End of the Hamburg - Copenhagen Train Ferry

Status
Not open for further replies.

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Which section is covered by the high-speed route?

Much of the way from Copenhagen to Ringsted now has an alternative high-speed line. From Ringsted, where there's a junction for the line south on the route towards the present ferry, and the line west via the other main island [ie besides the one where Copenhagen is] Fyn and on to Jutland [the mainland], I think it's still all existing lines (though perhaps they've been upgraded, in part, for higher speeds?). Of course the higher speed route south to the fixed link planned to replace the ferry might not use the Ringsted junction. but might run from the spur of the faster line from Copenhagen which goes off at Koge North towards Koge.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

AlexNL

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
1,418
Which begs the question, why did they ever use the train ferry in the first place?
Multiple reasons I assume.

Firstly, the route from Copenhagen to Flensburg hasn't always been without ferries either. It wasn't until 1998, when the Great Belt Fixed Link opened, that cars and trains could reach Copenhagen purely via a land connection.

Secondly, it wasn't quicker. The Copenhagen - Ringsted high speed line opened just a few months ago. Before that all trains (even the fastest ones) had to use the slower route via Roskilde.

Third, history. People along the route were accustomed to the EC on their route and were likely to complain about losing it permanently despite there not being much benefit to its passengers.
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
23,689
Location
Redcar
Secondly, it wasn't quicker. The Copenhagen - Ringsted high speed line opened just a few months ago. Before that all trains (even the fastest ones) had to use the slower route via Roskilde.
Yes that was a cock up on my part. Apologies :oops:
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
11,786
Location
Airedale
For the price of having no more stops in Lübeck and Oldenburg or elsewhere in Schleswig-Holstein. By the way, they seem to have not enough IC2 anyway- mostly you see only (crowded) three-car-units.
Think that was only true for the summer period, when most trains are booked 1 unit and reservation is compulsory. Certainly a couple of weeks ago 2 of 3 diagrams were 2xIC3.
 

jamesontheroad

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2009
Messages
1,684
I may have mentioned this earlier in the thread, but while the IC3 units have beautifully comfortable seats that are well-aligned-with-the-windows, a three carriage set only has about 150 seats, so even when doubled up they are struggling to provide the capacity being demanded by the rise in international rail travel to/from Scandinavia.

I will be very excited to see what the new rakes of coaching stock that have been ordered look like... although I doubt I will get to see my wish of a DSB dining car or bistro fulfilled.
 

AlexNL

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
1,418
I wouldn't be surprised to see DB send ECx coaches to Denmark and DSB send new Danish coaches to Germany, similar to how DB and SNCF cooperate between Germany and France.
 

duesselmartin

Established Member
Joined
18 Jan 2014
Messages
1,392
Location
Duisburg, Germany
THE ECx planning does not mention that. But it would be interesting. Also the proposed night train from Stockholm would most likely use the Danish land route.
 

TravelCrazy

Member
Joined
19 Oct 2019
Messages
5
Location
London
So I did his route this weekend. It was quite an experience. I took the 07:35 train from Copenhagen on Sunday 10th November and the 6-car train was pretty full but still had some seats empty. A few people got on an off at the intermediate stations, but not many. It seemed most people on that train were going into Germany. It was quite an unusual experience loading onto the ferry. We got delayed along the way for some reason (the reason was only announced in Danish so I don't know why), which meant we missed our ferry and had to get on the next one - but that meant I had 10 minutes or so to film some stuff at Rodby station.

We got off as a foot passenger at Puttgarden (only 7 people or so - two of which worked for the ferry company!), and because we were late, the next train heading north was already waiting in Puttgarden station. I filmed that going on on the ferry and some stuff at Puttgarden station before heading over to find food. The little cafe "Restaurant Molenblick" was closed, so we headed over to the Border Shop and found a nice little food stand there selling Currywurst and Danish hot dogs! The border shop itself was interesting - I've never done a booze-cruise so not been into somewhere like this before. Despite being in Germany, everything was priced in DKK instead of Euros! I can only presume that alcohol prices are cheaper in Germany than in Denmark so a load of people go there to stock up! My wife found some orange tictaks so bought those, and we had the option to pay in either DKK, EUR or SEK.

Anyway, time flew and we headed back to the station to get the train down to Hamburg. Overall, a long and tiring day, but we still had time to visit Miniature Wonderland before we got our flight home that evening!

