Transport For Members

Why rail passengers in Denmark may face years of delays and compensation

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Why rail passengers in Denmark may face years of delays and compensation
The Danish national rail company finds itself engaged in an ongoing struggle against delays. Photo by: Astrid Maria Busse Rasmussen / DSB / Press

The Danish national rail company, DSB, is facing an ongoing battle against persistent delays, leading to significant compensation payouts to passengers.


In recent years, many passengers boarding Danish trains have frequently faced travel disruption.

The probability of slower-than-usual travel or even the potential cancellation of trains has been at a very high level.

Denmark's national rail company, DSB, has been grappling with persistent delays, posing significant challenges for passengers. 

Unfortunately, these issues are projected to persist for several more years, extending the frustration of travellers.

Worrisome delay and compensation figures

According to figures obtained by the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, DSB paid out 24.3 million kroner to passengers in 2022, compared to 6.3 million kroner in 2021. 

It has to be noted, however, that there were fewer passengers in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures also show that 9.1 million kroner have been paid up to and including April this year, compared to 4.9 million in the same period last year. 

In terms of delays, April of this year was one of the worst months for DSB in recent times. Some 48.5 percent of customers between Copenhagen and Odense arrived at their destination on time. 

According to DSB's classification, that means they arrived at their destination with a delay of fewer than three minutes, according to the company's information manager Tony Bispeskov.


When will the issues be resolved?

DSB and Banedanmark, the Danish company responsible for the maintenance and traffic control of the state-owned Danish railway network, both agree that the challenges are amplified by the large number of projects that Banedanmark currently has underway.

The situation is unlikely to improve in the next two to four years.

According to estimates by Peter Svendsen, the traffic director at Banedanmark, the major projects in western Denmark will be finished in 2027, and those in eastern Denmark are expected to be finalised in 2030.

Among other things, Svendsen pointed out that the Aarhus Banegård railway station will go through a major overhaul in 2025 and 2026, as space must be made for platform extension, new electric overhead lines, and new signalling systems.

However, the Banedanmark executive also noted the work would be finished by December 2026, when passengers will be able to travel by electric train from Copenhagen to Aalborg.

Transport Minister Thomas Danielsen told Jyllands-Posten that he is not happy about the many delays and slower trains. However, he believes the issues are a result of necessary railway projects.


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