SJ to reintroduce high-speed trains between Oslo and Stockholm

The number of daily departures between Stockholm and Oslo will increase to five during the week, three of which will be express trains, Sweden's state-owned train operator SJ announced Tuesday.

Swedish train
SJ's booking site crashed once tickets for Christmas were released. Photo: SJ

For the first time in five years, there will be five daily train departures between the Norwegian and Swedish capitals, Sweden’s SJ has announced.  

The change comes as work on the train lines on the Norwegian leg of the route – which have been ongoing for multiple years – is close to being complete, the Swedish company said in a press release.

Today, there are two direct trains between Oslo and Stockholm on certain days, while there is one or none on others.

From December 11th, however, the frequency will increase, as the work which has lasted for five years will be finished. Tickets for the expanded service between Oslo and Stockholm go on sale from November 9th. Customers can purchase them via the company’s website or in its app.

As part of the expanded timetable between the two cities, SJ will run five departures on weekdays in each direction, three on Saturdays and four on Sundays, the Swedish company wrote on its website.

“More than half of the departures will be by express train, that is, fast and comfortable trains where you can choose between multiple classes. With the fast trains, you can travel between the capitals in just over five hours,” Martin Drakenberg, business manager at SJ, said in the announcement.

However, in the summer of 2023, traffic between Stockholm and Oslo will be affected by the planned track work between Laxå and Kristinehamn.

While the work lasts, the trains will be rerouted and have a longer journey time. More detailed information about this will be published in the spring.

“After a long time of track works on the route, this will actually be the last major work. We are very happy that we can now make long-term investments in this important and popular train line,” Drakenberg notes.

Expanded timetable may cut down on flights between the two cities

Last month, a joint study by the Swedish Transport Agency and Norwegian Railway Directorate found that better train links between the two cities could save around half a million journeys by plane.

That study referred to a potential service that could cut the journey time between the two capitals to under four hours. Still, SJ is hopeful that the increased departures between Stockholm and Oslo would help cut emissions. 

“You save around 100 kilos of Co2 per person, per round trip, by choosing the train over the plane. There are significant emissions if you think about the many flights that go between Oslo and Stockholm,” SJ Norge boss Rikke Lind told business news site E24

“We are an overly flight-happy nation. Now Norwegian companies really have to take a step forward. We must create a culture among companies in Norway where people choose climate-smart travel. It will be an important part of the climate cuts in the companies’ accounts,” she added. 

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Delays contribute to a decline in passenger happiness on Norwegian trains

Issues with punctuality and a need for clearer information were identified as issues for travellers on Norwegian trains, the latest figures for customer satisfaction from the Norwegian Railway Directorate show. 

Delays contribute to a decline in passenger happiness on Norwegian trains

Passenger satisfaction on Norwegian trains has fallen between the end of last year and the opening months of 2023, a survey from the Norwegian Railway Directorate shows. 

Punctuality and customer information were highlighted as issues affecting passengers’ happiness with train services in Norway. 

“The results reflect the challenges with punctuality in recent months and emphasize the need for a more stable train service, especially in Eastern Norway,” Knut Sletta from the Norwegian Railway Directorate said of the figures. 

In recent months services in eastern Norway especially have been prone to issues with delays and cancellations, in addition to teething problems with the new Folloban line. 

On a scale of one to 100, customer satisfaction was ranked at 76, a drop of three percentage points compared to the last quarter of 2022. One area where customers were happy was when it came to the service onboard and the cleanliness of trains. 

Out of all the companies operating on Norway’s railways, only SJ Norge, which runs the trains between Oslo and Trondheim and Trondheim and Bodø, saw an improvement in customer satisfaction. 

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your train in Norway is delayed or cancelled?