I'm currently editing my video and hope I'll be able to publish it by this weekend.
 

jamesontheroad

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2009
Messages
1,684
Glad to hear you had a good trip TravelCrazy.

Although there’s no “duty free” tax differential between Denmark and Germany, beer and wine is cheaper in Germany so there’s usually steady stream of Danish customers stocking up when they take the ferry. I’m not sure, however, if the overall savings are enough to justify dedicated “booze cruises” like the ones Brits take to France.

As an aside, it’s all relative, so while Danes routinely take the opportunity to stock up in Germany, Swedes also like to take the opportunity to stock up on beer when they go to Denmark. One of the idiosyncrasies of the government monopoly on alcohol sales in Sweden (over 3.5% ABV) is that alcohol can never be discounted or price promoted in Sweden (because that encourages consumption). Deals on crates or big packs of beer in Denmark are always appealing to Swedes crossing the Öresund Bridge.

Go further, and while Finland has a similar alcohol monopoly situation to Sweden, there is a healthy trade across the Bothnian Gulf with Finns buying up Swedish snus which is completely illegal everywhere except Sweden and Norway. The ferries do a not-insignificant amount of business from Finns who do a roundtrip to Sweden, often on a Friday or Saturday night with lots of festivities and live music and entertainment on the boat, and only spend a few minutes in Sweden to buy cans of tobacco pouches.
 

wellhouse

Member
Joined
4 Oct 2009
Messages
392
Location
West Yorkshire
Glad to hear you had a good trip TravelCrazy.

Although there’s no “duty free” tax differential between Denmark and Germany, beer and wine is cheaper in Germany so there’s usually steady stream of Danish customers stocking up when they take the ferry. I’m not sure, however, if the overall savings are enough to justify dedicated “booze cruises” like the ones Brits take to France.

As an aside, it’s all relative, so while Danes routinely take the opportunity to stock up in Germany, Swedes also like to take the opportunity to stock up on beer when they go to Denmark. One of the idiosyncrasies of the government monopoly on alcohol sales in Sweden (over 3.5% ABV) is that alcohol can never be discounted or price promoted in Sweden (because that encourages consumption). Deals on crates or big packs of beer in Denmark are always appealing to Swedes crossing the Öresund Bridge.

Go further, and while Finland has a similar alcohol monopoly situation to Sweden, there is a healthy trade across the Bothnian Gulf with Finns buying up Swedish snus which is completely illegal everywhere except Sweden and Norway. The ferries do a not-insignificant amount of business from Finns who do a roundtrip to Sweden, often on a Friday or Saturday night with lots of festivities and live music and entertainment on the boat, and only spend a few minutes in Sweden to buy cans of tobacco pouches.

Having travelled round the Baltic by Ferry (Germany-Sweden-Finland-Estonia, Lithuania-Sweden, and Denmark-Norway) I found it interesting to observe how many booze-cruisers there were, travelling as foot passengers with trolleys and barrows!
 

Cloud Strife

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2014
Messages
161
Having travelled round the Baltic by Ferry (Germany-Sweden-Finland-Estonia, Lithuania-Sweden, and Denmark-Norway) I found it interesting to observe how many booze-cruisers there were, travelling as foot passengers with trolleys and barrows!

The stories I could share about those ferries, especially the Estonian ones.

My favourite story involves being told first-hand by a former Estonian junior minister that he had attended a working meeting between the Finns and Estonians onboard one ferry in the mid 1990's. They had arranged for the use of one bar for their exclusive use, and they also had cabins so that they could continue working until late at night. Apparently they had planned that the Estonians would come to Helsinki on the ferry in the morning, where it would pick up the Finnish delegation, and then they would have a working session until mid-afternoon, break for an early dinner, then come back for an afternoon session until finishing for supper. They would then have one summing up session after breakfast in the morning while the ferry returned to Helsinki.

It turned out that the dinner transformed into a booze-fest, which involved the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs deciding to cancel the afternoon session in favour of 'informal networking' and all sorts of senior civil servants on both sides ended up quite inebriated. The junior minister that told me this story said that it wasn't an uncommon event back then, as Estonia wanted to show Finland how welcoming they were, and the Finns had no problem with that sort of hospitality. As the guy put it - Estonia had very little in the way of 'nice' things for visitors back then, but the ferries provided privacy and security.

