EuroCity, abbreviated EC, denotes an international train service within the European inter-city rail network. In contrast to trains with the "IC" (InterCity) label, "EC" trains are international trains that meet certain criteria described below.
During the pre-Schengen era, passport checks were conducted on EC trains while in motion, rather than while parked at a station or requiring the passengers to disembark, as was sometimes the case for non EC trains. A few require pre-reservation (though this is possible and recommended for all other trains) and in some countries a supplemental charge.
- train through two or more countries
- all cars air-conditioned
- stop only at major cities
- stops for no more than five minutes, in special cases up to 15 minutes
- food and beverages available onboard (preferably from a dining car)
- conductors speak at least two languages, one of which must be English, French or German
- average speed (including stops) above 90 km/h, exceptions for mountainous terrain and train ferries
- daytime journey (start after 6:00, arrival earlier than 0:00)
Many of the EuroCity trains carry names continuing the practise started for the luxury trains of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these names are the same that were carried by the earlier TEE trains that followed the same route, for example "Lutetia" for Paris to Milano. The names are printed on brochures showing the times of arrival at various stops and details of the journey, which are laced on the seats.
(including a number of European trains with prefix EC, as of January 14 2007):
- Hamburg-Chur (Switzerland)
- Milan Centrale-Basle SBB
- Milan Centrale-Geneva Aeroport
- Milan Centrale-Nice Ville
- Paris Est-Munich
- Venice S.Lucia-Schaffhausen (Switzerland)
- Vienna Westbahnhof-Basel SBB
- Zagreb-Villach (Austria)