Thursday, November 12, 2015

Train ride 2015 - Copenhagen to Stockholm, 4th leg

Date of travel: 16th October 2015

Copenhagen is a really nice city but it is a little bit too expensive to stay, therefore I think. A bedroom for 2 that we occupied for 2 nights in Hotel Urban House cost double than what we paid in St Petersburg hotel. It became a least favorite hotel among all 15 nights of our 4th leg. The room is small and there's a problem with it's shower water pressure. However, the hostel seated at the most strategic location to all Copenhagen attractions beside a mere walking distance to the main train station. To re-assure the statement, YES, I like the train station above anything. The locality, the design, the facilities and most important, the road directions leading us back to these easy recognised station concluded it as the best landmark to get around by foot.

Danish inter city train to Malmo

We were back at the same platform 2 days after we arrived in the city, though we crossed the station every time we were out for touring as it allowed us a short cut, e.g. Tivoli Garden is just next to it and the Town Hall is next to Tivoli Garden. It was still very early when we arrived at the correct platform no, hence, I walked around the platform carefree. Platforms are usually crowded when the train is about to depart and when it arrives. Otherwise it could be as empty and peaceful as in below photos. Even the birds are free to walk-by, ignoring my stare. How rude for not even looking into my directions, birdie... Well, it's their home I guessed. 

We first took Danish intercity train to Malmo. It’s a free seating train that I like it very much because the car is bigger than usual (partly because of the free seating arrangement). It even has a can drink machine in its coach. I cannot share the photo here as in this entry too I have another big photo collection that I wish to share. Different train rides gave me a different special experiences and fondness. For your information, we rode a Swedish national railway line, SJ that directly takes us to Stockholm. In other words, there are both Danish and Swedish train in this part of the journey as we have to change train at Malmo station. There is a 30 minutes gap in between the 2 trains arrival and departure at Malmo, enough time, hence, less worry guys.

Yes, that's the right platform and area 'D' of waiting. Our IC train time was at 10.12 am 

The most convenience way to travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm is by 125mph SJ 2000 high-speed tilting train. Ours was leaving Malmo Train Station at 11:14 and arrived in Stockholm Central at 15:39, only 4 hours and 25 minutes. A ride from Copenhagen to Malmo was about 45 minutes journey. Should you want to buy in advance, opted for a deal price like what we did, you may do so by checking and booking your preferred train schedules using website.  Trains from Copenhagen to Malmo and Stockholm crosses the Oresund Fixed Link, a tunnel & double-decker road/rail bridge which was opened in year 2000 linking Denmark with Sweden. It was another great experience as the train appears to 'fly' over the water and inside the underground.

8-span bridges in between the man-made island

Yes, it was in 2000 that Denmark was connected with the rest of Scandinavia country with a fixed link named the Oresund Fixed Link. It was constructed aiming at improving transport connections between Scandinavia and continental Europe and thereby strengthening cultural and economic co-operation. The link was designed to stimulate the development of a joint labour and housing market on each side of Oresund. Today, more than 10 million people cross the Oresund Fixed Link each year. The construction took place in 1991 where the Danish-Swedish Øresundsbro Konsortiet constructed the 16 km fixed link between Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden. The link consists of a four lane motorway and a double track electrified railway. The link consists of 3 parts; going from Denmark towards Sweden first a 4 km tunnel, a 4 km long artificial island and an 8 km double deck bridge. I obtained this information from the fixed link website where you may learn so much about the wonder of engineering works. 

Please take note that there are both lifts and elevator at Malmo station. We opted to take lifts which is much more convenience than pulling our luggage with the crowds at the elevator. Both photos above and below was when we just arrived in arrival platform and in a departure hall at Malmo station.

The following are the information's that I gathered from the website about SJ. SJ (formally known as SJ AB) is a government-owned passenger train operator in Sweden, created in 2000, out of the public transport division of Statens Jarnvagar, means National Railway. It was formed when the former government agency was divided into 6 separate government-owned limited companies. SJ's operations fall broadly into subsidised and unsubsidised services. The unsubsidised services was until 2011 monopoly and consist mainly of the high-speed train network. The subsidised trains are awarded through competitive bids. However, some trains fall in between these categories, since public transit agencies that can pay SJ to allow transit pass holders access to SJ's trains.