Apparently a lot of political deals were made onboard those ferries in the 1990's, especially between the Baltic countries and the Nordic ones.
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Well, I finally used the train ferry link earlier this month, in the nick of time. It seemed as efficient as the Danish internal train ferries (and the Denmark-Sweden one) used to be before they built all the bridges and tunnels - in terms of rolling on and off the boat with little delay, that is. However, when we were off the ferry and at the station on the German side (I was travelling the route southbound) the train just sat there for ages. There were explanations announced in German and Danish (not in English too, as most of the routine announcements were), which I had trouble understanding. I think it was something to do with the radio used for the signalling on the German side, and the Danish train having trouble linking in to it - though I could have got the wrong end of the stick.

We sat there until the service in the opposite direction turned up to join the ferry - a train which, obviously, was working on the German system perfectly well! - and they just got all the passengers to swap trains, each of which turned back instead of continuing. A nice neat solution to the problem. But as a result we got to Hamburg over half an hour late.

One observation was the comfort of the Danish rolling stock - lovely and spacious, almost armchairs for seats. Mostly with tables (which all matched up with the windows); and the relatively small amount of airline-style seating was also well spaced out ... and matching the windows as well. Now that's the way to build rolling stock! There were (rather nominal) passport checks arriving into Germany. In the opposite direction a few days earlier (via the overland route, changing at Fredericia), there were also checks, which were a bit more thorough in that case.

The northbound overland service (admittedly at a weekend) was absolutely crammed, with people standing. The return on the ferry had plenty of slack.
 

sefyllian

Member
Joined
14 Jan 2013
Messages
43
Glad you made it!

I had a trip planned for next week, but received an email this morning saying my booking had been rerouted via Fredericia. There was no explanation.

Has the ferry link been stopped earlier than planned?
 

AlexNL

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
1,418
Has the ferry link been stopped earlier than planned?
According to the DB planner and the engineering works section, there are some engineering works going on in Denmark next week leading to the train being rerouted within Denmark. That should not affect the ferry portion however.

What date and train were you intending to travel on?
 

sefyllian

Member
Joined
14 Jan 2013
Messages
43
According to the DB planner and the engineering works section, there are some engineering works going on in Denmark next week leading to the train being rerouted within Denmark. That should not affect the ferry portion however.

What date and train were you intending to travel on?
Ah, thank you! You’re right, part of the line is closed in Denmark that evening (Nov 27th).

I couldn’t get a through journey to show up, but now DB is showing a train from Hamburg as far as Nykøbing, and DSB is showing a bus service from there to Orehoved, then train onwards to Copenhagen.

It takes about 30mins longer than the land route via Fredericia, which must be why I’ve been told to go that way, but presumably I can ignore that and still go on the ferry if I want to, as that’s what’s on my ticket. Cheers.
 

181

Member
Joined
12 Feb 2013
Messages
499
However, when we were off the ferry and at the station on the German side (I was travelling the route southbound) the train just sat there for ages. There were explanations announced in German and Danish (not in English too, as most of the routine announcements were), which I had trouble understanding. I think it was something to do with the radio used for the signalling on the German side, and the Danish train having trouble linking in to it - though I could have got the wrong end of the stick.

We sat there until the service in the opposite direction turned up to join the ferry - a train which, obviously, was working on the German system perfectly well! - and they just got all the passengers to swap trains, each of which turned back instead of continuing. A nice neat solution to the problem. But as a result we got to Hamburg over half an hour late.

The first part of that happened on my journey in early October (my understanding of what the problem was was similarly hazy, but it agreed with yours). My train left after about 15 minutes without passengers needing to swap trains, although it was about 30 minutes late by Lubeck due to slow running for some distance (again, no explanation in English, but I think it may have been a level crossing problem).
 

AlexNL

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
1,418
I have had a similar experience on a Copenhagen -> Hamburg journey, after the boat left the ferry it stayed in Puttgarden for 15 minutes. There was an announcement in English, citing technical difficulties as reason for the delay.

