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I frequently travel by trains in Europe, and have often wondered how much distance I have travelled in each trip. As far as I can see, the distance covered by trains between two railway stations is not provided by operators such as Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, etc.

Is there any way to find this information? OpenRailwayMap seems to cover a lot of railway lines, but I couldn't see any option to find the distance between two stations.

I am generally interested in doing this across Europe, but specifically at least in Germany.

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  • 1
    How precise do you need it to be? If you want a rough idea you can always use Google Map to either get the distance as a crow flies (using the “measure distance” tool) or the distance by road, which is often – but not alway – relatively close.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 21:25
  • @jcaron I have tried using the road distance by Google Maps, but the road routes often seem to be very different from the rail routes, so I was hoping there would be a way to get a more accurate estimate.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 12:44
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    @RobbieGoodwin Thanks, but (1) "ask the train companies": I am not sure where I should ask, (2) "simply Search the two locations": that is what this question is about, to know how and where to search for this, (3) "why anyone would care": just out of curiosity, (4) "travel time": this is already available on the ticket, (5) "carbon emissions": I agree this would be interesting to know too, but is not part of the current question.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 7:40
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    @GoodDeeds I'm afraid there isn't. I've done a bit of searching; the pamphlet was called "Ihr Reiseplan" and is indeed discontinued. DB wants you to use their navigator for the same information, but they don't provide distance information there. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 10:32
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    @gerrit Thanks, I had missed that question. However, the answers here seem to be better (more general, and the Rome2Rio answer there doesn't seem to work anymore, at least for an example I tried), so wouldn't it be better to close that as a duplicate of this?
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 15:29

10 Answers 10

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You can use a routing engine that allows routing on the train network. E.g. bikerouter.de will do the job as long as all the tracks are available in OpenStreetMap. It usually needs some fine tuning to get the route correct, but this is usually possible if you know the intermediate stops. Example: Paris-Berlin

Many train services are also explicitly available in OSM and can be found by a regular web search, e.g. The local S-Bahn S7 in Frankfurt: https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/445971 You can't use this information directly to measure the distance between two arbitrary points, but you can use it to guide your measurement as mentioned above.

On Bikerouter.de you need to select the routing profile "Rail" in the upper left corner, then draw your route with some intermediate points. Make sure the router doesn't do any stupid u-turns because you selected the wrong track on a multi-tracked railroad! Screenshot of Bikerouter.de showing a rail route from Paris to Berlin The distance shown is 1088 km, which should be pretty accurate. The travel time and energy numbers are to be ignored - the routing profile is not properly set up to calculate this for trains. On routes with large bridges also the elevation profile might be wrong - there's no height information of bridges, only of the terrain underneath.

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  • This looks very interesting -- but how do I find the distance once I have a route?
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 12:10
  • @gooddeeds bikerouter does display the distance for me, does not it?..
    – Petr
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 12:43
  • Ah, I was not looking at the right place, I see it now, thanks!
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 12:45
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    I think this one is probably the best one (bikerouter.de). You should probably add a screenshot (and maybe a few lines to explain how you use it, it's not as obvious as Google Maps) to make it stand out.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 13:51
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    @jcaron I can add a screenshot, but I think adding a manual for the app is a bit out of scope for this question. There a "Tips and Tricks" link at the top which gets you started.
    – asdfex
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 14:12
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One option if you know with lines we’re used (there are sometimes many options from A to B) is to use Wikipedia and a calculator.

At least in France, but this is probably true elsewhere, Wikipedia has a page for each line which lists all stations and junctions along the line with the position of each station and junction on that line (in France it’s called a “pk”, as in “point kilométrique”).

So you take the position of the point you entered that line, the one where you exited that line, subtract and get the number of kilometres on that line. Then you add up all the segments.

In some cases an entire trip will use a single line so that’s easy. In others it can take many different lines and it’s going to be a bit more work. Using half a dozen different lines or more is far from uncommon.

In France if you want to have a rough idea you can also use the “Atlas du réseau ferré français” which has a detailed map of the whole French railway network with line numbers and rough distance indicators along each line (IIRC there’s a marker every 25 km)

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A bit of a different answer, which has the advantage of working for almost any conceivable railway route, without relying on any official databases: Google maps allows you to measure the length of a spline with a large number of points. All you have to do is click along the official route (or, for truly obscure lines that don't even exist in Google maps, follow the tracks from the satellite photography).

With about 90 seconds of clicking, I was able to measure the length of the Creil-Jeumont railyway as 185.89 km. (The official length is given on Wikipedia as 187 km.)

Creil-Jeumont Railway

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  • Very ingenious, thanks!
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 12:34
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    While Google Maps surprisingly manages to follow rail tracks, it does not always get it right (which for me, means it guesses rather than receives the information). For instance Annecy-Paris has two different routings between Chambéry and the LGV, and it doesn’t get the right one. It also uses the older route from the LGV to Paris Gare de Lyon. Still it probably works very well in a majority of cases.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 13:03
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In Great Britain, National Rail publishes route mileages and other tables as part of the Electronic National Rail Timetable data. This used to be published as a rather large book.

In the 2023 mileage data, you can see that a train travelling from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness travels 39.5 miles via Basildon, 45.5 miles via Rainham and 48.75 miles via Chafford Hundred.

