Today, I am traveling by train from the south of Sweden, Helsingborg, to the capital, Stockholm.
The journey, all tallied, takes about 4 hours and 40 minutes, which is comparable in duration to it would take me to get to one of two airports near home — Angelholm, about 40 minutes away, or Copenhagen, about an hour away — undress for security and, of course, dispense of any liquids, collect my bags in Stockholm and transfer to the city center (20 minutes by Arlanda Express and up to 40 minutes by bus or taxi).
Plus, a first-class seat on SJ (the Swedish rail system) set me back only about US$100, about the same price as the flight. Second-class seats were going for US$90. What did I get for US$10 extra? Free internet for starters. I’m using it to post this story. I’m also in a larger seat and in a less-crowded car than those seated in second class. For first-class railroaders, there’s coffee, tea, water, apples, oranges and some other small snacks — free for the taking. And if I had been departing from Stockholm, I could have used the SJ Lounge.
I’m traveling on the X2000, capable of zipping along at up to 200 kilometers per hour. Check out schedules and prices for Swedish trains at sj.se. There is an English-version of the site, though, disappointingly, I’ve never been able to use my US credit cards to book travel at the site, which seems incapable of processing them.