New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Plans for a new rail service running from Oslo and stopping in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen before arriving in Hamburg are in the works, Swedish state-owned rail operator SJ has said.

Pictured is Hamburg Central Station.
A new train line running from Oslo, through Sweden and Denmark and Germany to Hamburg has been planned. Pictured is Hamburg Central Station. Photo by Hannes Köttner on Unsplash

Sweden’s state-owned SJ, along with Denmark’s DSB and DB of Germany, plans to offer a new international train line which runs between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Hamburg in northern Germany. 

The planned route would run daily, departing from Oslo at 8am before making stops in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen and arriving in Hamburg at 7pm. A service departing Hamburg and terminating in Gothenburg is also planned.

The 11 hour service would be quicker than the equivalent journey using either a car and ferry connection or existing train services. 

The planned service will enter into operation in 2027. Petter Essén, head of SJ’s vehicle and traffic programme, said the route made sense as it would connect a long stretch which doesn’t have continuous train traffic. 

“Today, there is a great deal of flying between Copenhagen and Oslo and between Oslo and Gothenburg, routes that would be fine by train,” Essén told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter

Currently, the only direct trains from the Norwegian capital to other countries are services to Gothenburg and Stockholm. 

The European Commission has selected the potential line as one of ten pilot projects that will receive support. This does not mean it will receive direct funding from the EU, but it will get backing on regulations and logistics, Essén explained.

“You can get help with various regulations and the process of getting all vehicles approved in all countries,” he said.

Generally, many Swedish and Norwegian trains can only operate within Sweden and Norway, while the majority of Danish and German trains are not cleared to run in Sweden in Norway. 

The Snälltåget line between Stockholm and Berlin has also been selected to receive support from the European Commission. 

SJ also announced plans to increase the number of trains between Gothenburg and Malmö to ten per day and offer the Gothenburg-Copenhagen service all year round. It said that these plans could come to fruition by 2026 or 2027. 

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Why are waste containers overflowing on Copenhagen’s streets?

Refuse collectors in Copenhagen have extended a strike into a fifth day despite being fined by a labour court.

Why are waste containers overflowing on Copenhagen’s streets?

One of the striking waste collectors, Michael Johansen, told media TV2 Kosmopol in an SMS that the action was “continuing”, adding that the workers were currently in “a meeting”.

The strike means that rubbish has not been collected in large parts of the city as well as in outlying Tårnby and Dragør throughout this week.

Johansen also told TV2 that the refuse workers would not meet again until Monday, meaning a resolution is unlikely to come before the weekend.

The strike is ongoing despite fines being handed down to the workers by the Danish Labour Court (Ardejdsretten) on Thursday. The court can fine workers for striking if the strike has not been officially sanctioned by their trade union and therefore in breach of collective bargaining agreements.

READ ALSO: What is a Danish collective bargaining agreement?

Strikes which go ahead without approval from unions are not permitted under the agreements. They are commonly referred to as “wildcat strikes”.

Union-approved strikes can occur in situations in which bargaining negotiations between the union and employers’ organisations break down. In these situations, they are considered part of negotiation tactics.

The fine issued by the Labour Court on Thursday totals as much as 1.2 million kroner, and corresponds to 50 kroner per hour for unskilled refuse collectors and 56 kroner per hour for skilled workers, according to the trade union publication Fagbladet 3F.

The hourly rate means the fine will increase throughout the day on Friday. Their trade unions earlier advised they should not continue the walkout.

Refuse collectors have stepped away from their duties this week over a conflict with Amager Ressourcecenter (ARC), the company which operates waste disposal facilities in Copenhagen including the Amager Bakke incinerator, a 124-metre tall, sloping building which can be seen from most of the southern part of the city.

The company is set to become the collectors’ employer as Copenhagen Municipality takes over refuse collection businesses in the city from private subcontractors, according to TV2 Kosmopol.

This means the workers will become employees of the public-owned ARC.

They oppose working conditions which could apply to them following the transition on September 1st.

According to TV2 Kosmopol, the grievance is related to a change of rules which will prevent the workers from finishing work early if they have completed their collection rounds. ARC wants them to have set working hours, citing safety.

The company also wants time to allow sufficient charging of electric rubbish trucks.