New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Plans for a new rail service running from Oslo and stopping in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen before arriving in Hamburg are in the works, Swedish state-owned rail operator SJ has said.

Pictured is Hamburg Central Station.
A new train line running from Oslo, through Sweden and Denmark and Germany to Hamburg has been planned. Pictured is Hamburg Central Station. Photo by Hannes Köttner on Unsplash

Sweden’s state-owned SJ, along with Denmark’s DSB and DB of Germany, plans to offer a new international train line which runs between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Hamburg in northern Germany. 

The planned route would run daily, departing from Oslo at 8am before making stops in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen and arriving in Hamburg at 7pm. A service departing Hamburg and terminating in Gothenburg is also planned.

The 11 hour service would be quicker than the equivalent journey using either a car and ferry connection or existing train services. 

The planned service will enter into operation in 2027. Petter Essén, head of SJ’s vehicle and traffic programme, said the route made sense as it would connect a long stretch which doesn’t have continuous train traffic. 

“Today, there is a great deal of flying between Copenhagen and Oslo and between Oslo and Gothenburg, routes that would be fine by train,” Essén told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter

Currently, the only direct trains from the Norwegian capital to other countries are services to Gothenburg and Stockholm. 

The European Commission has selected the potential line as one of ten pilot projects that will receive support. This does not mean it will receive direct funding from the EU, but it will get backing on regulations and logistics, Essén explained.

“You can get help with various regulations and the process of getting all vehicles approved in all countries,” he said.

Generally, many Swedish and Norwegian trains can only operate within Sweden and Norway, while the majority of Danish and German trains are not cleared to run in Sweden in Norway. 

The Snälltåget line between Stockholm and Berlin has also been selected to receive support from the European Commission. 

SJ also announced plans to increase the number of trains between Gothenburg and Malmö to ten per day and offer the Gothenburg-Copenhagen service all year round. It said that these plans could come to fruition by 2026 or 2027. 

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What you need to know about skiing in Norway this Easter

Conditions are looking good, with Easter being one of Norway's most popular times for cross-country and alpine skiing. However, there are a few things you should know before you take to the slopes this year. 

What you need to know about skiing in Norway this Easter

Why Easter? 

Easter is an incredibly popular time for skiing for a number of reasons. Firstly, most people are off work due to the public holidays or choose to take a full week off to spend an entire week’s worth of vacation with their family. 

Secondly, the days are longer, and the weather is normally warmer than earlier in the ski season. For many, this means skiing in the sun with fewer layers to keep the cold away. 

Furthermore, the snow conditions are usually quite nice and less hard and icy than during the earlier winter holiday or Christmas. The promise of sun and decent weather make cross-country skiing particularly special. Many like to stop on their journeys to grill hotdogs, eat an orange or a kvikk lunsj. 

All of these add up to skiing at Easter being something of a tradition for Norwegians. 

However, it’s not just skiing that’s popular this time of year. Resorts like Hemsedal have built up a reputation for hosting some of the best after-ski in Norway at this time of year. 

This means that it isn’t just families heading to the mountains for a wholesome time on the slopes before playing some board games. Partygoers are also among the masses migrating to the mountains for Easter. 

READ ALSO: How Norwegians celebrate Easter

Expect busy slopes 

For many centres, the week leading up to Easter is the busiest time of the year. Families choose to travel on the Wednesday or Maundy Thursday before Easter. This means that by Good Friday, slopes will probably be at their busiest for the year. The weekend before Easter is also busy as kids break up from school on the Friday before Good Friday. 

Even at the biggest resorts, you can expect queues for most lifts that will persist well into the afternoon. Cross-country ski areas and tracks will also remain busy. In many places with a robust cross-country infrastructure, courses will be floodlit – meaning late trips may be one way of avoiding crowds. 

When alpine skiing, try to ski safely around crowds and adjust your speed accordingly. You should always check junctions and when ski slopes intersect and combine. As in other countries, the skier behind is the one responsible. 

While you may be in the mood for after-ski, drinking excessively on skis is a serious no and could lead to major injuries for yourself or someone you collide with. 

If you do find yourself in an accident, you must remain at the scene and wait for the ski patrol to attend the accident if one or more parties are injured. 

What are the conditions looking like? 

Norway’s Energy and Water Directorate (NVE) has said that there is more snow than typical at this time of year in parts of eastern and northwest Norway and the county of Trøndaleg. 

In western Norway, there is an average or slightly below-average amount of snow. According to the NVE, this is the best year for snow since 2018. 

However, Good Friday could see rain in places in southern Norway which could make driving conditions difficult. 

Wind is also on the forecast, Norwegian newspaper Dagavisen reports. 

Saturday and Easter Sunday are likely to see some sunshine, which will be good news to many. 

For those heading off-piste or on backcountry skiing (or touring) trips, keeping an eye on avalanche danger is important. You can check the avalanche danger warning of several regions here. In addition, if you are skiing in a new area, always ensure you contact a local expert or guide for information on conditions. 

Where to rent equipment

Most resorts and villages, and towns with a ski centre will have a rental service where you pay to rent gear. 

However, this can be expensive if you are skiing the entire long weekend or are travelling with kids. 

If you are a full-time resident of Norway, try using your nearest BUA. BUA is a volunteering group which rents out sports and leisure equipment to people living in their area. 

This means you should rent equipment near where you live rather than the town you travel to. This is because BUAs prefer to save their equipment for locals rather than tourists. Rental from BUA is free, but you will need to pay to replace any equipment you break, lose or damage. 

What you need to know if you are travelling for Easter this year 

Norwegian schools break up for påskeferie (Easter holidays) this Friday (March 31st), so you can expect heavy traffic on the roads out of the big cities starting from Friday afternoon and continuing over the weekend.

Typically well over a million Norwegians take to the roads over Easter to stay in their cabins or visit relatives. 

There is also likely to be heavy traffic between Maundy Thursday (April 6th) and Easter Saturday (April 8th) and again on Easter Monday (April 10th) as people return home.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about travel in Norway this Easter