[EU / Live] In the picture: #ConnectingEurope Express travels across Europe


We thank (in order of appearance) João Morgado, Nelso Silva, Iñigo Arranz, Pierre Colson, Romain Viellard, Enrico Bavestrello, Bahnfotos Austria, Herbert Pschill, Matej Pleško, Nino Belovič, Norbert Tilai, Norbert Pócza, Josip Petrlić, Mladen Žarković, Pierre Colson, Magalios Giannis, Konstantinos Kalpakidis, Andritsos Georgios, Xenophon Arampatzis, Krassen Panev , Ivo Radoev, Mihnea Cristian Paraschiv, Adrian Zarnoianu, and Tim Roux, Matias Lohmann-Quiñones, Sander Zwoferink, Rok Žnidarčič, Sasa Pahic Szabo, Tobias B. Köhler, Tomáš Vyplašil, Wouter Radstake, Fabien Perissinotto, and Marcus Schrödter, Kasper Dudzik, He Junyao, Henk Zwoferink, Sean de Jong, Vincent Prins, Gwenaël Piérart, Laurent Kaeffer, Romain Viellard, and Robert Schmitz for sharing their nice pictures with us. This article was originally published on 06.09.2021 and is being updated continuously.

New: Follow the CEE GPS tracker to find the train’s location in real-time and plan your pictures.

Announced in March, the Connecting Europe Express started its journey in Portugal just last week. At Railcolor News we decided to bring all the pictures into a single post, so make sure to bookmark this page. Let’s go!

The train

The six coaches that made up the train for the longest (normal gauge) part of the route were:

  • Ddmee 221 51 55 94-91 102-3 H-START
  • Bpmmbdz 284.1 61 80 84-91 102-2 D-DB
  • A9tu 61 87 10-92 011-6 F-SNCF
  • WR 61 83 88-90 110-9 I-TI
  • Apm 61 85 19-90 109-3 CH-SBB
  • WLABmz 61 80 72-91 017-7 D-ÖBB

In Spain and Portugal (Iberian gauge) a Talgo IV rake was used. Pesa-built DMU 730ML-002 of LTG ran its part in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In Poland, two PKP IC coaches were added.

Portugal: CP LE 5604 (and CP 5617)

João Morgado sent us the following view of the Talgo IV trainset for the Iberian Peninsula. It features the specially-themed EuroSprinter of CP, LE 5604 stickered with green side panels, promoting the #EUYearofRail:

CP 5604 and Connecting Europe Express in Portugal 03.09.2021 © João Morgado

However, the very first pictures of the CEE train were taken on 01.09.2021 by Nelso Silva, as seen in this article, showing the empty train’s transfer from Vilar Formoso to Lisbon:

CP 5617 with the Iberian gauge version of the Connecting Europe Express 01.09.2021 © Nelso Silva

Spain (and France): Renfe 252 075 + 047; SNCF 7296, 122319

Up next come Spain and France. In Spain, Renfe used not one but two Series 252 to allow faster transit of the blue Talgo train. That means EuroSprinters once again. First, there was 252 075 driving the train from Madrid’s Principe Pío station to Hendaye at the Spanish/French border.

252 075 of Renfe and the Connecting Europe Express in Spain 04.09.2021 © Iñigo Arranz

Hendaye is also that special place where the Iberian gauge (1668 mm) train met the one with standard European gauge (1435 mm):

The meeting between the Iberian gauge and the European-gauge Connecting Europe Express trains in Hendaye (FR) SNCF 7296 and 252 075 of heading the two trains © Pierre Colson

On the way back, a special sighting occurred, featuring 252 047 with “Renfe Integria’ stickers (added to the train from Irún to Hendaye to avoid additional shunting). According to Iñigo Arranz, the ‘sandwich’ set-up below is quite a rare sight in Spain:

252 047 + 075 of Renfe and the Connecting Europe Express in Spain 04.09.2021 © Iñigo Arranz

On the next day, Pierre Colson caught the normal-gauge trainset in Névian (FR), between Bordeaux and Chambéry. Notice the panorama car included in the six-car consist:

The Connectin Europe Express, headed by SNCF’s 122319, seen in Névian (FR) 05.09.2021 © Pierre Colson

Although we are seeing the train driving through France now, remember that according to the schedule, its official presentation there will be taking place only on 07.10.2021 in Paris which is the last stop of the journey.

