All work and no play make Kristin a very dull girl. So I’m going to go visit my friend, Margaret in Göteborg this weekend. I will take the famous X2000 train—oh okay, it’s not that famous, but I do remember feeling a thrill of recognition when Mikael Blomkvist hopped on the same train in “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (the second book in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series.)
Here’s how to book a train ticket in Sweden:
This part’s easy. You must decide where you’re going and who’s going with you. I will travel between Stockholm and Göteborg by myself.
How to buy
Statens Järnvägar (SJ) is Sweden’s state-run passenger train operator in Sweden. It serves approx. 100,000 persons per day and travels between approx. 160 stations across Sweden, according to their website. You can buy tickets online, over the phone, or at a train station. I bought my tickets online.
There are lots more things to decide than I thought there would be when traveling by train. After I entered the dates of travel, I was presented with a list of trains I could take. The prices vary depending on the date you are booking but also on the time of day you travel and how far in advance you purchase the tickets. The price also depends on how long the trip takes—a slower train is cheaper. First class is obviously more expensive than second class but the price difference also varies depending on the above criteria. I chose high speed train
Gonna need flexibility?
At the same time that you choose first or second class, you have to decide whether you want to pay extra to be able to make changes later. The more flexible the ticket, the more it costs. The followng three categories are self-explanatory: Non-rebookable, Rebookable, and Refundable. I chose to pay approx 70 kr more for the ability to rebook both legs of my trip.
Different trains offer different amenities. Some trains offer you a choice between a reserved seat or on an unreserved one. Some have the reserved seat included. My trains cost 49 kr extra each way to have a booked seat. I booked a reserved seat so that I wouldn’t have to stress over finding a seat. Plus, I plan to spend most of the time in my seat, looking out the window so I wanted to make sure I got a window seat. Some trains ask you if you want to sit in a quiet part of the train, sit where there are no pets allowed, etc. On my journey, I could only choose between a window, aisle, or middle seat (In addition to wheelchair accessible options, etc.) I booked my tickets over a month ago. I notice that now there are only reserved seats left in the lounge car.
I ride the commuter train between Uppsala and Stockholm every day. There’s something cool about trains but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I’m looking forward to having 3 or 4 hours to myself in which I’m not trapped the way one is on an airplane. On a train, you can move around if you need to stretch your legs. Plus, there’s something about how timeless trains feel. Plus, they have their own particular sound and smell both inside and outside the train. When you’re riding the rails, you don’t worry about traffic, other cars, or the world outside the train. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the whole Harry Potter effect.
Platform 9 ½ beckons!