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BERLIN . . . . .
to Amsterdam . EC . . EN
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . EC/ICE . . .
to Hamburg . ICE . . .
to Munich . ICE . . CNL
to Prague . EC* . .
to Vienna . EC* . . EN
to Warsaw BWE (EC) . . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BRUSSELS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys . IC  . .
to Basel . EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE (1) . . .
to Cologne Thalys ICE . . .
to Frankfurt (Main) . ICE . . .
to Lyon TGVR . . . .
to Paris Thalys . (3/5) .
to Zurich . EC (1) . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BUDAPEST . . . . .
to Berlin . EC* . . EN
to Belgrade . EC* . . other
to Bucharest . . . EN
to Ljubljana . . IC (1) . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague . EC* . . EN
to Sofia . . . n/a
to Vienna . RJ* . . .
to Warsaw EC . . . EN
to Zagreb . IC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From COLOGNE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . .
to Basel . ICE or EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE . . .
to Brussels Thalys ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . ICE/EC (1) . . CNL
to Munich . ICE . . .
to Paris Thalys . . . .
to Prague . . . . CNL
to Vienna . ICE . . EN
to Zurich . EC* . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MILAN . . . . .
to Basel EC . . . .
to Geneva EC . . . .
to Munich/Munchen . . . . CNL
to Paris TGVFI . . . Thello
to Rome FR IC . . .
to Venice FB . . REG .
to Zurich EC . . (3) .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MUNICH . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE (1) . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Bologna . EC* . . .
to Budapest . RJ . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Ljubljana . EC (1) . . .
to Milan/Milano . . . . CNL
to Paris Alleo . . . CNL
to Prague . . ALX (bus) . .
to Rome . . . . CNL
to Venice . EC* . . CNL
to Verona . EC* . . .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN
to Zagreb . EC (1) . . .
to Zurich . EC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PRAGUE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . . . . CNL
to Berlin . . . . .
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . . . . CNL
to Copenhagen . . . . CNL
to Munich . ALX (bus) . .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN
to Warsaw n/a . . . other
to Zurich . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ROME . . . . .
to Florence FA/FR IC . REG .
to Milan FR IC . . .
to Munich . . . . CNL
to Venice FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VENICE . . . . .
to Florence FA IC . . .
to Milan FB . . REG .
to Munich . EC* . . CNL
to Paris . . . . Thello
to Rome FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VIENNA . . . . .
to Berlin . . . . EN
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . EN
to Ljubljana . EC . . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague .

RJ*

. . .
to Rome . . . . ALG
to Venice . . . . ALG
to Zagreb

IC

. . . .
to Zurich . RJ* . .

EN

Route Supplements Reservations

Other express
train (number of
changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ZURICH . . . . .
to Berlin . . . . CNL
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . EC* . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . (3) .
to Munich . EC . . .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN

Eurail Day Train Supplement Prices

These are GUIDE prices, and do not include booking fees that may be added at the booking office.

Trains in italic have limited numbers of seats available to Eurail pass holders, so book at the earliest opportunity.
You may not be able to pay a supplement if you leave booking it until a few days before your travel date (less likely to be an issue in Spain).
Check with a travel agent before you set off on your trip or visit a booking office/ticket desk at a major station as soon as you arrive in Europe
More information on booking supplements in advance here

Train Type Code 1st class 2nd class Notes
Alaris ALS €23.50*/ €6.50 The €10 does not include the optional meal
Alleo AEO €30* €13 TGV/ICE trains that operate between Paris and Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich
Altaria ALT €23.50*/€10 €6.50 The €10 fee does not include the optional meal
Alvia ALV

€23.50*/€10

€6.50 The €10 fee does not include the optional meal
Arco ARC €10 €6.50 Now REPLACED by IC trains
Avant AVA (€6.50) €6.50 All seats are 2nd class
AV AV . . Replaced by Frecciagento/Frecciarossa trains
AVE AVE €23.50* €10 .
EC Berlin-Warsaw Express BW €4 €4 .
EIC EIC . . free if arranged at ticket office prior to boarding
Euro City EC* €11 €11 On EC trains between Italy and Switzerland formerly branded 'Cisalpino'
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys between Czech Republic and Poland (payable in Czech Republic, Eurail passes not valid in Poland on this route.)
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys to/from Hungary and Poland and within Hungary and Poland
Euro City EC* €11 €7 On trains that cross the Austria/Italy border. Price is from Italy cheaper prices apply when travelling from Germany or Austria
Euromed EM

€23.50*/€10

€6.50

The €10 does fee does not include the optional meal

Frecciabianca FB €10 €10 .
Frecciagento FA €10 €10 .
Frecciarossa FR €10 €10 .
FYRA FYRA €6 €4 prices above are for international journeys
IC (Vienna -Venice) IC €20 €15 Payable in either direction
IC* (France) IC* €6 €6 not charged on all IC trains in France, the exceptions are trains between Paris and Normandy/Picardy and Pas-De-Calais
IC (Greece) IC €7.80-21.80 €5.70-16.20 price depends on distance
IC (Hungary) IC €2 €2 On IC trains in Hungary
IC (Norway) IC X €6.30 On IC trains in Norway 1st class pass holders don't have to pay supplements to travel in 'Komfort Class. 2nd class pass holders can travel 'Komfort' class if they pay a supplement of €11.40
IC (Stockholm-Oslo) IC €3 €3 .
IC (Poland) IC €3 €3 .
ICE (Sprinter) ICE-S €16.50* €11.50 Not charged on ordinary ICE trains
Lyria TGVL from €25 from €52* Prices shown are equivalent to cheapest discount fares between Paris and Basel/Geneva. Prices on Nice - Geneva trains are from €23/16
Media Distancia MD €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
R-598 R598 €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
Railjet RJ €3 €3 Required when travelling TO/FROM HUNGARY ONLY
Super City SC €7* €7 .
Talgo du Jour T2000 €43* €18
Talgo TLG €10 €6.50 .
TGV (within France) TGV

