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Travel Europe like a local—on a train!

The overall rail system of Europe is among the best connected in the world, linking all cities, towns, and even tiny villages on a vast network of railroad tracks. This network, however, is also a bit like a giant bowl of spaghetti, with national and international systems overlapping, and the series of largely state-run lines tangled up with a few strands of (sometimes competing) private rail systems. It can get confusing, We are here to help.

Each country “Trains” page will answer all of the basic questions you have about rail travel in that country. Which are the local lines and which the express? What does the alphabet soup of train classification abbreviations and acronyms mean? What sorts of trains require reservations in each country? What’s the difference between an ICE and a TGV? (Hint: Both are high-speed, but the first one’s German, the second French.) How do the night trains work? Which scenic and private lines are covered by your railpass? What are the major direct international connections in each country?

Here are the answers.