Meanwhile, the timetables in the Deutsche Bahn journey planner have been updated for December. I've discovered the following changes to EC37 (the 17:28 from Hamburg to Copenhagen) effective December 2nd:
  • Normal service on Friday and Saturday (A CPH 22:26)
  • On Su-Thu this trains runs up until Nykøbing F (A 20:43).
    • Replacement buses operate between Rødby - Copenhagen (A CPH 22:40)
    • There are also replacement buses between Nykøbing F and Ørehoved.
All other trains seem to run as normal.
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Further to my notes about my recent trip, above, I forgot to add that I noticed something which I think hasn't been remarked on so far in this thread - namely, what looks to be a pending new railway bridge over the Guldborg Sund at Nykøbing Falster. The existing bridge there (the last island-to-island hop in Denmark, on the way to Rødby) seemed rather old and rickety, with just a one-lane-each-way road sharing the bridge with the single-track railway line. From the look of some earthworks I spotted there, after Nykøbing Falster station the line will rise up, and be diverted off to one side, to go across a new bridge (of which there was no sign I could see) before rejoining the existing line on the other side. From the look of it, assuming that the road continues over the existing bridge then the new line will go over the top of the road on both sides. (I could be misinterpreting some of what I saw, since I only noticed there was anything of interest to try to make sense of at the last moment.)

This would all tie in with an overall upgrade of the line to Rødby (which others have referred to), ready for the faster trains through the planned tunnel across to Germany.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
11,786
Location
Airedale
Further to my notes about my recent trip, above, I forgot to add that I noticed something which I think hasn't been remarked on so far in this thread - namely, what looks to be a pending new railway bridge over the Guldborg Sund at Nykøbing Falster. The existing bridge there (the last island-to-island hop in Denmark, on the way to Rødby) seemed rather old and rickety, with just a one-lane-each-way road sharing the bridge with the single-track railway line. From the look of some earthworks I spotted there, after Nykøbing Falster station the line will rise up, and be diverted off to one side, to go across a new bridge (of which there was no sign I could see) before rejoining the existing line on the other side. From the look of it, assuming that the road continues over the existing bridge then the new line will go over the top of the road on both sides. (I could be misinterpreting some of what I saw, since I only noticed there was anything of interest to try to make sense of at the last moment.)

This would all tie in with an overall upgrade of the line to Rødby (which others have referred to), ready for the faster trains through the planned tunnel across to Germany.
Puzzled by this, as Googlemaps shows a 4-lane road bridge next to a single-track rail bridge (which I do recall as being severely speed-restricted, my visit being on 2 October). Perhaps the new road bridge has just opened?
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Puzzled by this, as Googlemaps shows a 4-lane road bridge next to a single-track rail bridge (which I do recall as being severely speed-restricted, my visit being on 2 October). Perhaps the new road bridge has just opened?

Hmmm - the main road from Copenhagen to Rødby crosses that stretch of water a few miles along from the railway; that might well be a better/wider road than the one sharing [in the sense of being bang up against, even if the road and railway spans are technically on separate supports] the same crossing as the railway bridge. I do remember the road on that bridge as being only one lane each way; but I could be wrong of course; though I certainly remember both the road and the railway bridge infrastructures as seeming pretty old. Or could you be thinking of the previous (if heading from Copenhagen) water crossing, from Zeeland to Falster, at Vordingborg? I think that's also single-track, and in that case the railway bridge isn't shared with - or virtually shared with - a road (though the main road bridge is within sight).

I seem to remember that in both cases the railway crossing was old and slow. And presumably both are being upgraded as part of that route improvement.
 

jamesontheroad

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2009
Messages
1,684
One observation was the comfort of the Danish rolling stock - lovely and spacious, almost armchairs for seats. Mostly with tables (which all matched up with the windows); and the relatively small amount of airline-style seating was also well spaced out ... and matching the windows as well. Now that's the way to build rolling stock

Absolutely! The IC3 trains are a little eccentric but they were uncompromising in their commitment to passenger comfort. If they were managed by a British ROSCO in the British franchise system, they’d have long had the old ‘armchairs’ ripped out and replaced with higher density airline seats.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
11,786
Location
Airedale
...could you be thinking of the previous (if heading from Copenhagen) water crossing, from Zeeland to Falster, at Vordingborg? I think that's also single-track, and in that case the railway bridge isn't shared with - or virtually shared with - a road (though the main road bridge is within sight).

