Trains in Sweden: 12 points

Published on 18 September 2023 at 16:48

train to Stockholm on Gotnenborg. Station.

If you take a train in the Netherlands, say from The Hague in the southwest to Leeuwarden in the north of the country where I live, the good news is that there is a direct line. It takes more than two-and-a-half hours on this 160k track though, so you might need to visit the toilet on your train journey. Quick word of advice: don't.


There might be two toilets on board if you are lucky. If you are extremely fortunate, they might both be working but the chances of either of them being clean are dismal. 


I once took that train and the single toilet was beyond disgust. It was like you had skipped the port to hell and were already at its centre. When I called the customer service of the Dutch railways, the NS, the guy said that there was nothing they could do about it. End of.


So my advice would be to get off along the way in Zwolle or Amersfoort and then take the next train. Most of the stations in the Netherlands have excellent public toilets for about 70 eurocents. 


The SJ, the Swedish railway company, shows how customer service should work. On Tuesday 5 September Wim and I took the highspeed train from Gothenborg to Stockholm, which was scheduled to leave around half past ten. It left about half an hour late, which was annoying but can happen on a track with a length of nearly 400k. If communicated appropriately, and it was, you can happily live with it. 


I received another bit of communications from SJ not too long after we were on our way. Within four working days, we were going to be compensated 25% of our fare because the toilets at the end of our compartment weren't working. There were many other toilets we could use, and the state of those were impeccable. I mean you don't need to make a mess of the toilet area; it's quite easy to keep it clean. 


Indeed, within a few days we got a quarter of our fare reimbursed. But what we found much more important, was that the journey in itself was a joy. Clean and refreshed we arrived in Stockholm albeit half an hour later than expected. I can thoroughly recommend taking the train in Sweden, at least in the south! It might be better to fly there though and avoid the train journey through Germany as we have nothing but delays while changing trains in Germany. My partner Wim says that will change as they upgrade their trains. I sometimes wish the European Union had more say in the matter and not leave it to all the individual countries themselves to work it out. I mean train travel should be prioritised, right?


Do you have any recommendations for us? In which countries should we definitely take the train and in which maybe not? Have you had any excellent train journeys? I can't wait to hear. 


Stockholm Central Station

Stockholm Central Station.

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