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Your Christmas train journey from Sweden to the rest of Europe just became easier

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Your Christmas train journey from Sweden to the rest of Europe just became easier
Spend Christmas in Hamburg? Photo: AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer
12:18 CEST+02:00
Travelling by train from Stockholm to the rest of Europe is about to become easier.

It has always been relatively easy for residents in southern Sweden to travel by train to the rest of Europe, with Copenhagen's well-connected central train station being a half-hour train ride or less from Malmö.

For people living further north, however, it has been trickier, with train connections not always matching up in a sensible way, making the journey longer than it has to be. But it's about to become a little bit easier.

Sweden's national rail company SJ is set to improve options for international rail travel by adjusting its timetable to fit with cross-border departures, starting in December. The Swedish Transport Administration has now given its go-ahead to the plans, which The Local previously wrote about back in May.

READ ALSO: How do you give up flying if your family lives on the other side of the world?

The overnight train between Stockholm and Malmö will have its timetable adjusted to give passengers the chance to change to the Öresund train in Lund, which goes on to the Danish capital. The sleeper train itself is unable to cross the Öresund bridge.

After arriving in Copenhagen, unlike today passengers would be in time for the morning train to Hamburg, where they can take connecting trains to a range of other European cities.

"This means that you can get on SJ's night train in Stockholm at 11pm and be in Hamburg at noon the following day," said Petter Essén, SJ's chief of business for the Stockholm-Malmö-Copenhagen route.

The total journey time will be around 10-13 hours, with most of those spent asleep.

The overnight trains will start running according to the new timetable from December 15th, spelling good news for continental Europeans in Sweden hoping to take the train to visit family over Christmas.

Travellers will have to book two separate train journeys, however. The first leg between Stockholm and Lund can be booked via SJ's website and the second with southern Swedish transport operator Skånetrafiken if you are only going to Copenhagen, or Deutsche Bahn if you are travelling onwards to Hamburg.

READ ALSO: The Local's ultimate guide to exploring Sweden by train

SJ's timetable changes will in 2020 provide in total three daily connections in each direction on the route Stockholm-Copenhagen-Hamburg. Some of these will be on the fast X2000 train directly to Copenhagen, and others via the Öresund train with a change in Lund or Malmö.

The changes also include more departures linking Stockholm and Gothenburg and more trains running the route non-stop, in response to a rise in demand. Based on business traveller requests, this includes evening departures on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The announcement comes as interest in train travel is apparently booming in Sweden.

One Facebook group dedicated to tips for train travel, Tågsemester, has gained over 100,000 members, while a campaign aimed to persuade Swedes to spend a year without flying, Flygfritt 2019, has received widespread media coverage and public support.

That's after flygskam or 'flying shame', a word to describe the shame felt by climate-conscious air travellers, was named as one of 2018's Swedish words of the year.

The Swedish government has also proposed investing half a billion kronor into more overnight trains to northern Sweden and the Jämtland region in the next five years.

READ ALSO: What Sweden's new budget means for international residents

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