You must learn how to read a train time table and understand train schedules, in order to master the train system in Denmark,
If you learn to read a train schedule, you will also be able to figure out the bus schedule. They work the exact same way.
This page will teach you everything you need to know to accomplish reading a train time table.
Now that you know which train you want to take, you need to know when it departs and when it will arrive at your destination. You can get a train time table from most train stations, get an app from DSB or download the Train Time Table. The download includes a zone map and the train schedules for each line. You can also just look at the schedule below for our example
If you use the download, go the second page for the A Schedule. (You may wish to print it out so it easier to follow along). You can go back later and review the other lines, when you understand how to read this train time table.
We will use Line A or Linje A. This is the blue line which travels from Hundige to Farum. You can locate that one on the map on the download or see it here.
This may look confusing, but I will try to make it simple to understand. Once you know what you are looking at, the train time table will start to make sense.
We will take the first column. On this table it says 16 26 36 46 56 06. These are the times the train departs from the station. The station it is leaving from is Farum. So, on the hour, every hour, it leaves at those times: 6:16, 6:26, 6:36, etc.
Look at the middle column. This is the list of the stations that the times apply to. The next stop is Vaerløse. It leaves there at 19, 29, 39, 49, 59 and 09 minutes after the hour. So you now know it takes about 3 minutes to travel between the two stops. The train stops at each station even if no one is getting on or off. As you continue down you will know exactly when the train leaves and arrives at each station. The arrival and departure times are the same, since the trains are only at each station for less than a minute.
So let's see if you have this. If you catch the train in Buddinge at 8:11 am, what time will you arrive in Friheden? Study your train time table carefully before answering.
Answer is 8:46AM.
To figure it out, go to Buddinge station, look at the 11 departure, follow the line straight down til you reach Friheden, and the time next to it is your arrival time. Did you get it? If not just try again.
FYI: Did you notice the arrow? In the first column there is an arrow pointing down, indicating you read from top to bottom. In the third column (explained below) the arrow is pointing up, meaning you read this train time table from bottom to top!
So what is the third column for? That is the timetable for the train going from Hundige to Farum. You read it from the bottom up. If you read it from the top down, you would be going back in time. The trains are fast, but they don't go back in time! But how cool would that be! So let's try it.
In Hundige the trains depart at 7,17,27,37,47 and 57 minutes after the hour. Take the 9:27 train from Hundige and it arrives at København Main station at 9:53 and it arrives at Harskov at 10:22.
So you read the timetable on the left side from the top and down and the timetable on the right from the bottom and up. If you forget which way to read, just remember you cannot travel back in time on the Danish trains! So if you leave a station at 12 minutes after the hour and the next stop gets you there at 6 minutes after the hour, you are using the wrong timetable.
A couple of other notes: At the bottom of each timetable it tells you when the first train leaves and when the last train departs. They do not travel 24 hours a day!
So the first train from Farum to København leaves at 4:56am and the last one leaves at 12:16am.
Here are some of the common abbreviations that are used on the schedules.
Codes: ma - fr means monday to friday
lø - means saturday only
sø and hldg - means sunday and holidays only
kører kun til - goes only to... (name of station)
Remember: The times indicate the minutes. There are no hours on the timetable, since the trains travel 3 - 6 times an hour, depending on the route.
Now try doing this on the other lines and see if it all makes sense. If you do not grasp this concept right away, don't worry. Go through the example again and follow along on the schedule.
Next you need to learn about the various zones. Once you understand all the components, it will come together quickly and you will be a master train traveler.
You can continue on to Travel Zones or if you already understand the zone cards, you may wish to learn about the Train Routes or what tickets you need to buy. It is all part of the public transportation network and the more you know, the more you save in time, cost and frustration. There are more pages below that will help you become travel confident in Denmark.
For a pretty complete list of train schedules, you can visit the DSB site which has a comprehensive list of train time tables.
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