8

I have been to Sweden by train from Germany multiple times and plan to do so again this summer. So far, I have planned my trips using DB’s HAFAS database on their website which is also where I booked part of my ticket.[1]

However, I recently stumbled across a highly voted answer to a respectable question that discourages using HAFAS for a number of reason. Most relevant for me is the following (quoted from gerrit’s answer):

  • It contains invalid connections. For example, in Sweden, each railway station has a minimum transfer time. HAFAS is not aware, so it might recommend a connection with a 10 minute change whereas the minimum transfer time is 15 minutes. Minimum transfer time in this case means that connections are guaranteed, so that tickets are replaced if a connection is missed. With a connection less than the minimum connection time, this guarantee will not work.

So far I have always had punctual trains in Sweden (or if they were late, it was always the final Swedish leg outbound to Copenhagen) so I have not yet had a problem. But to ease my peace of mind, I would like to know where I can find information on these minimum transfer times so that I can avoid unpleasant surprises.[2]

In case there is no comprehensive database available, the stations I would most likely change trains at would be Malmö C, Alvesta and Nässjö C.


Notes:

[1]: For reasons unknown to me, DB only sells tickets to select Swedish stations, so I typically had two tickets for my journeys: One from Germany into Sweden (to Copenhagen in a single, rare case) and one onward ticket from the Copenhagen–Stockholm main line to my actual destination.

[2]: Unpleasant surprises mainly refers to being stuck at a train station because I missed a connection by a few minutes and now have to wait. As beautiful as Sweden is and as much of a trainspotter I am, it does typically get dull after the odd fifteen minutes …

  • Will the tickets be valid only on specific timed trains for each part of your journey? If not, this may not matter much. – user35890 Jun 16 '16 at 13:37
  • @dan1111 From a fare perspective, that is correct. However, I have better things to do with my life than sit around for an hour or two at a train station waiting for the next train to some other location just because my connection was not guaranteed and I missed it by five minutes … – Jan Jun 16 '16 at 13:45
  • 2
    yes but missing your train is one thing, and losing the ticket guarantee is another. 10 minutes is plenty to make a connection at all but the biggest rail stations (in general--I've no experience of Sweden specifically). – user35890 Jun 16 '16 at 13:55
  • Have you tried to buy from the Swedish train site? ( sj.se/en/home.html ) Even when you can not buy from them, you can do all but the final buying on their site and still buy from the German company if it is the easier option. This should show you only garantied travels which you can buy from any site. – Willeke Jan 14 '17 at 10:31
  • @Willeke That’s a good idea, too! I guess that could be an answer ;) – Jan Jan 14 '17 at 18:51
5

'Samtrafiken', the Swedish association of public transport operators, operates a web page, where you can search for minimum transfer times. It is unfortunately only in Swedish, but might of course be of some help anyway. Depending on the station or halt, the rules might however be a little bit more complex than just a fixed period. E.g. if you search for Stockholm Central Station (enter 'Stockholm Centralstation' in the field for hållplats/halt and click sök/search) the page will show you the following rules:

Stockholm Centralstation

  • is a hub, general transfer time: 20 minutes
  • from 'Storstockholms Lokaltrafik AB' to 'Storstockholms Lokaltrafik AB' (transfer between suburban trains): 9 minutes
  • from 'Snälltåget' to 'SJ AB', 'Storstockholms Lokaltrafik AB', 'Snälltåget' or 'Arlanda Express' (different train operators): 30 minutes

A few tests seem to indicate that the DB (HAFAS) route planner is always operating with a 20 minutes minimum transfer time in Stockholm. E.g. searching for a trip from Malmö C to Älvsjö, HAFAS offers the following itinerary:

Malmö C        09:20 R3940 operated by Snälltåget
Stockholm C    14:31
Stockholm C    14:53 R2241 operated by Storstockholms Lokaltrafik AB
Älvsjö         15:03

With just 22 minutes transfer time, this itinerary violates the deviating rule for a 30 minutes minimum transfer time from Snälltåget to Storstockholms Lokaltrafik.

If I search for the same itinerary on Snälltåget's or SJ's route planner, it does as expected not offer me this transfer, but tells me to take the next train at 15:01 from Stockholm C to Älvsjö, with which the 30 minutes transfer time is satisfied.

For the three stations you are asking especially for, the rules are unfortunately much more complicated than for Stockholm C:

  • Malmö C and Nässjö C has minimum transfer times ranging from 10 to 120 minutes
  • Alvesta has minmum transfer times from 0 to 30 minutes

I am however not sure if these numbers will help you prevent 'unpleasant surprises'. These are the minimum transfer times required to buy a guaranteed 'through' ticket and will depend much more on the incoming train operator's reliability and their willingsness to care for your needs in case of a delay. You should not use these times to plan how much time you would actually need to walk between the platforms.

  • Really nice, thanks! Am I correct in assuming that Generell bytestid means general transfer time and applies to all connections not specifically noted below? – Jan Jun 16 '16 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Jan Yes, that is correct. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 16 '16 at 15:36
  • as a local I would like to add that on Stockholm C the longest walking time between platforms is something like 7 minutes. Add some 5 minutes if you pick the wrong exit from a platform. If there is a choice between going up or down from a platform - going down will always work. – froderik Jul 5 '16 at 6:56
1

When looking for a travel wholy within one country I usually try to use the national railway site for the country.
With border crossing travels it is often better to look for the smaller railway lines on the local site.

Those are not always available in English but the Swedish railway site has an English option.

Not all sites allow international travel and not all will allow to buy from an other country, you can get around that by searching on the German site and then copying the Swedish part into the Swedish site or do the search on the Swedish site and later buy from the German site as usual.

The official site for the country should only show connections that fit in with 'official connection times', they might show a warning if you try to book a connection which does not match the required times.
Not all 'English versions' of trains sites give all information in English, so it may pay off to run the site in Swedish and have an online translation for those times.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.