Public demand for more and better train service both within Norway and abroad is finally being recognized. Both state railway Vy (formerly NSB) and Swedish railway SJ are adding routes to and from the important Swedish hub of Gothenburg, due to reach five per day next year.
Vy plans to run four trains a day in each direction between Oslo and Gothenburg starting in December, up from three now. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that from August next year, SJ will also compete on the line with a round-trip route of its own and maybe more.
“We had good traffic on this route during the summer holiday weeks and we see that lots of people want to travel by train (instead of driving or flying),” Gina Scholz, communications chief in Vy, told NRK. “It’s a good and environmentally friendly means of traveling.”
As climate issues continue to dominate politics in Norway, and swept the Greens Party and other more environmentally conscious parties into power in local governments all over the country this week, train travel is becoming more popular than ever. A lack of convenient connections to train routes heading abroad has sparked complaints.
“Folks want better connections to Europe,” Scholz acknowledged. “We’re arrranging for that from December.” Train service from Oslo to Gothenburg, an important Scandinavian train hub, will be more frequent, with weekday departures tentatively scheduled around 6am, 10am, 2pm and 6pm from both cities. Passengers arriving in Gothenburg will be able to more easily transfer to other lines heading south to Copenhagen and the rest of Europe.
Weekend routes will also be expanded and travel itself will be faster, down to three hours and 40 minutes from around four hours now. SJ’s route is scheduled to take three hours and 45 minutes.
“The ambition is to run trains the whole way between Oslo and Copenhagen without needing to transfer,” SJ spokesman Dan Olofsson told NRK. “But that relies on some big expansion projects on the lines being finished. Until then, ongoing travel to Europe will involve a transfer in Gothenburg.”