Later the same day, Romain Viellard who was the lucky driver of the Connecting Europe Express (CEE) between Narbonne and Modane in France caught this view at the France-Italy border station. An E.402B electric took over the train:

E.402B 175 and the Connecting Europe Express in Modane (FR) 05.09.2021 © Romain Viellard

Italy: FS Italiane E.402B 175

On 07.09.2021, Enrico Bavastrello took this beautiful beach impression from Cavi di Lavagna in Italy’s Liguria. Pulled by two E.402Bs (that’s 12.000 kW!), the train during its transit from Milano Centrale to Roma Termini:

E.402B 175 and the Connecting Europe Express in in Cavi di Lavagna (Liguria, IT) 07.09.2021 © Enrico Bavestrello

Austria: ÖBB 1116 276

On 09.09.2021, coming from Bolzano (IT), the train made it to the Brenner mountain pass at the border between Italy and Austria. The beautiful panorama below by Bahnfotos Austria shows it passing by St. Jodok am Brenner:

1116 276 of ÖBB and the CEE, seen passing by St. Jodok am Brenner (AT) 09.09.2021 © Bahnfotos Austria

As expected, ÖBB took over with its #EUYearOfRail Taurus 1116 276. Here’s a close-up featuring ÖBB’s CEO Andreas Matthä doing a fist bump with the train driver:


It’s 10.09 and the CEE is en route to Bratislava with the newly-liveried 383 110 of ZSSK, which the operator is hiring from Rolling Stock Lease. Herbert Pschill took the beautiful photo below in Wilfleinsdorf (we’re still in Austria):

Rolling Stock Lease > ZSSK 383 110 with the Connecting Europe express seen in Wilfleinsdorf (AT) 10.09.2021 © Herbert Pschill

Slovakia: ZSSK 383 110

We saw the Slovak Vectron in Austria (above), and now it’s time to witness its arrival in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. The nice picture below comes from Matej Pleško just a few kilometers before Bratislava central station:

Rolling Stock Lease > ZSSK 383 110 with the Connecting Europe express seen in Bratislava Ružinov (SK) 10.09.2021 © Matej Pleško

Another beautiful view from Slovakia, again on 10.09.2021, but this time from Nino Belovič:

Rolling Stock Lease > ZSSK 383 110 with the Connecting Europe express seen by Bratislava Depo Hlavne (SK) 10.09.2021 © Nino Belovič

Hungary: GYSEV 193 837

On the next day, the train headed to Croatia passing through Hungary. Norbert Tilai caught two CEE locomotives: ZSSK’s 383 110 and 193 837 of GYSEV Cargo at the point of traction change, Rajka in Hungary:

383 119 of ZSSK and 193 837 of GYSEV Cargo in Rajka (HU) 11.09.2021 © Norbert Tilai

But the official presentation in Budapest comes only on 19.09.2021, so this is only a transit pass. Still, GYSEV Cargo’s specially foiled 193 837 makes for a nice addition to the train, especially with the blue gradient side facing the cars. The picture below was taken by Herbert Pschill and shows the train in the operator’s headquarters, Sorpon:

GYSEV Vectron 193 837 with the CEE departing from Sopron(HU) 11.09.2021 © Herbert Pschill

As reported by Norbert Pócza (who took the nice image that follows), there was actually a small event in Sopron, where GySEV’s CEO, Szilard Kovesdi, gave a speech about railway transport as the greenest and safest way of traveling. The CEE’s rout in Hungary was, as follows: Rajka – Csorna – Sopron – Szombathely – Zalaszentivan – Nagykanizsa – Gyekenyes.

GYSEV Vectron 193 837 with the CEE in Western Hungary 11.9.2021 © Norbert Pócza

Croatia: HŽPP 1141 389 + 390

On 12.09.2021 the official presentation of the CEE in Croatia’s Zagreb took place. And get this, the state passenger operator went the extra mile by branding two of its classic Class 1141 locomotives in a matching livery. Josip Petrlić brings us the following visual:

HŽPP 1141 389 & 1141 390 with CEE in Dugo Selo, 12.9.2021 © Josip Petrlić

Curious fact: Did you notice it? One car (the French) is missing from the train. It was removed from the consist due to technical failure shortly before departure from Croatia towards Serbia, Josip Petrlić told us. However, we expect it to reappear soon!