No, I did look at that crossing on Googlemaps as well, but you specifically mentioned the one at Nykoebing.
(I haven't been through Vordingborg since the era of the ICE-TDs; my recent trip was an opportunist one to do the train ferry one last time!)
.
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
No, I did look at that crossing on Googlemaps as well, but you specifically mentioned the one at Nykoebing.
(I haven't been through Vordingborg since the era of the ICE-TDs; my recent trip was an opportunist one to do the train ferry one last time!)
.

Oh well, maybe it's my memory mixing up those last water crossings on the way Rødby; it must be the Vordingborg crossing with the single-lane-each-way road alongside the railway - in which case I guess that's probably the crossing where I saw the earthworks suggesting a new rail bridge alignment was in the offing. (I blame too many late nights while in Copenhagen...) Thanks for your research improving on my memory!

But since - irrespective of the capacity/standard of those various road links - both of those bridges carry old slow single rail lines, my main point (about seeing evidence of rail improvements including a new bridge alignment) still stands, demonstrating the significant nature of the rail upgrade there'll be on that route: sensible I guess, to make the most of the planned fixed link to Germany from Rødby. [Please don't now tell me I dreamt seeing those earthworks too...]
 
Last edited:

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Absolutely! The IC3 trains are a little eccentric but they were uncompromising in their commitment to passenger comfort. If they were managed by a British ROSCO in the British franchise system, they’d have long had the old ‘armchairs’ ripped out and replaced with higher density airline seats.

When you say "were uncompromising", does that mean that new DSB rolling stock won't be up to the same standard? Are the Danes copying other countries' bad habits?
 

AlexNL

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
1,418
Are the Danes copying other countries' bad habits?
Their Dostos are an exact copy of the DB Regio ones, just a different paint job (and much more graffiti). The IR4's are fine units (cozy and comfy), I can't say anything about the IC4s as I haven't been on those.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
11,786
Location
Airedale
Oh well, maybe it's my memory mixing up those last water crossings on the way Rødby; it must be the Vordingborg crossing with the single-lane-each-way road alongside the railway - in which case I guess that's probably the crossing where I saw the earthworks suggesting a new rail bridge alignment was in the offing. (I blame too many late nights while in Copenhagen...) Thanks for your research improving on my memory!

But since - irrespective of the capacity/standard of those various road links - both of those bridges carry old slow single rail lines, my main point (about seeing evidence of rail improvements including a new bridge alignment) still stands, demonstrating the significant nature of the rail upgrade there'll be on that route: sensible I guess, to make the most of the planned fixed link to Germany from Rødby. [Please don't now tell me I dreamt seeing those earthworks too...]

Yes, looks like the Storstroem - a much longer bridge. Or rather - checking Googlemaps again - the much shorter bridge just south of Vordingborg station; signs of earthworks on the East side of the line visible.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Denmark

...the existing rail line between Ringsted and Rødby will be expanded to double track and electrified, as well as upgraded to 200 km/h.[12][17] The Storstrøm Bridge was originally supposed to remain as single track, however a political agreement confirms funding the design of a new combined rail and road bridge across Storstrømmen.[18]

Interesting BTW that the line will continue to serve both V and Nykoebing, rather than complete new build, but then internal traffic is probably far more significant, at least for passengers.
 

AlbertBeale

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2019
Messages
1,322
Location
London
Yes, looks like the Storstroem - a much longer bridge. Or rather - checking Googlemaps again - the much shorter bridge just south of Vordingborg station; signs of earthworks on the East side of the line visible.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Denmark

Interesting BTW that the line will continue to serve both V and Nykoebing, rather than complete new build, but then internal traffic is probably far more significant, at least for passengers.

Yes - probably no capacity need for both local lines and a separate international link; so long-distance trains will simply be slowed where there are major stations stopping any improvement of alignment, with line speed increases on the stretches in between.

I see what you mean about the sign of earthworks on the satellite image of the northern (much shorter) bridge after Vordingborg. However, I'm sure - if I can say that after the exchanges on this thread... - that the new earthworks I saw were on the other (west[-ish]) side of the line. Hence, perhaps, relating to the second (longer) Storstroem crossing, or even the Nykoebing crossing after all. (Or is that one remaining single track? If the whole of the longer Storstroem crossing is being doubled, I presume the Nykoebing one is as well.)
 

jamesontheroad

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2009
Messages
1,684
Big turn out last night for the last pair of trains to arrive / depart Puttgarden by ferry. An end of an era.

 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top