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 and check back for updates from our live coverage. Let’s go!
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:
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:
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.
Hendaye is also that special place where the Iberian gauge (1668 mm) train met the one with standard European gauge (1435 mm):
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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):
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:
Another beautiful view from Slovakia, again on 10.09.2021, but this time from 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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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!
Two more pictures follow by Magalios Giannis and 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:
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:
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!
An aerial view from the same location follows and Ivo Radoev also made a video which you can check by clicking here.
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:
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.
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:
A second pass also through Slovakia, this time with a freight electric: 363 095 of ZSSK Cargo:
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.
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).
The featured pictures come from Matias Lohmann-Quiñones who spotted the train in Tartu, Estonia on 21.09.2021.
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:
And then also from Okunipwiec in Poland, from where the PESA Gama-hauled CEE passed on earlier the same day:
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:
Then another representative of the 342 series followed, this time it was 027. Rok Žnidarčič took this second beautiful panorama below in Marija Gradec:
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:
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.
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:
And then electric power with Alex 183 002 in Hagelstadt (DE) followed:
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:
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:
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).
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…
This was 241 011 “C-3PO” of Hector Rail, needed to continue the journey towards Sweden. Below, the train is seen passing near Ørestad:
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:
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:
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:
Sean de Jong shows us the train’s arrival in Amsterdam Centraal Station with the classic electric locomotive in focus:
Finally, we have a view E 186 008 Bombardier TRAXX MS2e which NS is renting from Akiem leading the train to Amsterdam Muiderpoort:
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):
Belgium: SNCB 1886
In Belgium, the ES60U3 modification of Siemens’ EuroSprinter took over the train; the view below comes from Duffel in Belgium:
And this beautiful sunset image marked the CEE’s arrival at Schaerbeek station (BE):
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:
Followed by a stop at Bettembourg station:
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.
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.
Moving on to another scenic view from 07.10.2021, when Pierre Colson caught the train at Vaires:
And – finally – a view from Paris, featuring BB 26004 with the six-car train headed to the Villeneuve-Saint-Georges depot.
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.
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.
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!