Serbia: Srbija Voz 441 601 + 751

A breathtaking view from Serbia follows. It was taken in the village of Parcani by Mladen Žarković (check out his Facebook page). The CEE passed from there on 13.09.2021, hauled by Srbija Voz’s ASEA-designed 441 601 and 751:

The CEE lead by 441 601 and 751 of Srbija Voz seen in Parcani (RS) 13.09.2021 © Mladen Žarković

Northern Macedonia

Ealy in the morning of 14.09.2021 the train was seen in North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje. We’re still working to get a visual from there. In the meantime, let’s focus on the next stop:

Greece: TrainOSE 120 021 and 220 007

There is something about first-generation EuroSprinters and southern countries don’t you think? Portugal and Spain gave the start of this unique Crusade with such locos, and now Greece follows with TrainOSE’s Class 120 leading the CEE. Thanks to Pierre Colson we publish not one but two photos of the train, both taken in Acharnes on 14 and 15.09 respectively. Enjoy!

EuroSprinter 120 021 of TrainOSE with the CEE in Acharnes (GR) 15.09.2021 © Pierre Colson

Two more pictures follow by Magalios Giannis and Konstantinos Kalpakidis:

EuroSprinter 120 021 of TrainOSE with the CEE in Aiginio/Pieria (GR) 14.09.2021 © Magalios Giannis
EuroSprinter 120 021 of TrainOSE with the CEE in Aiginio/Pieria (GR) 14.09.2021 © Konstantinos Kalpakidis

On its way to Kulata in Bulgaria, the train was hauled by TrainOSE’s ADTranz-built 220 007. Two more beautiful landscapes by Andritsos Georgios and Xenophon Arampatzis show the train with the diesel traction:

220 007 of TrainOSE with the CEE near Metalliko (GR) 15.09.2021 © Andritsos Georgios
220 007 of TrainOSE with the CEE at the Gallikos railway bridge in Nea Filadelfeia Thessaloniki (GR) 15.09.2021 © Xenophon Arampatzis

Bulgaria: BDZ PP 80 044 “Tzar Kaloyan”

From first-generation EuroSprinters to Smartrons, we shift to Bulgaria where the first representative of Siemens’ Vectron platform took over the train. On the night of 15.09.2021 the recently delivered “Tsar Kaloyan” or 80 044 of BDZ PP pulled the train from Kulata at the border with Greece to Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia:

80 044 “Tsar Kaloyan” of BDZ PP with the CEE in Sofia 15.09.2021 © Krassen Panev

On 16.09.2021 the journey continued towards Romania through the beautiful Iskar Gorge. Ivo Radoev caught these pictures of the train at the station in Svoge. We have another match between the locomotive and the train’s liveries with the Green Force design for BDZ PP. And guess what – the missing car is back!

80 044 of BDZ PP with the CEE in Svoge (BG) 16.09.2021 “Tsar Kaloyan” © Ivo Radoev

An aerial view from the same location follows and Ivo Radoev also made a video which you can check by clicking here.

80 044 of BDZ PP with the CEE in Svoge (BG) 16.09.2021 “Tsar Kaloyan” © Ivo Radoev

Romania: CFR 640 943 and 990

Diesel power action followed in Romania, and electric traction in Arad followed from where the train was sent to Hungary. Mihnea Cristian Paraschiv brings us the following view of the train from Bartolomeu near Brașov in Romania, showing the train on its way to Sibiu:

640 943 & 990 with the CEE in Bartolomeu (RO) 18.09.2021 © Mihnea Cristian Paraschiv

Update 22.09.2021: Thanks to Adrian Zarnoianu we bring you also an image of the CEE featuring CFR Calatori’s 200-km/h Phoenix 473 004 that was built by Softronic in Craiova. The moody image below shows the train passing through Bobolia on 18.09.2021. The locomotive pulled the Express between Bucharest and Brașov.