SJ train was already waiting for us when we arrived

SJ received a government bailout a few years after its creation, but it has since made a profit margins of up to ten per cent. All train operators in Sweden pay low track access charges to the track authority, Trafikverket due to the bailout. SJ owns about 40 trains of the type X2, running under the brand name SJ High-speed train (Swedish: SJ Snabbtag), formerly branded X 2000. Their top speed is 200 km/h. SJ also owns about 40 double-decker trains of the type X40 (top speed also 200 km/h). Furthermore SJ owns a number of older X12 and X14 multiple units. SJ only owns electric trains, no diesel trains.

while on que line, what a poser :)

A group of teaching college students (for special learning children) were with us riding in the same coach. The girl who sat next to me conversed well in English. She kept reminding me that there are more meaningful photo to snap when we arrived in the city. To her it's a nothing special about the "woods" that I snapped but to me, it has more than something about that "woods" which does not have 4 seasons a year in my country. Back home, the woods does not come in multi autumn colors which, in my eyes are looking so stunning and so beautifully. It's a norm thing to see in her country, from her perspective. She is Swedish by the way. She knitted and played with her phone most of the time. Yes, internet is rather strong in SJ trains, priced included in train fare for 1st class and 2nd class passengers. We're greatly enjoyed it very much.

We made a prior booking lunch when booking our ticket. We foresee that we both will starve without solid food when the journey was passing lunch time. The train will only arrived in Stockholm at quite late afternoon. Not much choices on the menu for Muslim, other than plain rice with vegetables curry. We had to walk 2 coaches away to reach the Bistro car. Maybe it's because of the high speed train, I got giddy and lost my appetite by the time I reached the restaurant car. The strong smells of curry with turmeric made the giddiness even worse. 

SJ also owns 20 trains of the type X55 (top speed 200 km/h), put into operation from 2012. They have a similar interior and seating as X2 and will also be branded as SJ High-speed train. SJ has announced plans to order 20 new high speed trains more (top speed 250 km/h), to be delivered later. Maybe the journey can be shortened to 2-3 hours instead of present 4 and a half hours. From September 2009, the train operator SJ requires an identity document from passengers with a pre-paid ticket (which is mandatory on many trains). These have to be a Nordic ID card or any passport (for tourists). This is due to a SJ effort to stop the private trading of low-price train tickets.

Though it was drizzling and cloudy sky throughout the first part of the journey, the sun finally gets to play. The sky has given beautiful natural lighting to our photos due to a sudden bright sunny day. Though I had a terrible headache, I still able to forced my hand to snap the photos that I shared above and below. Purely fallen deeply in love with the autumn scenery, made me missing hubby more. Wish he was with me in this part of the journey.

SJ High-speed trains are X2 or X55 trains operating on the main routes in Sweden. There is free WiFi and a Bistro on each train-set. The InterCity services are Rc-hauled trains with standard seating-carriages in both first and second class. The lines with InterCity service covers the following:

  • Lulea-Narvik
  • Stockholm-Falun
  • Stockholm-Gothenburg
  • Stockholm-Karlstad-Oslo
  • Stockholm-Malmö
  • Stockholm-Mora
  • Stockholm-Ostersund-Duved
For those traveler or tourist who is interested to travel at night and save on hotel budget, may do so in SJ train. There is SJ Night train which runs on Rc locomotive-hauled trains with both sleeper wagons as well as standard wagons. It came with a Bistro wagon. The night-trains are operated on the following lines:

  • Gothenburg-Duved
  • Gothenburg-Boden-Narvik (PSO)
  • Malmö-Duved (seasonal)
  • Stockholm-Duved
  • Stockholm-Narvik (PSO)
  • Stockholm-Malmo

The Stockholm main train station are amazingly new, build in modern and unique architecture. It made you feels like landed in an international airport. We we directed to the main entrance by crowds of people from every exit and entrance. Wow and wow. We were both really amazed with this new experiences. We spent sometime in the gallery thinking that we would not return to the station anymore, since we are leaving to Helsinki via Viking Line, a cruise ship. Please take note that for those who requires a cab, must press the machine and choose with cab that you wish to ride. There are 3 different cab company waiting in their own respective lines. We chose the most cheapest range, the yellow cab. Unfortunately the driver cannot speak English, only Swedish and Turkish he said.

Remarks: I will write a different entry for Stockholm train station just to share some photos in case you too wishes to see them. And guys.. thanks for coming back and read my blog. I've been so blessed.

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