Crister Fritzon, the CEO of Swedish railway company SJ, told Norwegian daily Dagsavisen that the company has big ambitions for the route between the two Scandinavian capitals.
“Today, some 1.4 million people travel by air between Oslo and Stockholm. We believe that we can get 35 percent of them to take the train instead,” he said.
In July, August and September the number of passengers on SJ’s trains between Oslo and Stockholm increased by 25 percent. Fritzon said the numbers show that around ten percent of people who typically fly between the two cities are now making the journey by rail.
SJ put its fastest and most modern train, the X 2000, on the route in August 2015 and increased the number of daily departures from two to three. In December, it will begin offering five daily departures.
The train trip between the two capitals currently takes four and a half hours and Fritzon promised that the trains will be more punctual beginning in 2017. He said the rail service has been hampered by single-track stretches of the journey that make it difficult to make up for delays.
According to Harald Thune-Larsen, the research leader at Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics, it’s too early to say whether the increased rail offerings between Oslo and Stockholm will have a significant effect on air travel between the capitals.
Air traffic between the two cities has increased by 3.5 percent so far this year, but Thune-Larsen said that the expanded train service may have kept the air travel numbers from increasing even more.