473 004 of CFR Calatori with the CEE in Bobolia (RO) 18.09.2021 © Adrian Zarnoianu

Hungary: MÁV Start 480 010

A lot happened on 19.09.2021. First, the train made its official visit to Hungary’s Budapest (the train was already there a few days ago), with the specially decorated 480 010 of MÁV Start in the lead. Two more countries and locomotives followed that same night! Thanks to Tim Roux we bring you visuals of all of them:

480 010 of MÁV Start with the CEE in Hidasnémeti (HU) 19.09.2021 © Tim Roux

A second pass also through Slovakia, this time with a freight electric: 363 095 of ZSSK Cargo:

363 095 of ZSSK Cargo the CEE in Košice (SK) 19.09.2021 © Tim Roux

Poland: PKP IC EU 160 – 015

And finally, arrival in Poland’s Muszyna station where the specially-foiled EU 160 – 015 of PKP IC took over. Today, the train will be presented in the country’s capital, Warszawa.

EU 160 – 015 of PKP IC with the CEE in Muszyna (PL) 19.09.2021 © Tim Roux

And tomorrow it’s Estonia, where the CEE will be moving on broad gauge. Expect a surprise there!

Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia: LTG Link 730ML-002

And now for the surprise: the second broad gauge version of the CEE (the first one we saw in Portugal and Spain) will be the Pesa-built DMU 730ML-002 of LTG Link of Lithuania. On 21.09.2021 the DMU left Estonia’s capital Tallinn bound for Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania).

730ML-002 of LTG Link as #ConnectingEurope Express in Tartu (EE) 21.09.2021 © Matias Lohmann-Quiñones

The featured pictures come from Matias Lohmann-Quiñones who spotted the train in Tartu, Estonia on 21.09.2021.

730ML-002 of LTG Link as #ConnectingEurope Express in Tartu (EE) 21.09.2021 © Matias Lohmann-Quiñones
730ML-002 of LTG Link as #ConnectingEurope Express in Tartu (EE) 21.09.2021 © Matias Lohmann-Quiñones

Poland: PKP IC SU160-004

As the CEE switched back to normal gauge there was a special meeting between two PESA-built vehicles in Kaunas in Lithuania – PKP IC’s SU160-004 and the LTG Link 730-002 which we saw earlier on. Thanks to Sander Zwoferink we have the following views, first from Kaunas:

The meeting between LTG Link’s 730ML-002 and SU160-004 of PKP IC with the CEE in Kaunas (LT) 22.09.2021 © Sander Zwoferink

And then also from Okunipwiec in Poland, from where the PESA Gama-hauled CEE passed on earlier the same day:

SU160-004 of PKP IC with the CEE in Okunipwiec (PL) 22.09.2021 © Sander Zwoferink

Slovenia: SŽ 342 014 and 027

On 24.09.2021 the CEE reached Slovenia. There, it was first pulled by the classic 342 014 which pulled the train to the country’s capital, Ljubljana. Check out the panorama below by Sasa Pahic Szabo:

SŽ 342 014 with the CEE, seen in Ljubljana (SI) 23.09.2021 © Sasa Pahic Szabo

Then another representative of the 342 series followed, this time it was 027. Rok Žnidarčič took this second beautiful panorama below in Marija Gradec:

SŽ 342 027 with the CEE, seen in Marija Gradec (SI) 23.09.2021 © Rok Žnidarčič

Austria #2: ÖBB 1116 276

On 24.09.2021, the CEE appeared in Austra for the second time. Once again it was hauled by ÖBB’s special 1116 276. The image below which was submitted by Tobias B. Köhler, shows the special train at Graz station:

1116 276 of ÖBB and the CEE in Graz (AT) 24.09.2021 © Tobias B. Köhler

Czechia:  ČD Cargo 388 001

We already know that ČD Cargo’s Vectron 388 001 was waiting for the train in Czechia. The CEE presentation in Prague took place on 26.09.2021.

