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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Germany wants to extend tighter border controls with France during Olympics

Germany's ramped-up border checks aimed at boosting security for the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament are coming to an end this week - but temporary controls at the French crossings are likely to continue, according to the Interior Minister.

Germany wants to extend tighter border controls with France during Olympics

Police stepped up checks at all German borders on June 7th, including launching temporary controls at the crossings with Denmark, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg where there were previously no checks.

Existing checkpoints at Germany’s borders with Poland, Czech Republic and Switzerland were extended, while travellers entering Germany from other Schengen countries have had to undergo more random checks when arriving by sea or air. 

But from July 19th, ramped-up checks from the German side with Denmark and the Benelux countries will fall away. Controls are likely to remain in place at the Franco-German border, however, before and during the Olympic Games in Paris. 

German Interior Ministry Nancy Faeser, of the Social Democrats (SPD), said the EU Commission would be notified about these temporary checks “shortly”.

The Olympic Games begin on July 26th and end on August 11th. It is understood the checks would be in place during this time, but not extended for the Paralympic Games, taking place in Paris from August 28th to September 8th. 

According to Faeser, checks will also continue to be carried out at the national borders with Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland, as they have for some time. The aim is to limit so-called irregular migration and combat smuggling offences. These checks are limited until December 15th for Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland, and until November 11th for Austria.

READ ALSO: What to know about Germany’s extra border checks for Euro 2024

During Euro 2024, thousands of unauthorised entries were stopped, smugglers were provisionally arrested and hundreds of outstanding arrest warrants were executed. The Interior Ministry said Monday it was compiling the figures. 

Calls for all border checks to be extended

Some German politicians have been calling for tightened controls at all borders in Germany to be continued.

“Minister Faeser should quickly present a security concept on how border controls can be extended after the European Championships,” FDP Secretary General Djir-Sarai told German news magazine Spiegel recently.

Permanent stepped-up controls are “a necessity in order to limit irregular migration to Germany”, said the FDP MP.

“As long as European external border protection does not function seamlessly, this is an instrument of central importance.”

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr said the police checks meant that “we are very effective in apprehending those who want to enter the country illegally”.

Opposition politicians took a similar view. CSU leader Markus Söder said loosening border controls would be “a breach of the Federal Chancellor’s promise to advance the protection of Germany”.

According to the Interior Ministry, 22,000 federal police officers have been on duty every day since the start of the Euro 2024 in mid-June. Unions have said that this would not be sustainable in the long-term due to staffing problems. 

Meanwhile, Faeser praised Germany as a host of Euro 2024 on Monday and thanked the emergency and security services. 

“We have experienced the fantastic football festival in the heart of Europe that we all wanted,” Faeser said. “Our country has presented itself as a good host. Many images of this summer in our cities will remain unforgettable.”

Faeser added that football could “of course not solve the problems of our time, but it has created a sense of community during these weeks that has done us good as a society”.

READ ALSO: Superb fans to delayed trains – the highs and lows of Euro 2024 in Germany