While on a Hungarian MÁV-START train, I noticed an odd sign saying that due to regulation, the bistro carriage will not be serving food while in Germany. From some googling, it seems that German trains often do have bistro carriages too, so I'm wondering whether this is some temporary rule due to the pandemic or something else?

  • 1
    @Sebastian That looks like an answer to me. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 15:24
  • 1
    @Sebastian Why though?
    – JohnEye
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 15:28
  • 6
    @Sebastian that could be an effect and not the cause "since Hungarian trains cannot serve food in Germany [for X] the train company uses them to man trains going back from Germany, instead of carrying (and paying their salary) while idle".
    – SJuan76
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 15:37
  • 5
    Because of corona restrictions, the DB restaurant cars only sell food for 'take away', that is, you are not allowed to eat in the restaurant car, but have to take the food to your regular seat and eat there. They are therefore currently using disposable instead of proper tableware as usual. My guess (and therefore not an answer): MÁV is also using proper tableware in their restaurant cars and they are neither willing to spend effort on collecting the tableware from everywhere in the train, nor to introduce disposable tableware just for the short stretches they are serving in Germany. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 16:42
  • 1
    I can add some more guesses, VAT issues, different laws regarding food safety or alcohol
    – Anders
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


In August 2021, it was noticed that the state laws governing the rules for Restaurants, Cafés etc. excluded railway dining cars, since they crossed state borders. Therefore the state exceptions/conditions didn't apply to the railway gastronomy.

On the 25th of August 2021 a special federal regulation (CoronaSpWgV) was suggested to correct this situation, afterwhich the general 3-rule would apply. This suggestion was withdrawn and eventuelly the state laws included the railway in their regulations (in Saxony December 2021).

Corona - Speisewagenverordnung – CoronaSpWgV
Zielsetzung und Notwendigkeit der Regelungen
Sofern eine epidemische Lage von nationaler Tragweite durch den Deutschen Bundestag festgestellt wurde, kann gemäß § 28a Absatz 1 Nummer 13 des Infektionsschutzgesetzes der Betrieb von gastronomischen Einrichtungen untersagt oder beschränkt werden. Die Ausführung dieser Bestimmung obliegt den Ländern. Die Länder haben hierzu dementsprechende Regelungen in ihren Coronaschutzverordnungen getroffen. In den Coronaschutzverordnungen der Länder wurden Regelungen getroffen, welche der Gastronomie, d.h. Restaurants, Cafés etc., den Betrieb unter der Erfüllung bestimmter Voraussetzungen ermöglicht. Hiervon werden jedoch nur Betriebe erfasst, welche durch Definition vom Anwendungsbereich des Gaststättengesetzes oder entsprechender Landesgesetze erfasst werden. Gemäß § 25 Absatz 1 Satz 2 des Gaststättengesetzes beziehungsweise entsprechender Vorschriften der Länder sind unter anderem Personenwagen von Eisenbahnunternehmen von der Anwendung des Gaststättengesetzes ausgenommen. Insofern finden die Bestimmungen der Länder, welche einen Betrieb der Gastronomie ermöglichen, auf Speisewagen keine Anwendung.

Purpose and necessity of the regulation
If an epidemic situation of national importance has been determined by the German Bundestag, the operation of catering facilities can be prohibited or restricted in accordance with Section 28a Paragraph 1 Number 13 of the Infection Protection Act. The implementation of this provision is the responsibility of the federal states. The federal states have made corresponding regulations in their corona protection regulations. In the corona protection ordinances of the federal states, regulations have been made which enable gastronomy, i.e. restaurants, cafés, etc., to operate if certain requirements are met. However, this only includes businesses that are covered by the definition of the area of ​​application of the Restaurant Act or corresponding state laws. According to § 25 paragraph 1 sentence 2 of the Restaurant Act or corresponding regulations of the federal states, passenger cars of railway companies are exempt from the application of the Restaurant Act. In this respect, the regulations of the states that allow catering to operate do not apply to [railway] dining cars.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .