Special offer: There are no booking fees between 29 July - 31 December 2020. Read COVID-19 updates on European train services here. Sonderregelung: Vom 29. Juli bis 31. Dezember 2020 erheben wir keine Buchungsgebühren. Lies Coronavirus-Updates über Zugverbindungen in Europa hier. Offre exceptionnelle: Pas de frais de réservation entre le 29 juillet et le 31 décembre 2020. Lisez notre page dédiée aux nouvelles sur le Covid-19 et les conditions de circulation en Europe ici. Offerta speciale: Non sono previsti costi di prenotazione nel periodo tra il 29 luglio e il 31 dicembre 2020. Leggi gli aggiornamenti COVID-19 sui servizi dei treni in Europa qui. Oferta excepcional: No hay gastos de gestión entre el 29 de julio y el 31 de diciembre de 2020. Lea las actualizaciones sobre COVID-19 y los servicios de trenes europeos aquí. Oferta especial: não há taxas de reserva entre 29 de julho - 31 de dezembro de 2020. Leia as atualizações sobre o Covid-19 e os serviços ferroviários europeus aqui.
Trains that get shunted onto ferries

Trains that get shunted onto ferries

There are famous bridges and tunnels that allow trains to travel across the sea, but there are only a handful of places where the train gets shunted onto a ferry. It sounds like something out of a child’s toy train set, but actually it’s for real.

There are only two routes left in Europe where this engineering spectacle takes place. There was, until 14 December 2019, a third between Hamburg in Germany and Copenhagen in Denmark however, sadly, it has been retired. This fantastic route once transported train travellers onto the ferry, which then took them across the Fehmarn Strait between Puttgarden in Germany and Rødby in Denmark. 

Now, you will still be able to take a train between these two countries, but it will take an overland route via Odense and across the Storebælt Bridge. Until a tunnel is built across the Fehmarn Strait that is, but that is at least a decade away. 



The two journeys that are still in operation where you can do this track to ship trick are between Italy’s mainland to the island of Sicily, and from Germany to Sweden. The former is one of Europe’s best kept train secrets, the train being shunted onto the ferry at Villa San Giovanni on the mainland then off again at Messina on Sicily. The train will then take you all the way to Sicily’s capital in Palermo, which means that you can travel direct by train from as far as Rome to Palermo which takes around 11 hrs, sometimes for less than the price of dinner out. 



The Germany to Sweden ferry train makes up part of the Berlin to Malmö train journey, a sleeper train which only runs in the late spring and summer and which is shunted onto a ferry to cross between Sassnitz in Germany and Trelleborg in Sweden. We don’t sell this ticket so you need to buy it directly from Snälltåget, the Swedish rail operator.


Photo Credits: Railway tracks to Swedish ferry, iStock ©Lbrix, train viaduct in Sicily iStock ©CaptureLight

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