Train Travel in Denmark

Mastering train travel in Denmark is not that difficult once you understand how the system works. In order to do that, you need to understand how to read the maps, zones and timetables.

A few explanations and examples should help you become proficient in no time! A little bit of information first.

The infastructure in Denmark is top-notch and the government is constantly trying to encourage more and more people to leave their cars at home and use "offentlig" (public) transport or their bicycles. Which is working well.

For a visitor to Denmark, train travel may be a new experience, especially if you arecoming from the US, where the car is still KING. You will soon find out that the experience is quite painless, fun and very relaxing.

There are two major types of train travel - the local trains and the regional trains. I am not going to cover international train travel, but going to concentrate on train travel inside Denmark. If you are looking for train fares and schedules to Denmark from other European countries, check out Eurail or Rail Europe. The train system is much more concentrated in Sjaelland, than it is in other parts of Denmark. For that reason I will discuss the DSB S-Tog system first, which is the one most visitors to Denmark will be exposed to and use.

Train travel in Denmark may seem a bit complicated, but it really is very simple when you understand the basics. Take it one step at a time and it will all come together.

Let's start with the basics.

Train Travel on the S-Tog

symbol for the danish s tog systems tog sign

The Copenhagen train system is known as the S-Tog. Most of the trains on the system now are new and very sleek red carriages. There are still a few of the older type of carriages, but the majority are very modern - making train travel fun and enjoyable!

Stations are marked with large red sign with a white S. (See above)

Boarding a train is simple. Trains stop at all train stops on their routes. That does not mean that every train going through your station will stop. If the train is scheduled to stop, it will – you don’t need to flag it down or push a button on the train for it to stop.

danish commuter train outside doortrain doors

Always stand behind the yellow line by the edge of the platform. This is for your safety; don’t fool around with this, you will lose out. It hurts getting hit by a train.

When the train comes into the station, you will hear a beeping sound when the doors have been unlocked. You can now open the door to board. On the new trains you will see a round circle with blinking green lights. Push that button and the doors open automatically. When the train is ready to leave, the doors also close automatically. On the older trains, the doors have lever handles. They are opened by pushing the vertical door handles sideways.

danish commuter train insideseating on a s train

If you're not sure how to open the doors, just watch other people boarding. You will soon learn how simple it is.

On the new trains there are glass doors connecting each compartment. These doors are activated by pushing the blue dots on the door frame or waving your hand right in front of the door. There is an electric eye above the door that opens it.

There is no reserved seating, but be aware of which way you are sitting - some seats will face forward and some face backwards. Some people do not like riding backwards. If you do not like riding backwards – hey, you can always change seats.

A few things to remember

  • The trains stop running around 1am and start about 5am. Most trains make their final stop at the main station instead of at the end of the line.
  • There is no smoking on trains or in the stations.
  • Never ride without a ticket; inspectors travel on trains and if you are caught without a ticket you are fined 750 DKR.

  • Even though Denmark is very safe and muggings are rare, always be aware when traveling late at night. There are often lots of drunks and wild people going home after a night of partying. It's best to just move into another carriage if you see a wild group get on.
  • S-Togs do have conductors, so if there is an emergency you can pull the emergency stop. Only pull the emergency stop if it is a real emergency or you will be fined.
  • Check the time stamp on your tickets for the expiration. You need to be finished with your journey before the time expires. If you board the train/bus/metro before the time expires but do not complete your journey before the expiration, you can be fined. 
  • There is Free internet on the trains, you most log on to "CommuteNet", give your mobile phone number and log on.

During 2010, there were over 3.7 million trips taken without a ticket, which is well over 50 million kroner lost in revenue.

This is one of the reasons ticket prices keep going up. If people are not paying, than others who do will have to pay more. Do not be part of this illegal activity and report those who do. It will save you money.

Rules for bringing your bike on train

When traveling on the train, you must put your bicycle in the carriage that has the bicycle symbol on it. This is called the flex space. If you follow these rules you should be okay.

  • If there is no room for your bicycle in flex space, you must try to place you in a different flexrum or wait for the next train.
  • Your bike may only be in the flex space and should be placed behind the red line.
  • Do not block the doors to the compartment, or entrance doors to flex space with your bike.
  • The front and rear door marked with the bicycle sign are to be used for bicycles, baby carriages, wheelchairs.
  • In flex space you need to make room for people with bikes prams and wheelchairs.
  • Flex space is reserved for bicycles, prams and wheelchairs.
  • It is not allowed to ride your bicycle on the platform.  You can be fined for this.

The next steps to mastering train travel are

1. understand the various train travel routes

2. read time tables /schedules

3. understanding the zones.

or check out some of the other important pages below.

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FYI Denmark Expat Information

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