Current state of East Europe rail system?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Feb 12, 2013 2:17 AM Last Post By: neckervd
Dec 12, 2012 7:30 AM
Current state of East Europe rail system?Hi all,
I'm looking to travel in Eastern Europe, starting out in Greece/Turkey and working my way up...I'll be traveling for about a month, and I'm flying out of Frankfurt (I've traveled much of this area, studied abroad this semester there) on Feb. 8th..Anyways, I was wondering if the Eurail has become a viable option? Or are buses still head above heels?
I know this is commonly asked, but I can't find much response in the last couple of years.
Dec 12, 2012 8:26 AM
1Welcome, I'm not sure what you mean by ".....if the Eurail has become a viable option?"
I've taken the train throughout much of central / eastern Europe with no problems. I've also taken the bus. I make my choice based on schedule, fare and the scenery along the route, but I find either can be a very good way to travel.
Dec 12, 2012 8:32 AM
Dec 12, 2012 8:34 AM
Dec 12, 2012 8:46 AM
4Greece: trains are alternatives to buses only
along the main line Pireaus - Athens - Lamia - Thessaloniki - Alexandroupolis,
around Athens (up to Korinthos).
There are no trains to the borders of Macedonia, Bulgaria or Turkey.
Turkey - Europe: there is 1 scheduled night train from Istanbul to Divitrovgrad (Bulgaria), from where some wagons seem to continue up to Sofia whereas others go to Ruse - Bucuresti. This train has been replaced by a night bus up to the Bulgarian border due to works along the railway line. It cannot be completely excluded, that the train runs again since last Sunday. In any case, you have to leave the train or the bus in the middle of the night at Kapikule border station and queue for the passport control.
Serbian railways have drastically reduced the number of trains last Sunday (that's at least what they announced). There have also been some cuts in Croatia.
Conclusion: train is still an option (except Peloponissos, Thessaloniki - Veles, Thessaloniki - Kulata and Pythion - Svilengrad), but the service got worse in the last years.
Dec 12, 2012 12:12 PM
5No international Greece trains, you need to change close to the border.
Eastern European trains are generally very efficient, but cheap, old and slow.
Dec 13, 2012 12:42 AM
6just a small info, to be more precise about Serbian railways and their updated schedules.
Since 9th of December 2012, there's one less train to Budapest, no direct train to Bucarest (but there is a connection if you change trains in Vrshac and Timisoara), no train to Sarajevo anymore, and 4 out of 5 trains that went to Zagreb and further on are no more running.
The reason for canceling Sarajevo train and almost all trains that went over Croatia is decision of Croatian Railways to set transit railway charges much much higher than reasonable, which automatically turned back many international trains running over there.
Dec 13, 2012 5:34 AM
I mean to ask if the eurail is worth the cost (455 euros for one month) versus getting around via bus
I'm going to recommnend option 3 : take the trains, but pay as you go.
I'm not sure what countries you're planning on visiting, but Eastern European trains are still stunning cheap compared to Western European / UK ones.
For the train to Frankfurt - book in advance. German trains are pricy, but you can get some great advance fares ( they start at 29 Euros if booked far enough in advance )
FYI : check the status of Greek trains before you go out there : I've heard lots of routes are being cut back as they can't afford to run them anymore.
Feb 11, 2013 6:30 PM
Feb 12, 2013 2:17 AM
9If you have a look at the timetable of Bulgarian railways, you see that no trains are offered between Mihaylovo and Dimitrovgrad (sbout half an hour by car). Therefore trains are diverted either via Sofia or via Plovdiv.
If you want to do all by train, you may take a shortcut directly to Plovdiv (instead of the itinerary via Sofia), but with the same journey time and 4 train changes.
I suppose a bus ride would be the best solution.
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