383 001 of ČD Cargo with the CEE near Říkonín (CZ) 25.09.2021 © Tomáš Vyplašil

Germany: Alexa 223 068 & Alex 188 002

On 26.09.2021 the CEE briefly appeared in Germany on its way to Switzerland from Czechia. There, the Munich-bound train was spotted by Wouter Radstake. First, with Alexa 223 068 in Schwandorf:

Alexa 223 068 with the CEE in Schwandorf (DE) 26.09.2021 © Wouter Radstake

And then electric power with Alex 183 002 in Hagelstadt (DE) followed:

Alex 183 002 with the CEE in Hagelstadt (DE) 26.09.2021 © Wouter Radstake

Switzerland: SBB Re 460 087

In Switzerland, where the CEE was presented on 27.09.2021, SBB allocated its Re 460 087 for the #ConnectingEurope Express. Thanks to Fabien Perissinotto, we bring you this beautiful panorama featuring the Rhine Bridge in Eglisau (CH) from 27.09.2021:

Re 460 087 of SBB with the CEE in Eglisau (CH) 27.09.2021 © Fabien Perissinotto

Germany’s Berlin is the next stop for the train and we several different locomotives hauling the train there. Updates will follow very shortly so make sure to check back.

Germany: DB 101 057

While more and more 101’s are being currently decommissioned, DB decided to give a special European livery to 101 057 on the occasion of the CEE. Below, the sparkling white 101 057 is seen near Heidelberg on the way between Basel and Frankfurt on 28.09.2021:

101 057 of DB with the CEE near Heidelberg (DE) 28.09.2021 © Wouter Radstake

At the same time, the not that attractive 101 030 was also spotted pulling the train. The official presentation in Berlin is taking place today, and Copenhagen follows on Friday. Below, another view of the CEE in Germany, this time lead by 193 360 of DB Cargo (and yes 101 057 is in the back). The picture was taken by Marcus Schrödter in Radefeld (DE).

193 360 of DB Cargo leading the CEE train with 101 057 of DB in the back 29.08.2021 seen in Radefeld (DE) © Marcus Schrödter

Did you know that DB Cargo has more European Vectrons in its fleet? Read about them all in our dedicated article here.

Denmark: DSB EB 3220 / Hector Rail 241 011

Denmark followed next and there DSB had the chance to promote one of its brand new DSB Vectrons. EB 3220 pulled the train from Padborg to Copenhagen, albeit by night. On 01.10.2021 the train and the locomotive were officially presented at the central station in Denmark’s capital. As the train stayed in the station, another electric locomotive was coupled on its end…

EB 3220 of DSB with the CEE at Copenhagen central station 01.10.2021 © Konstantin Planinski

This was 241 011 “C-3PO” of Hector Rail, needed to continue the journey towards Sweden. Below, the train is seen passing near Ørestad:

241 011 of Hector Rail with the CEE near Ørestad (DK) 01.10.2021 © Konstantin Planinski

Sweden: SSRT Rc6 1325 + 1323

After the train arrived with Hector Rail in Malmö, SSRT’s Rc6 1325 and 1323 took over for the leg towards Stockholm and back. Kasper Dudzik brings us a view of the train from Stockholm’s central station on 02.10.2021:

Rc 6 1325 and 1323 of SSRT at Stockholm central station (SE) on 02.10.2021 © Kasper Dudzik

This is followed by a beautiful urban cityscape that He Junyao submitted. In the background, the image features Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (Old town), plus a Tunnelbana (metro) train type C20, and the huge project Stockholm new Slussen is under construction:

Rc 6 1325 and 1323 of SSRT passing through Stockholm Gamla Stan (SE) on 02.10.2021 © He Junyao

The Netherlands: NS 1752 / Akiem > NS 186 008

Yes, the weather was quite bad in the Netherlands but we received an overwhelming amount of pictures from there, for which we are very thankful. Unfortunately, we need to keep the article as short as possible so here is a selection of three images. First up, the Alsthom-built NS 1752 is speeding in the rain through Holten (NL) – picture by Henk Zwoferink:

The CEE with NS 1752 in Holten (NL) 03.10.2021 © Henk Zwoferink

Sean de Jong shows us the train’s arrival in Amsterdam Centraal Station with the classic electric locomotive in focus:

The CEE with NS 1752 at Amsterdam Centraal Station (NL) 03.10.2021 © Sean de Jong

Finally, we have a view E 186 008 Bombardier TRAXX MS2e which NS is renting from Akiem leading the train to Amsterdam Muiderpoort:

