I'm traveling for work for my company in the Czech republic, and they allow me to take the train, but I need to specify the time that the train crosses each border. Ideally the location too, but that can be a bit vague.

The times want to be more accurate, but some approximation is inevitable.

For example, Trainline tells me that I can take a train from Prague to Zurich leaving at 6:38 and getting in at 17:23 with 3 changes. That must cross from the Czech Republic of into Germany and from Germany to Switzerland, how can I find the times of those border crossings?

This information must be given in advance, before I have even booked a ticket. The employer is Czech.

I'm interested in a general strategy, or website to search on, not times specific to that trip.

  • 29
    This is a strange requirement (but there are a lot of them anyway for corporate or government expense reports!). I would just put the time of the last stop before or first stop after the border crossing or take the average (since the border officials if any would board the trains during this time). But it may be useful if you could inquire why an "accurate" border crossing time is required.
    – xngtng
    Oct 10, 2022 at 15:25
  • 15
    If you search on bahn.de, you will find a list of "official" border crossings in the details of each connection. For the connection you mentioned, this would be Cheb and Schaffhausen. Other connections list a stop in Germany as border crossing, so this is not simply "the first stop outside Germany". Would your company be satisfied with such a statement?
    – Sabine
    Oct 10, 2022 at 15:39
  • 4
    Shortly after crossing a border in Europe, I usually get a text message on my phone that says 'welcome to country x'. If you get those too, the time of that message would maybe be close enough?
    – Berend
    Oct 10, 2022 at 17:20
  • 2
    Do you need to know in advance? How will admin know if it is accurate to 30 mins? If they have to ask you, presumably they don't know. So make a reasonable estimate. Oct 10, 2022 at 17:23
  • 7
    @TooTea yes likely, my employer is czech. Please do answer if you know something specific to the Czech system.
    – Clumsy cat
    Oct 10, 2022 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


It sounds like your employer needs this to calculate the correct reimbursement of travel expenses for this business trip. Czech labour law lays out a notoriously complex set of rules on how to do that. (See for example this nice writeup in Czech.) In short, your employer has to pay you a fixed daily meal allowance (a.k.a. per diem) according to a country-specific rate set by the law (e.g. €50 for Germany). For each day of your trip, the country in which you spend the most time determines the applicable rate, and this is what you need the border crossing times for.

Article 154 of the Czech Labour Code specifies that time spent abroad is determined from the time of border crossing as reported to the employer by the employee. In case of flights, what matters is the departure time on the way out and the arrival time on the return journey:

Dobou rozhodnou pro vznik práva zaměstnance na náhradu cestovních výdajů v cizí měně je doba přechodu státní hranice České republiky, kterou oznámí zaměstnanec zaměstnavateli, nebo doba odletu z České republiky a příletu do České republiky při letecké přepravě.

You can notice there's no notion of "scheduled time" in that paragraph, so strictly speaking these should be actual border crossing times, including delays and the like. However, opinions vary on how strictly to apply this in practice. The general consensus seems to be that it would be unreasonable for the employee to have to watch out for border posts and record the exact time they passed them, so unless you're travelling by car, you will typically be expected to report some officially listed border crossing time for your train or bus.

Many companies do as far as to disregard any delays altogether and insist on reporting crossing times exactly as they are in the timetable (even though this has no real support in the law). That's mostly because such companies don't trust their employees, so they want some sort of a "paper trail" instead. (As in, "we don't care your flight was three hours late, your boarding pass clearly says you departed at 12:00". Sadly, such an approach is disturbingly common among Czech employers.) Mainly bigger corporations also want you to report planned border crossing times for internal budgeting reasons (so they can pre-calculate the expected costs for your trip).

As far as international trains are concerned, there's always a specific border crossing point listed in the schedule with a particular time, and this is what most Czech employers expect you to report. You might have to use for example the Czech idos.cz trip planner to see this information. A random example (yes, it is always in Czech even if you switch the website to English): example train schedule with a listed border crossing

Finally, remember you typically don't need to worry much about accuracy. The only thing that matters is

  • which foreign country you spend the most time in in any given day
  • when only a part of a day is spent abroad, there are four bands for the meal allowance with cutoffs of 1/12/18 total hours abroad

So unless your itinerary puts you close to one of these boundaries, it doesn't matter at all whether you cross the border an hour earlier or later as the overall outcome won't be affected.