€9 or €18

€9 or €18

€9 limited in number when sold out the higher price applies. €18 supplements can also sell out in advance. Book as early as possible

TGV
(to/from Luxembourg)
TGV €6 €6 .
TGV (France - Italy) TGVFI €33-60 €48-80 These prices are the equivalent of the cheapest advance fares
TGV France - Spain TGVFS

€26.50

€34.50 Price depends on distance, examples shown are for Paris - Barcelona
TGV-Reseau
(between Brussels and France)
TGVR €5 €5 .
Thalys THA from €42 from €30

Thalys supplements are the equivalent of cheapest advance tickets and vary according to distance. Prices shown is cheapest possible supplement between Paris and Brussels

Snabbtag Sn €17* €7 .

On these trains seat reservation is compulsory and the supplement includes the seat reservation fee.
On supplements marked (*) the supplement includes a meal and a drink (approximately equivalent to the meals served on airlines to business class passengers). On Lyria trains this is available to passengers making international journeys only.
Supplements are not payable on many EC trains, but EC trains on which supplements are charged are marked on therebytrain.com as EC*.
For details of prices/special fares that are payable by Eurail pass holders on overnight trains see the therebytrain.com overnight train guide.

InterRail Day Train Supplement Prices

These are GUIDE prices, and do not include booking fees that may be added at the booking office.

Trains in italic have limited numbers of seats available to InterRail pass holders, so book at the earliest opportunity.
You may not be able to pay a supplement if you leave booking it until a few days before your travel date (less likely to be an issue in Spain).
Check with a travel agent before setting off on your trip or visit the booking office at a major station (that sells international train tickets) at the earliest opportunity.
More information on booking supplements in advance here

Train Type Code 1st class 2nd
class
Notes
Alaris ALS €23.50 €6.50 .
Alleo AEO €30* €13 ICE/TGV trains between Paris and Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich
Altaria ALT €23.50 €6.50
Alvia ALV €23.50 €6.50
Arco ARC €10 €6.50 .
Avant AVA (€6.50) €6.50 All seats are 2nd classs
AV AV . . Replaced by Frecciagento and Frecciarossa
AVE AVE €23.50* €10
Berlin-Warsaw Express BW from €4 from €4 .
EIC EIC . . free if arranged at ticket office prior to boarding
Euro City EC €11 €11 On EC trains between Italy and Switzerland formerly branded 'Cisalpino'
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys between Czech Republic and Poland
Euro City EC €3 €3
Euro City EC €11 €7

On trains that cross the Austria/Italy border. Price is from Italy cheaper prices apply when travelling from Germany or Austria

Euromed EM €23.50 €6.50 .
Frecciabianca FB €10 €10 .
Frecciagento FA €10 €10 .
Frecciarossa FA €10 €10 .
IC (Czech Republic) IC €3 €3 .
IC* (France) IC* €6 €6 not compulsory on all French IC trains
IC (Greece) IC €11.30 - £28.30 €11.90 - $35 price depends on distance
IC (Hungary) IC €2 €2 On IC trains in Hungary
IC (Norway) IC X €6.3 On IC trains in Norway 1st class pass holders don't have to pay supplements to travel in 'Komfort Class. 2nd class pass holders can travel 'Komfort' class if they pay a supplement of €11.4
IC (Stockholm-Oslo) IC €3 €3 .
IC (Poland) IC €3 €3 .
ICE (Sprinter) ICE-S €11.5* €1 .
Lyria TGVL from €25   from €52*

Prices shown are equivalent to cheapest discount fares between Paris and Basel/Geneva. Prices on Nice - Geneva trains are from €23/16

Media Distancia MD €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
R-598 R598 €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
Railjet RJ €3 €3 Required when travelling TO/FROM HUNGARY ONLY
Super City SC €8* €8 .
Talgo 2000 T2000 . . Train withdrawn
Talgo TLG €10 €6.50 .
TGV (within France) TGV €9 or €18 €9 or €18 €9 limited in number when sold out the higher price applies. €18 supplements can also sell out in advance. Book as early as possible
TGV France-Italy TGVFI €33-60 €48-80 These prices are the equivalent of the cheapest advance fares
TGV France - Spain TGVFS

€26.50

€34.50

Price depends on distance, price shown is for Paris - Barcelona AND Marseilles - Madrid, other prices include Lyon - Barcelona = €23/17.50 and Toulouse - Barcelona €15.50/12
TGV
(to/from Luxembourg)
TGV €6 €6 .
TGV-Reseau
(between Brussels and France)
TGVR from €9 from€9 Price now depends on distance travelled
Thalys THA from €42   from €30 Thalys supplements are the equivalent of cheapest advance tickets and vary according to distance. Prices shown is cheapest possible supplement between Paris and Brussels
Snabbtag Sn €17* €7 .

On these trains seat reservation

is compulsory and the supplement includes the seat reservation fee.
On supplements marked (*) the supplement includes a meal a

drink (approximately equivalent to the meals served on airlines to business class passengers).
On Lyria trains this is only served to passengers making international journeys.

Supplements are not payable on the majority of EC trains, now includes the EC trains on the Germany - Austria - Italy route, but EC

trains on which supplements are charged are marked on therebytrain.com as EC*.
For details of prices/special fares that are payable by InterRail pass holders on overnight trains see the therebytrain.com overnight train guide.