Lund – Malmö quadruple tracking contract
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Weekly LCL service widens appeal of China-Europe rail route
Siemens to buy planning software company HaCon
Hupac orders eight multisystem locomotives
Montecargo privatisation cancelled
IONX and Ermewa agree telematics partnership
High-value chemicals travel from China to Europe by rail
DB Regio selected for Rhein-Neckar operating contract
This post is not intended to be as thorough as the previous post on Swedish rail but instead simply record a couple of observations of the trains in Copenhagen.
Miserable underground scene in Copenhagen Airport greets the Swedish train
Having arrived at the underground CPH airport station on the X2000 from Sweden, it was not a very inviting scene. CPH airport is quite a large one, the largest in Northern Europe, and even working out which level to select inside the lift was not straightforward.
The plan was to hire a car for the duration, but also to try out, as much as possible, any local trains. With a small party needing to get to Helsingør (of Hamlet fame), the Viking ships at Roskilde and the Royal Palaces, a car seemed the most sensible option. Rainy weather had also descended.
This post uses mostly photos from others – as the weather was far too cold, dark and wet for good photos.
Copenhagen has two major stations – the CPH Airport station and København H (Hovedbanegård – which German speakers should recognise the similarity to the word Hauptbahnhof) servicing the international and Danish long distance expresses.
Having arrived at the Airport, it was important to go to K-H station to see the commuter and mainline trains there.
Trains reach out from Copenhagen in all directions and using several tiers of service.
Leaving aside the Metro for moment, the mainline system includes an S-Tog network – another Germanic influence (like S-Bahn in German). It doesn’t mean anything in Danish; at best could be thought of referring to the English Latinism “Suburban”.
Like other systems that this blog can point to around the world – the double deck services in Sydney or Paris; common practice among the above-ground trains in London; or even the situation with Vline in Melbourne; the question is asked what the distinction is between your ‘suburban’ commuter trains, and any other commuter trains you may run.
An example from Sydney would be the question of what truly distinguishes a train going from Penrith to Emu Plains that is double deck; similar make and build; and ticketed the same way as another train running from Emu Plains to Lapstone. In truth: there may be no practical difference at all, but one is counted in the ‘suburban’ network, the other not.
This is not the same type of difference as you will see argued at length between so-called ‘Metro’ systems and ‘Non-Metro’ systems.
This is not about letting your system wander out from the built-up city environment into the suburbs – but what happens when you let your suburban trains out into the country to pick up commuters.
This map, for example, is official but without contextual knowledge might be misleading. As in Melbourne, it shows the S Tog lines in diverse colours (again, let’s park the Metro to one side) but then indicates ‘Regional Trains’ yet on the ground the difference between these and the S Tog may not be so great.
The context is that Denmark is a small country and an archipelago -though all the main islands are now linked by fixed links. Certainly the main island Sjælland that Copenhagen sits on has a comprehensive rail network, and all the towns outside Copenhagen could be said to be commutable to the city.
For example, the Roskilde line, shown as Regional here, or the coastal line to Helsingør have frequency, rolling stock and price befitting a commuter operation.
Roskilde commuters 1000 years ago carried swords and battleaxes – the Sea Stallion of Glendalough which is based there. Visit Wicklow photo
In Sjælland much of the system seems to be electric. The actual suburban stock did not look that remarkable and painting everything red looked a bit tiresome, though in the dull winter landscape it is probably a good choice.
Longer distance trains
The previous post on Sweden covered the NSW Greiner Government of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and its flirtation with Scandinavian Rail.
Besides arranging for the SJ X2000 to visit Australia, that government had also looked at whether Copenhagen wished to procure a design potentially related to the Tangara, and whether NSW might be interested in the IC3 stock (then new). Riding the descendents of those original IC3s was also covered in that post.
NSW did end up with Danish trains….though not the ones expected! Copyright owner Peter Reading as shown in photo. Former MZ class locos from DSB.
The IC3s and successors have a distinctive bellows curtain on the edges of the front of the train, as if providing an intercar connecting bellows that encompasses the whole front of the train.
The descendent railcar design ET-FT series working from Denmark into Sweden, photographed at Kalmar.
They appear to be a practical workhorse, and similar to Vline Velocities in practicality.
As noted in the Swedish post, they are not fitted out comfortably like the Swedish trains, suprisingly even for the longer journeys. Very utilitarian design inside.
Copenhagen has an easy to use and very extensive Metro system. The most salient feature is of course the recently completed ring line (Cityringen) . The system also serves useful locations with Copenhagen including the hotel where this blog was staying, and the Airport.
International Rail Journal Photo
The system and lines are actually fairly basic, of a scale similar to London’s Docklands Light Rail. Steep grades and sharp curves reminscent of DLR are also a feature of this system. Stations are also fairly basic in the extremities, however, everything is legible and reasonably well kept.
VIntage Trains – Hornbækbanen
To quote Robert Menzies “I did but see her passing by…” this blog did in fact manage to photograph the railmotor of the Nordsjællands Veterantog group. It was quite unexpected, over lunch, to find it crawling northwards from Helsingør main station, along the waterfront and beside the road, past Kronborg Castle (itself rising from a promontory in the mist, much as Shakespeare might have imagined it) and off into the distance.
The Nordsjællands Veterantog apparently have a range of activities with steam as well in the summer months.
The line appears to be heading to Kronborg Castle – maybe to look for the ghost of Prince Hamlet’s father.
General observations on the rail system and Denmark generally
The rail system, as befits a very small country dominated by a very large city, is well served by rail, but without a lot of the flashiness of more populated European countries, the need for high speed that comes with that, and a strong emphasis on commuters rather than intercity travellers.
Rail Engineer Keith Fender Credit – Freight at Roskilde
Unlike Sweden or Norway, with widespread electrification, Denmark was somewhat late to that party and was more well known for diesel traction, including those MZs that made their way to Australia.
A short section of High Speed line is open – to Ringsted where the lines to western Denmark and the line to the Femern Belt (and onto Germany) diverge. The Danes have no specific high speed stock to use it as of 2019.
Railcolor website photo – test train on Ringsted HSR at 250km/h.
As with Sweden, a foreigners’ first impressions often contrast with the cliches that abound regarding Denmark. As mentioned in the post on Sweden – Denmark is not the spotlessly clean, prim and proper place that Sweden comes across with.
They do eat open sandwiches and drink Carlsberg or Tuborg with it.
Parts of Copenhagen seem quite rough, and the country as a whole comes across as Scandinavia with a few rough edges. The people are nice – but not glowingly nice like the Swedes. And it is a bit cheaper.
This article first appeared on undertheclocksblog.wordpress.com
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