SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAIN TRAVEL

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. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: Norway’s plans for a tourist tax 

Norway’s government is looking at options to introduce a tax on tourists and tourism-related activities. Here is what we know so far. 

EXPLAINED: Norway’s plans for a tourist tax 

Around 10 million tourists flock to Norway annually, drawn in by its majestic fjords, world-famous hikes, rugged wilderness and bucket-list activities such as Northern Lights tours. 

Many travellers already remark that the country is incredibly expensive. However, the cost of being a visitor in Norway could soon increase as the government plans to introduce a new tax on tourism-related activities. 

Earlier this week, the minority government consisting of the Labour Party and Centre Party, agreed on a budget for 2023 with the Socialist Left Party. 

Norwegian newswire NTB reports that as part of the agreement, the government would propose introducing a tax on tourism in 2024. The policies will be included in the budget for 2024, which will be presented next autumn. 

A potential tourist tax is still in its early stages, though, with the policy yet to be fully formulated. Still, Norway’s Ministry of Finance has begun exploring options regarding a tourist tax. 

“We have to investigate this and see how such a tax can be designed, both practically and legally. But the idea is that the local communities should be able to be left with more,” Lars Vangen, state secretary in the finance ministry, told NTB. 

The tax could come in the form of tourists paying additional tax on hotels, souvenirs and tourism activities. 

Proposals to pass some of the maintenance and cleaning costs on to tourists have appeared several times in recent years, most recently in the political agreement on which the current government was formed in October last year.

One of the reasons for a tourist tax is that many hotspots are located in small local authorities, where municipalities spend huge amounts each year on the upkeep of attractions, maintenance of key hiking trails and dealing with the pollution and litter caused by visitors.

Earlier this year, the Norwegian region Lofoten, known for its spectacular fjord and mountain scenery, said it would be willing to test-pilot a tourism tax scheme

The Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv), an employer organisation for the sector, has previously been critical of potential tourist taxes, arguing it would make Norway a less desirable destination. 

READ ALSO: Best things to do in Norway in the winter

SHOW COMMENTS