Arduous / Day 43 of 64 / 21 June
My time in the Norwegian capital has come to an end! I left the hostel at 6.15am and arrived at Oslo Central Station [Oslo Sentralstasjon] at 6.45am, just enough time to grab some snacks before my journey to Copenhagen. The first leg of my journey was a train ride to the Swedish city of Gothenburg (NSB R20/105, sj.se, 540 SEK/83 SGD/pax). The train left Oslo at around 7am.
So begins a hellish journey.
Unfortunately, the train to Gothenburg was delayed at the Norwegian town of Halden for about 20 minutes. Because of the delay, I was not able to catch my connecting train to Copenhagen, which was departing at 10.55am. Train 105 pulled into Gothenburg Station at 11am, just 5 minutes after my connecting train had left. To get a seat on the next Copenhagen-bound train, I had to go to the SJ service counter. There, the staff gave me a ticket for the 11.55am train leaving for Copenhagen (Øresundståg 1069, sj.se, 513 SEK/78 SGD/pax).
Second times the charm eh.
The Swedish railroad must’ve taken some engineering advice from SMRT because, for the second time in the same day, my train was delayed. There were track issues just outside Helsingborg Station, so Train 1069 was delayed at Helsingborg for almost 30 minutes. We eventually left the station at 2.35pm.
I thought that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, arriving at Copenhagen a mere 30 minutes late. But, to my surprise, an announcement was made stating that Train 1069 would be terminating on the Swedish side, at Malmo, because of the delay.
After some Googling, I found out why the train was terminated early. Train 1069 was an Øresundståg train. Øresundståg services cross the Swedish-Danish border, but they operate in a different manner in each country. In Sweden, the service acts as regional rail, linking far towns with each other; in Denmark, the service act as commuter rail, linking close urban and suburban areas together. Therefore, in Sweden, passengers are likely on long-distance commutes, while in Denmark, they’re probably on shorter commutes, similar to those on mass transit lines. Because so many people in the Danish suburbs rely on the Øresundståg to get to the city from the suburbs, the service cannot afford to be late on the Danish side. Because of this, if an Øresundståg train from Sweden is late, the train is terminated on the Swedish side and a replacement train is deployed on the Danish side according to the original schedule.
Apparently, this happens frequently enough that regular commuters from Sweden to Denmark advise against taking Øresundståg services across the border. Also, because the Øresundståg is part commuter train, its carriages lack sufficient seats, and standing on board is quite common. The advice I’ve read is to skip the Øresundståg and take an SJ-run service instead. Confusingly, Øresundståg tickets are sold on the SJ website as well, so do look for an SJ symbol if you specifically want to travel on an SJ train.
Anyway, Train 1069 reached Malmo Station and terminated there at 3.15pm. I boarded an on-time Øresundståg train (Random Øresundståg, sj.se, free replacement service) and finally reached Copenhagen Central Station at 4.15pm. Luckily, my hostel (Copenhagen Backpackers Hostel, 52 SGD/night) was located just across the road from the station so I could lie down almost immediately upon reaching Copenhagen. I definitely deserve the rest: 2 train delays in a day, what are the odds?
Finally crossing the iconic Øresund Bridge from Sweden into Denmark.
Finally in Copenhagen.
A tiny bed after all that trouble.