Travelling by train in Sweden

General information

Welcome to our guide how to save money, time and stress when travelling in and from/to Sweden by train.

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SJ AB is Sweden’s national rail operator and it’s easy to use website arguably sets the bench mark for ease of use when booking tickets online.

Travelling around Sweden by train is generally a memorable experience.
Journeys are predominantly fairly scenic, and the trains are comparatively modern and comfortable.

However, some pre-planning is generally recommended, particularly if you won’t be travelling on routes to/from Göteborg, Malmö or Stockholm, or plan to travel north of Uppsala.

SJ's Train Services  - 10 Things Worth Knowing:

1. SJ AB does not have a monopoly on operating Swedish train services.

It has competitors on routes between some cities (these are listed below), and private operators also provide many of Sweden’s rural train services and on branch lines.

SJ's Train services:

2. SJ operates multiple distinct types of train services.
(i) Snabbtåg
(ii) Intercity
(iii) Regional

3. Nine Things Worth Knowing About Snabbtåg train services:

(i) Snabbtåg is the fastest train service in Sweden.

(ii) Two trains are used on Snabbtåg services, the X2000 and the SJ 3000.

(iii) X2000 trains are used for the international Snabbtåg services on the Stockholm to Copenhagen and Stockholm to Oslo routes.

(iv) Sweden has no high speed lines, but these trains TILT to make them faster and also call at fewer stations than IC trains.

(v) Reservations are compulsory on Snabbtåg services (rail pass users take note), but when booking online or at stations the reservation is automatically included on both the price and the ticket.

(vi)The seat number will be on your ticket, but the reservation won't be displayed in the seating saloons - you just need to match the numbers of the seat(s) to the seat numbers on your ticket..

(vii) Free Wi-Fi is available on Snabbtåg services.

(viii) Quiet zones are available in both 1st and 2nd class

(iv) Less obvious benefits of travelling in 1st class on Snabbtåg trains include:
- free 4G wi-fi
- a help yourself supply of fresh fruit, tea/coffee and soft drinks
- on departures before 09:00am there is an at seat service of a rather lovely complimentary continental breakfast.

Trains (branded
Øresundståg) are now once again operating in both directions between Denmark and southern Sweden as the ID checks on these trains from Denmark to Sweden have been suspended.

3. Six Things Worth Knowing About Snabbtåg train services:

(i) InterCity trains used to be the pride of Swedish Railways, but now they provide a slower and cheaper alternative to the Snabbtågs on some routes

(ii) On some routes between Stockholm and cities to the north they are the only express trains.

(iiI) SJ doesn't operate these Intercity trains between Stockholm and Göteborg).

(iv) For RAIL PASS users is that reservation fees on these Intercity (IC) rains are cheaper than the Snabbtåg trains.

(v) Free Wi-Fi is available on InterCity services.

(vi) Quiet zones are available in both 1st and 2nd class.

4. Routes that have no Snabbtåg or Intercity services are served by SJ Regional services - these routes include many of the cross country routes that don't serve Stockholm

Some of SJ’s most modern trains are used for these Regional services

5. SJ Regional trains can travel long distances.

Between Stockholm and
Göteborg they take a different (but much slower) route to the Snabbtåg trains – but they’re cheaper when the discounted tickets for the Snabbtåg trains have sold out.

6. Unusally for regional trains, discounted tickets can be available for journeys by SJ Regional trains:

7.  Öresundståg train services are the regional’ trains between Denmark and Sweden, but these services also travel fairly long distances in southern Sweden.

All trains between Malmö and both Karlskrona and Kalmar via
Växjö are Öresundståg trains.

On the route between Malmö and Göteborg, the Öresundståg trains provide the most frequent (hourly) services - the 
Snabbtågs are faster, but less frequent.

8.  SJ’s overnight trains connect both Göteborg and Stockholm with the far north of Sweden.

9.  Now that the overnight trains from Copenhagen/København to destinations south of Denmark have been discontinued, international train travel from Stockholm has been compromised.

From Stockholm it’s possible to travel south to destinations such as Cologne, Hamburg and Frankfurt in a single day, but for longer distances an overnight stay is required.


10.  NON-FOLDING bikes are NOT allowed on ANY train operated by SJ.

Folding bikes must be placed in a travel bag and stored in the luggage racks at the end of coaches and not in the overhead

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The other major train operators - Six Things Worth Knowing:

1.  Snälltåget trains offer a daytime alternative to SJ's trains on the Stockholm - Malmö  route

The company also operate the only overnight trains between Malmö and the skiing areas in north-west Sweden (Åre and Duved).

2. Rail pass users should note that rail pass reservation fees also apply to Snälltåget services.

3. Snälltåget also operates the overnight train service between Malmö  and Berlin – which spends the majority of its journey travelling on a train ferry!

Between the end of June and mid-August the train departs from Malmö only on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and also on a few dates between mid-April and the end of June.

4. MTR now operates the Stockholm commuter train network, but tickets for these trains are not sold online.

5. What can be booked online are tickets for the MTR Express, which competes with SJ's trains on the route between Stockholm and Göteborg.

6. Blå Tåget is retro-train that features beautifully restored carriages in both directions on an Uppsala – Stockholm – Göteborg route.

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Tickets For Swedish Trains - 12 Things Worth Knowing:

More info about how to book is available by clicking the green 'Tickets & Passes; button below.

1. SJ’s booking service only sells tickets for the trains it operates AND Öresundståg trains.  

2. The other operators listed above also only sell tickets for their respective services, so the only means of comparing prices and schedules is to check each company’s website.

3. It’s worth booking ahead for SJ'S train services.

The most heavily discounted SJ tickets are some of Europe’s best rail travel bargains -  travel from Stockholm to Malmö  for the equivalent of around €22.

4. The cheapest discounted tickets can be 3 x cheaper than the standard price, but prices can vary widely between different departures on the same date.

So it can be worth being flexible re: departure/arrival times and looking through the departures to find the cheapest fares.

5. Remember that on the SJ booking service, the prices will be displayed in Swedish krona and not euros.

6. Also the most popular Snabbtåg departures CAN sell out completely days in advance - rail pass users take note.

7. A quirk of SJ’s booking service to look out for, is that when attempting to book too far ahead, before tickets are released for sale, the English translation is 'not available’. 

This does not mean that tickets for this train have sold out, what you need to do is check back in a few days to see if the tickets have been released.

8. If you won’t be purchasing a series of tickets over a period of time, then it’s probably not worth downloading SJ’s app.

However, a benefit only available on the app, is the capability to choose specific seats when reserving on most long distance trains.

9. Limited numbers of discounted tickets are also available for SJ Regional trains – they're usually a cheaper alternative to the faster express trains on the Stockholm – Göteborg route).

10. SJ’s booking system will sell tickets for journeys to Copenhagen/København and Oslo - and to Norwegian stations that the trains from Sweden call at.

It doen't sell tickets to destinations in Denmark or Norway that require a change of train.

Travelling With Children:

11. If you will be travelling with children, for each adult ticket booked, discounts can USUALLY be applied to two children aged 15 and under.

12. However, be aware that different terms apply to child tickets, depending on the type of train service that you will be taking.

(i) For journeys by Snabbtåg an adult booking enables up to two children to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.

(ii) For journeys by Intercity train, up to two children travelling with an adult, only have to pay the 5 SEK (kronor) reservation fee.

(iii) On SJ Regional trains the maximum price that two children travelling with an adult will pay is 5 SEK.

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