The CEE with Akiem > NS 186 008 at Amsterdam Muiderpoort (NL) 03.10.2021 © Vincent Prins

On 04.10.2021, the train headed towards Belgium with the same E 186 008, but this time there was sun on the road – as seen from Gwenaël Piérart’s photo, taken in Zevenbergen (NL):

The CEE with Akiem > NS 186 008 seen in Zevenbergen (NL) 04.10.2021 © Gwenaël Piérart

Belgium: SNCB 1886

In Belgium, the ES60U3 modification of Siemens’ EuroSprinter took over the train; the view below comes from Duffel in Belgium:

The CEE with SNCB 1886 seen in Duffel (BE) 04.10.2021 © Gwenaël Piérart

And this beautiful sunset image marked the CEE’s arrival at Schaerbeek station (BE):

The CEE with SNCB 1886 seen in Schaerbeek (BE) 04.10.2021 © Gwenaël Piérart

The official presentation in Belgium’s capital Brussels also took place on 04.10.2021.

Luxembourg: CFL 3019

Gwenaël Piérart is successfully chasing the CEE, and his latest images come from Luxembourg where the train was presented yesterday. There, it was pulled by the Alstom-manufactured 3019 of CFL. Check out this nice cloudy view from Livange:

CFL 3019 with the CEE in Livange (LU) © Gwenaël Piérart

Followed by a stop at Bettembourg station:

CFL 3019 with the CEE at Bettembourg station (LU) © Gwenaël Piérart

One last country remains before this epic journey completes. This is France where the presentation is scheduled for tomorrow. SNCF’s classic 22317 has been already spotted with the train. Check back for what could be one of the last updates to this long article.

France: BB 22317

Although its official presentation in Paris is taking place today, the CEE made it to France last night. The following images by Laurent Kaeffer and Romain Viellard were both taken in Strasbourg 06.10.2021 – one in daytime and one in the night. BB 22317 of SNCF is in the lead.

The Connecting Europe Express, headed by SNCF’s BB 22317, seen in Strasbourg (FR) 06.10.2021 © Laurent Kaeffer
The Connecting Europe Express, headed by SNCF’s BB 22317, seen in Strasbourg (FR) 06.10.2021 © Romain Viellard

Before showing you the final stop in Paris, we take a peek at Uckange, which is located between Thionville and Strasbourg in France, through the lens of Robert Schmitz. This well-planned image says a lot. The last remaining blast furnace from the now-defunct cast iron factory at Uckange may look scary, but it does remind us that times are changing and railways are heading to a cleaner and more climate friendlier future.

The Connecting Europe Express with SNCF’s BB 22317, seen in Uckange (FR) 06.10.2021 © Robert Schmitz

Moving on to another scenic view from 07.10.2021, when Pierre Colson caught the train at Vaires:

The CEE with BB 22317 of SNCF in Vaires (FR) 07.10.2021 © Pierre Colson

And – finally – a view from Paris, featuring BB 26004 with the six-car train headed to the Villeneuve-Saint-Georges depot.

The CEE with BB 26004 of SNCF at Paris-Est (FR) 07.10.2021 © Pierre Colson

Although this was the last trip of the train “as a whole” we expect to see the cars being transferred to their home countries in the coming days. So keep your eyes open for them!

Bonus: Going Home

Yes, the #ConnectingEurope Express has come to an end and so is our live coverage. We end it with an extra image, showing how the cars of the train were sent to their home countries from France. And yes, the Corail SNCF car is missing, as it stayed in France.

BB 26009 of SNCF with the remaining cars of the CEE in Ebersheim (FR) 09.10.2021 © Laurent Kaeffer

Laurent Kaeffer took this image Ebersheim (FR) in the Alsace plain, highlighting the composition of the train, as follows: SNCF BB 26019, MAV-START Ddmee, ÖBB WLABmz, SBB-CFF-FFS Apm, FS WR, DB-AG Bpmbkz.

Thank you!

The Railcolor News team would like to express its sincere gratitude for all the great pictures being submitted on a daily basis. We wish we could publish them all, but then this would article would take forever to load (and scroll) – we hope you understand!