Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Stockholm Commuter Rail v. Car: What do you think?

You can take the girl out of Boston, but it’s hard to take the [Boston] driver out of the girl.

I’m a big fan of public transportation. 43 years ago, my parents chose their house based on its accessibility to pubic transportation (Waverly Bus to Harvard Square) after leaving Porter Square and their 2-minute walk to the T. My father commuted by T to downtown Boston every weekday until he retired just over a decade ago.

We chose our suburban home based on its 4-minute walk to the pendeltåg (Stockholm’s commuter train) after leaving central Stockholm and our life of exclusive usage of bicycles for getting around Stockholm.

And yet just a couple of years into our suburban Stockholm life, I drive. A lot.

This past weekend we needed to get to Nynäshamn for a cozy cruise on the Utö Express to our friends’ summer house in the gorgeous Stockholm Archipelago. The boat departs a 90-second walk from where the commuter train pulls in.

So in the spirit of saving the planet and all that environmentalist enthusiasm, we smugly opted to travel green and adventure by commuter train. It’s a big deal when braving the inconvenience of lugging a whole mess of gear (life vests for children, sheets for the whole family, beach towels, swimming floatie and 2 fishing rods plus specially ordered food provisions) while simultaneously tagging two tired children in tow.

The trip, while more than 1.5 hours by commuter train, would be nearly direct from our door to theirs (with a few hop off/hop on changes of trains and boats). Friday afternoon, ahead of schedule we excitedly awaited our arriving and on-time train. All systems were go and we were green.

Sparing you the boring details, I’ll summarize: we missed the boat. Our gracious hosts came to pick us up in their own boat after we arrived by a later train. All was not lost.

Recharged and a few shades tanner, we had nearly forgotten the averted disaster of a missed ferry and began our commute home optimistic that the return would be smooth and validate our decision to forgo our family wagon and ride the tracks.

Again, sparing you the boring detail, due to a child’s bad tummy we had to jump off the train a few times to find public facilities. And because the traffic is every 30 minutes, we lost nearly an hour. Obviously not SL’s fault this time but the final straw breaking our public transport with children spirit.

I will end on the Swedish hubby’s words of wisdom: “Kids & Cars works much better than Kids & Trains.”

Take a wild guess how we’ll get to Nynäshamn next time?

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