SWEDEN: Open access operator FlixMobility has opened ticket bookings for its first rail service in Sweden, with services between Stockholm and Göteborg expected to start from May 6, a year later than originally anticipated.

The group already operates coach services in Sweden, and in September 2019 it announced that the country would see the first expansion of FlixTrain outside Germany.

FlixMobility had applied to Trafikverket for paths on the routes from Stockholm to both Göteborg and Malmö with a view to launching in the first half of 2020. The intention was that the Göteborg services would make intermediate calls at Falköping, Hallsberg and Södertälje, while the Malmö trains would serve Lund, Alvesta, Nässjö, Linköping and Norrköping.

However, the launch was delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which has since seen FlixTrain services in Germany suspended. In Sweden, FlixBus has been operating a restricted timetable and limiting bookings to around 50% of capacity.

There are three FlixTrain services already running in Germany.

There are three FlixTrain services already running in Germany.

Bookings have now opened for the Göteborg route, where FlixTrain expects to run an initial 38 trains per week, targeting periods of higher demand. The service will range from one train each way on Tuesdays up to four on Sundays. The basic three-train service which would operate for much of the week has departures from Stockholm C at 07.45, 12.32 and 17.33, arriving in Göteborg C at 11.10, 16.05 and 21.00. The return trips leave at 07.48, 12.28 and 17.28, arriving in the capital at 11.13, 15.59 and 20.55. All trains will make intermediate stops at Skövde C, Hallsberg and Södertälje Syd.

Each six-coach train will have seats for up to 562 passengers, with an ‘affordable’ single fare of SKr129 between the two cities. The trains will be operated by Hector Rail, with the local partner providing locomotives, rolling stock and crews.

‘Taking FlixTrain between Stockholm and Göteborg is almost as time-efficient as taking a flight, but with significantly less climate impact’, FlixBus Nordic Managing Director Peter Ahlgren explained to local media. He added that the rail services would be fully integrated with the group’s bus routes through a ‘seamless booking process’, providing the opportunity for multimodal journeys.