SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TRAVEL NEWS

Traffic jams and sold-out trains: the latest on Easter travel in Sweden

Easter is probably the busiest time of the year for travel within Sweden. Here's the latest on how to travel safely and where you might face delayed trains or ugly traffic jams.

Traffic jams and sold-out trains: the latest on Easter travel in Sweden
A traffic jam on the E€ out of Stockholm at Easter last year. Photo: TT

Travelling by rail

If you haven’t already booked your ticket, you may find it difficult to get a seat on some popular routes. 

“Some routes are already fully booked. This is particularly the case between the major cities,” Anders Edgren, a press officer for the national train company SJ, told state broadcaster SVT.

A screenshot of SJ’s booking site for Good Friday shows most morning trains between Malmö and Stockholm are already sold out.
 
Edgren said on Thursday morning that there were still a few seats left between Stockholm and Gothenburg and Stockholm and Sundsvall but that they were selling out fast. 
 
 
“What we’re trying to do is to double-up trains, which is to stick together two trains, and if we manage to do that we might be able to release some more tickets.” 

Sweden’s national rail company SJ often schedules engineering work for national holidays, as fewer people are travelling to work, and this easter there will be engineering work at around 20 sites across the country, meaning more than 1,000 trains will be partly or totally replaced with buses during the Easter break. 

The worst areas are on the routes between Gothenburg and Malmö, between Västerås and Stockholm, and between Karlstad and Växjö. Work on the new Västkustbanan will mean replacement buses between Helsingborg and Gothenburg throughout the Easter holidays. 

SJ has made a map showing all the routes where you can expect interruptions: 

Traffic interruptions over Easter: 

Karlstad C to Kristinehamn: 10pm April 14th to 5am April 19th 

Gothenburg going north and south: 10.35pm April 14th to 2pm April 18th

Varberg to Heberg: 2pm April 14th to 2pm April 19th 14

Ängelholm Helsingborg: 12am April 4th to April 25th 4.15am 

Frövi to Kumla: 10pm April 14th to 5am April 19th 

Skymossen to Motala: 12am April 14th to 5am April 19th

Stockholm Central platforms 3 to 7: 10pm April 14th to 10pm April 21st 

Huvudsta – Barkarby: 1.10am April 14th to 4.30am April 19th 

Travelling by car 

In its guide to travelling by car over Easter, the Swedish Transport Agency warns that weather conditions at this time of year can vary enormously as you drive north.  You may find, for instance, that you need winter snow tyres by the time you reach your destination, even seemed almost summery when you set out. You should also make sure you have clothing for all seasons. 

Here is the agency’s maps of roads which it expects to see heavy Easter traffic. 

A map showing which roads are expected to be busy over the Easter period. Photo: Swedish Transport Agency
These include: 

The E22 between Kalmar and Norrköping, the E4 between Norrköping and Stockholm, and then from Stockholm all the way up to Sundsvall.  The roads leading towards the ski areas around Sälen and Östersund also tend to get crowded. None of the roads in Skåne are expected to see heavy traffic. 

The Swedish Transport Agency has imposed a ban on overtaking on the E4 between Gävle och Tönnebro, on the 14th and 14th of April for travel in a northerly direction, and on the 17th and 18th of April travelling south. 

The agency also recommends choosing roads with central reservations and speed cameras, as these are safer, even if this might mean a slower journey. Here is the agency’s map of roads with central reservations.

Flights

If you’re coming to Sweden by air, you should be aware that companies have been cancelling a high number of flights in recent days, because many of their staff have Covid.

EasyJet and British Airways cancelled more than 80 scheduled flights on Thursday, blaming staff sickness. 

Airports

If your flight is running as scheduled, be aware of issues at several UK airports.

Airports including Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham have been hit by disruption because of staff shortages caused by Covid, affecting everything from airport security to luggage handlers. Passengers risked missing their flights because of lengthy delays, according to reports in the UK press. 

Passport queues at Heathrow Terminal 2, from where SAS flies to Stockholm, were ‘stretching to 90 minutes’ on Maundy Thursday, The Independent reported. 

Passengers have been advised to make sure they are at the airport as early as possible to allow for delays, and unions have warned that the disruption could last for some time.

In the case of Manchester, the advice last week was to arrive three hours early.

Member comments

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

TRAVEL NEWS

‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.

SHOW COMMENTS