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    Completely off topic, but this may be the first time I see Fenchurch mentioned in nonfiction context, i.e. outside The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    – Oliphaunt
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 20:02
  • We've also got a service called RailMiles (railmiles.me) which uses more detailed routeing information to be able to fetch distances between stations across various via points, too. Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 23:05
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    In GB, most lines are measured in miles and chains (80 chains to a mile). It appears the mileage data above is rounding to the nearest quarter mile (20 chains), since the chainage is typically not exactly that. Engineering information typically has the chainage, eg this database has the route out of Fenchurch St as far as Barking. RailMiles' engine glues these together into a full A to B route, but appears to be down right now. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 9:52
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    @user1908704 Seems the link is dead, but the engine itself is still live: my.railmiles.me/mileage-engine Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 10:54
  • @user1908704 The printed timetable had distances in miles and chains. However, while what is published now is less precise, it's still suitable as an answer here. Rounded to a quarter-mile (20 chains) is precise enough for most purposes. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 17:39
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Is there any way to find the distance covered by a train in a particular rail route between two stations?

I have seen the distance in a particular rail route between two stations on maps as well as on Wikipedia.

Example 1 in France:

enter image description here

Example 2 in the USA (truncated):

Name Type Route Numbers Daily round trips FY2022 Route miles
California Zephyr Long distance Chicago – Emeryville, California 5, 6 1 290,423 2,438
Empire Builder Long distance Chicago – Spokane – Portland/Seattle 7, 8, 27, 28 1 303,568 2,257 (Chicago–Portland)
2,206 (Chicago–Seattle)
Southwest Chief Long distance Chicago – Los Angeles 3, 4 1 223,654 2,256
Sunset Limited Long distance New Orleans – Los Angeles 1, 2 3 weekly round trips 73,904 1,995
Silver Star Long distance New York – Miami 91, 92 1 434,779 1,522
Silver Meteor Long distance New York – Miami 97, 98 1 79,196 1,389

I'm not aware of any generic, fast solution that'd work for all the 40k train stations across Europe.

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    The first map only gives the length of the high-speed lines (LGVs). While there are always classic line segments on approaches to the historic stations to add. It also does not list any non-LGV lines, nor the distance between stations on LGVs, or to junctions to/from classic lines. I fear getting the accurate total distance is going to require a lot of Wikipedia and quite a few additions and subtractions.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 21:00
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    @jcaron True, I'm not aware of any generic, fast solution that'd work for all the 40k train stations across Europe. Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 21:01
  • Thanks. It seems the link for Example 1 points to the incorrect URL.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 13:03
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For Russia and closely related countries, you can use Tutu Trains:

For example, searching Moscow to Inta, then clicking "Route", I'm told this is 2009 km:

Screenshot Tutu.travel
Source: Tutu

Similarly, Moscow to Vladivostokis gives 9300 km.

Limitations:

  • Direct trains only
  • Distance is only shown for scheduled stops
  • Only trains in Russia and closely related countries (it shows distances in Belarus such as Minsk to Brest). It also used to work for Paris - Moscow back when those trains were still running.
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Mapy.cz have multiple options for route planning including public transport.

If the route exist it usually can find it and quite acurately estimate.

For example this rooute from Dresden to Berlin. It has quite a few language options so you should be able to interact with it easily.

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Ask a rail fan.

Railroads have actual, literal mileposts. They are physical signs along the wayside, and mentioned in employee timetables often to the tenth or hundredth of a kilometer. Often, the employee timetable will even call out particular stations.

Where the rail fan comes in is identifying routes, spurs, and where routes join.

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  • You should mention that simply checking the numbers every now and then while passing by doesn't help. Even if you don't change the route there are often gaps in the numbers or even numbers used twice.
    – asdfex
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 17:18
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At risk of being really obvious, if you're riding the train anyway you could use a phone app that maps your route by GPS. Just leave your phone sitting by the window so it can have decent GPS signal. You will probably need to manually mark way points if you want to measure parts of the journey (i.e. A->B, B->C).

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  • Thanks, I had considered this but have often found that GPS signal is poor or non-existent on many routes. Nevertheless, do you suggest any app for doing this? Having to manually mark during the journey seems quite tedious.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 4:14
  • @GoodDeeds I personally find the google maps timeline will do this for you just by enabling the function and having the phone with you with GPS etc. enabled. It will even automatically determine when you have changes of mode of transport based on where you are and movements of the phone, so you don't need to manually tell it when your journey started and stopped. It depends in part on whether you're happy with google knowing everywhere you've been...
    – Steve
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 10:09
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Just ask in the Google search bar. For instance:

"It takes an average of 10h 22m to travel from Paris to Berlin by train, over a distance of around 545 miles (877 km)"

Why ask here what is available at your fingertips?

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    Did you check the numbers? It's clearly not the distance traveled but the straight line distance.
    – asdfex
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 9:55
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    A prime example of why AI answers shouldn't be allowed here.
    – MaxD
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 14:09
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    "Why ask here what is available at your fingertips?" seems like a cocky remark from a new contributor...
    – Oliphaunt
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 20:06
  • The answer is wrong.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 12:56

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