Sunday, July 31, 2016

Malmö to Stockholm by Snälltåget

Today is the last day of my European interrail tour this summer, and it is time to go back to Stockholm. I'm already in Sweden, so I just have to cover about 600km from Malmö. I have decided to skip SJ this time and take the alternative company - Snälltåget.
 The word Snälltåg is taken from German "Schnellzug" which means fast train, i.e. a train running at its maximum speed and with as few stops as possible. But that was in the 80's, today the meaning is literally a "Nice train", considering that coaches from the 60's are used (some are even from the 40's).
The 1st class section of coach AB3K from Snälltåget. The coach is from 1962, and it is a combined 1st and 2nd class coach. Snälltåget has 2 of this type of coaches, Tågab has 3.
1st class section has 2 compartments (12 seats) and a open saloon section with 8 seats
At the same time, there was another oldie at Malmö C. A special charter train from Nordisk Jernbane-Klub (NoJK) - a Danish railway association organising excursions in Nordic countries. The club is in possession of a diesel engine combination, from the Norwegian State Railways NSB Class 86.
The club has been renting two modern locomotives from Hectorrail, so I had a chance to view these as well. The first one is a Bombardier Traxx F140 AC2
The locomotive can be operated in Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as it is supporting 15kV 16.7Hz and 25kV 50Hz power systems. Hector Rail has 12 of such locomotives.
Pictures of this trip from the club is available here.
NSB Class 86 is a DMU and they were built between 1937 and 1954
The other locomotive from Hector Rail here was old Rc3. SJ sold 13 of these locomotive in 2014 to Hector Rail, 5 of these were further sold to Tågab. Hector Rail is having their own Class 143 for these now. This one is form 1970.
Besides for two trains operating daily all year Malmö-Stockholm route, Snälltåget is also operating seasonal route to ski resorts of Åre and Vemdalen in cooperation with Inlandsbanan. BC2 coaches from 1942 can be used both as sitting and sleeping coaches.

Some coaches are also approved for operation in Germany, used for Berlin Night Express.
Another Hector Rail is used for hauling the train, since Snälltåget does not have their own locomotives. However, from 5th of October 2016, Snälltåget has started to use their own branded locomotives of type Siemens Vectron (leased from ELL - European Locomotive Leasing, Wien).
But in the summer, there were still Hector Rail Siemens Taurus locomotives, approved form maximum speed of 230km/h
 Sweden was the first country in Europe to deregulate train operations, since 2000 it was possible to operate privately operated train services on weekends, and since 2011 it became possible all days. Veolia was one of the first companies to start train services in 2009 on weekends, and since 2013 it has change it's brand in Sweden to Snälltåget.
Siemens ES 64 U2 is one of the fastest locomotives in the worlds, during a test on Munich-Nuremberg high speed line in 2006 it reached 375km/h. During a recent test run in Denmark in March 2016, this locomotive could reach 235km/h on Great Belt bridge. The trial also would test the catenary system capability. This was the speed record as it was first train in Denmark reaching this speed.
Time to check my train. From the traffic start in 2009, the train had only 4 coaches, today we have 9 coaches. The maximum length of coaches is restricted by the platforms length and lowest speed restriction. For example on Västra Stambanan the restriction for passenger trains is maximum 13 coaches (same length as 2 X2 coupled), otherwise the trains will be operated with decreased speed and block for normal high speed train operation.
There are 3 types of trains for Malmö-Stockholm service. SJ Snabbtåg (X2) is the fastest alternative, 4h28min. SJ is also operating an Intercity service with locomotive hauled coach train, travel time is 5h15min. Snälltåget is taking 5h5min.
Passing by Hjärup
Approaching Lund
Railway Malmö-Lund is one of the most busy in Sweden, and there is a need to increase the capacity from two to four tracks. One of the problems is the so called "Armaturkurvan", just next to Lund station, the railway is passing through the old buildings, Carl Holmberg's mechanical engineering workplant. Proposed solution is a railway tunnel, but nothing has yet been decided.
Even though the doors are opened and closed manually, the process of boarding is quick.
Time to visit the restaurant coach, or as Snälltåget is naming it "Krogvagnen". The coach is type R7 and it is an old NSB Norwegian passenger coach from 1968. It is a rare view nowdays in Sweden to have a real dining coach. SJ have a bistro but basically you have to bring the food to your seat. Blå tåget, Snälltåget and Norrlandståget have real dining coach where one can eat.
Most of the 2nd class coaches are of type BC2 with 8 compartments each.
6 seats in each compartment
There is also one 2nd class open-saloon coach - B1. The coach is from 1967, the same type of coach can be found in Tågab and Blå tåget trains. SJ has none of these coaches anymore.
Snälltåget is making a stop in Eslöv. From 2011 Transdev Veolia is also operating Öresundståg (on the other side of the platform), while the owner is 6 regional public transport companies.
Beautiful Eslöv station from 1914 created by Folke Zettervall

1st class ticket passengers can enjoy complimentary breakfast on morning train.
Arriving to Hässleholm
Skånebanan is attaching here near Hässleholm to Södra stambanan. Skånebanan is the railway connecting Kristianstad with Helsingborg.

Södra stambanan (South main railway) opened 1864. Today it is one of the most heavily used in Sweden.
Öresundståg is operating services all the way until Alvesta on SSB.
Rc4 from 1980 operated by Green Cargo
Älmhult station is currently being renovated with new platforms and bridge, will be opened November 2016.
Approaching Alvesta
Lake Salen just next to the station
In Alvesta, the train was invaded by recently finished Emmaboda music festival visitors, so the train was fully booked from Alvesta.
Approaching Nässjö. X14 from Krösatåget (still painted in Östgötapendeln colours).
Approaching Linköping. Railyard in Linköping with SJ Regional locomotive hauled and X40 train.
Linköping C and monument for a train dispatcher made by wood.

Linköping Cathedral in the background
Norrköping is the last stop before Stockholm
Stockholm Central - last stop. The train arrived without delay