  • 27
    Three cheers for Czech bureaucracy. I can see how they created Kafka. Thanks, this is all the information I needed.
    – Clumsy cat
    Oct 11, 2022 at 12:22
  • 1
    @Clumsycat You tell me. Having first worked in the Netherlands (a country otherwise renowned for its red tape), I still had a massive culture shock when I encountered Czech labour law. :-)
    – TooTea
    Oct 11, 2022 at 12:32
  • 1
    @FreeMan The part on the train that is domestic is not covered by per-diem for traveling abroad. The rates for domestic trips are much lower. The requirements are given by the law, the accountants of the company did not invent it. The airplane travels are usually long enough, but train or car travels can be short ones where you go only to some town close to the border. Oct 11, 2022 at 14:39
  • 1
    @FreeMan The law has been like this for decades, so before the Schengen area became a thing, you actually had a well defined border crossing that you couldn't miss. At the same time, nobody could reasonably expect you to sit on a plane carefully watching your GPS and a map to figure out when you are above a border. And that's even before you consider transatlantic flights. Enroute countries don't count anyway, so if OP flew from Prague to Zürich directly, Germany would have never entered the equation.
    – TooTea
    Oct 11, 2022 at 14:50
  • 3
    Great information — Czech Republic is not alone in these requirements, we have similar rules in Germany, making people to research border crossing times on their train journeys in order to fill out paperwork for a business trip.
    – Earthliŋ
    Oct 12, 2022 at 10:03

Just look at your booking information. Bahn.de for example list all the stops and times. You can either list the last stop in the exit country, the first stop in the entry country or split the difference based on distance to the border. In your case I would go with 9:36 for Czech to Germany (departure Cheb) and 16:47 (depart Schaffenhausen) for entry into Switzerland.

Personally I would push back on this a bit and ask what exactly this information is needed for. Depending on your mode of transportation this could be a lot of extra work and that work should be justified somehow. What would be the requirement if your took a plane? There is some time between departing Czech and entering Switzerland where you are not in any specific country at all.

  • 4
    Not to forget about notorious train delays. Fine that your train is supposed to leave at 16:47, but what if it's 30min or even 2hours late? Oct 11, 2022 at 8:47
  • 1
    Yeah, the ALEX (the train from Prague to Munich) is often very late, and the time of border crossing varies widely. I am not sure how one could account for that in advance... Oct 11, 2022 at 9:40
  • So far, this is the strategy I'm using. If @TooTea posts a Czech specific answer, I will redo my travel forms with that. It is a lot of extra work, but if I kick up a fuss I will be told to just fly. I'm keen not to fly for environmental reasons, so I will navigate the politics on this one.
    – Clumsy cat
    Oct 11, 2022 at 11:38
  • 3
    You are paid per-diem money for the time you are abroad. The amount changes if it is more than 8 hours or more than 12 hours or more than 18 hours in a given day. It is governed by the law and it is a requirement of an employer to pay this money to the employee sent abroad. A different amount is payed for domestic travels. For airplane travels the law says one should consider the departure and the arrival time according to the schedule. I do not remember the exact formulation for trains. Oct 11, 2022 at 12:15
  • 1
    That is correct, although many accountants do not like it and want various certificates of delays, the law does not requires them (I just checked) and it is the employee's signature on the final bill that signifies what the actual time of border crossing was. It is only significant if it changes the final amount anyway - as explained by Too Tea. Oct 11, 2022 at 14:38

The Interrail Rail Planner App shows between which stops the border crossing occurs. For most border crossings, the stops near the border are close enough to approximate the timing of the train crossing.

It is available for Android and for IOS.

Below an example showing the crossing tariff points Summerau (Gr) and Horni Dvoriste St.Hr on the railway between Linz, Austria and Ceske Budejovice. As you can see, the crossing is approximately at 20:00.

Interrail Rail Planner Query

You must log in to answer this question.

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