Crossing international borders by train

When I travelled across Europe by train, I crossed a few international borders. Some were simple, but others were more involved.

Arrival into Budapest by rail

The uneventful

My first border crossing by train was on my journey from Germany and Austria, and it was completely uneventful.

ICE 3 train arrives into Würzburg Hbf

As was that on my train from Austria to Hungary.

Arrival at Budapest Keleti station

All three countries form part of the Schengen Area, so no border checks occurred.

Papers please!

My first passport check was on my journey from Hungary to Romania.

CFR supplied locomotive ready to lead our train east from Budapest to Romania

Our train stopped at Lőkösháza on the Hungarian side of the border.

Border crossing for our train at Lőkösháza, Hungary

Where border officers checked our passports.

Hungarian police check our train at Lőkösháza station, on the Romanian border

We then stopped at Curtici on the Romanian side, so that their border staff could complete the same checks, and giving my passport a nifty little stamp with a train on it.

Changing gauge at the bogie exchange

On my journey from Romanian to Ukraine, we didn’t just need to stop for border formalities – our train also had to change gauges.

Spare wheelsets beside the bogie exchange facility at Vadul Siret

Europe predominantly uses 1,435mm standard gauge, while the railways of the former Soviet Union use 1,524 mm broad gauge. As a result at Vadul Siret our train was split up into individual carriages, lifted up by jacks, and the bogies swapped over.

And a crossing that no longer exists

I also caught a train from Ukraine to Russia to Rostov-on-Don.

'1118km' post on the Ukrainian Railways

Our passports were checked during our stop at Успенская station in the village of Авило-Успенка (Avilo-Uspenka).

But all that has changed since the 2014 Russo-Ukrainian War – today the only trains between the two counties head directly to Moscow.

Footnote: crossing from Poland and Germany

One rail crossing between Poland and Germany is the bridge over the Oder River.

Marked by a post in national colours at each end.

The bridge is the busiest rail crossing between the two counties, with around half of all border crossings using it.

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1 Response to Crossing international borders by train

  1. Andrew says:

    Not a redgum sleeper to be seen. We only ever had border crossing bother, severe questioning, in Brussels before Eurostar to London. I think Brussels Eurostar is English border control.

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