The fall & rise of the famous European Rail Timetable


European Rail Timetable - Click to buy online

Buy online

Published since 1873, the European Rail Timetable is a remarkable book, and an essential companion for any serious train traveller to Europe.  Originally the Thomas Cook European Timetable, in summer 2013 the Thomas Cook Group pulled the plug on their whole publications department, and the August 2013 edition was the last Thomas Cook Timetable they published, just months after celebrating 140 years of publication.  However, the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook staff put together a private venture to carry on publication, and it is now called simply the European rail Timetable.  Their first edition came out in March 2014 and you can buy the latest edition at  Highly, highly recommended!

European Rail Timetable - Click to buy online

Buy online

What does the European Rail Timetable contain?

Is it worth buying one?

If you're only making one journey from A to B and back, well of course you can find the necessary train times online these days.  But if you plan to make regular trips from the UK into mainland Europe several times a year, or are planning an extensive tour, then yes, it's definitely worth buying a copy.  Having your own comprehensive timetable allows you to plan at leisure in your armchair at home, and when travelling it puts you in control of your own trip.  It can save you hours in queues for station information desks or struggling with station timetables which show only the most basic information.  It's published monthly, although as European timetables only change twice a year in June & December, you don't need to buy one every month.  Just buying the June and December editions is sufficient for most travellers, although occasional updates and revisions happen in between.  In fact, even a European Rail Timetable that's two years out of date is far better than travelling blind!

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Example rail route map

This is a typical rail route map shown in the European Rail Timetable.  The numbers next to each rail line refer to the timetable for that route.

Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable - example route map

Example timetable

Here's an example timetable.  Don't worry, an explanation of how to read the timetables and of all the symbols is included at the front of the Timetable.  Each column is one train, and you read downwards (although in some cases a solid black bar under on train saves space by allowing another to be shown further down the same column).  Train number, train type, catering, and reference to any footnotes, are shown at the top of each column.  As you can see, like the railways themselves, the European Rail Timetable always uses local place names, 'München' for Munich, 'Wien' for Vienna, 'Bucuresti' for Bucharest.  You soon get used to this!  A crossed knife and fork means restaurant car, a goblet symbol means buffet refreshments.  '1-5' (the numbers in circles at the top of a column) means Mondays-Fridays, '6 7' means Saturdays & Sundays.  Easy, really...

Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable - example timetable

Example city maps...

It also includes simple but useful city maps showing stations and interchanges for some 34 European cities...

Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable - example city plans

Extracts used here with kind permission of Thomas Cook...

Railway Maps of Europe:  See the maps section here

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