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Train stations in Europe are a mass of activity. If one train is going to be late, another may take its place at the platform.  Since the announcements will be in a language that you may not understand and the stations are quite noisy, be sure to read our article to find out how to make sure the train approaching the platform is the one you want to board.


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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Train travel – boarding the right train

Before you head for the platform for departing trains, check the station monitor to determine the time and track of the next train going to your destination. 

  • Many stations have multiple platforms and, if you are carrying luggage, you will not want to climb the stairs to the wrong one.
  • Once on the platform make sure that the schedule has not changed by paying attention the overhead displays which indicate the time and track number of the next few trains to enter the station.
    • In addition, the key towns along these trains' routes may be indicated on the sign.  
  • Where you might get in to trouble is when an announcement is made over the public address system about the schedule and you do not understand what was said.

 On a recent trip in the Netherlands, we were waiting for our train at the designated platform. The time for our train showed on the clock and a train pulled into the platform exactly on the schedule listed for our destination. The train, however, was going to another destination and hopping on board would have taken us far out of our way. We avoided taking this train based on two cues.

  • First, we watched the overhead sign, and the names on the overhead sign changed rapidly from our train’s destination to a new route.
  • Second, we scanned the train pulling into the station and the name of the destination on the train’s signage was not our destination.
  • If in doubt, name your destination to the conductor as a question. He will let you know whether to board the train.

 If you are traveling between countries, there is always the chance that somewhere along its path, the train will be broken-up, and cars routed to specific destination. It is critical that you site in the cars designated as traveling to your destination.

  • Be sure to check your ticket and board the train car that is signed for your destination. 
  • If in doubt, ask a conductor. 
    • If you do not know the language, merely show him your ticket and he will point the direction to your car.


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