"Grattis på födelsedagen" (happy birthday) to the Swedish X2000

jamesontheroad

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Thirty years ago today, at 06:33 on Tuesday 4 September 1990, the first public service of SJ (Swedish Railways) X2000 high-speed train left Stockholm Central bound for Gothenburg, where it arrived 3h 34m later.

Since I "Brexited" to Sweden last year, I've had the pleasure of making a couple of journeys on the X2000, and she is a remarkable piece of engineering. A bit like our own HST or IC225, the X2000 was a Swedish solution to a Swedish problem: how to run faster trains on older tracks. Where the APT failed, the X2000 successfully applied high-speed tilting technology to a passenger train, with dramatic effects on domestic train travel in Sweden and the profitability of the former state-owned railways SJ. Exports to USA and China were attempted but never lead to series orders. Apart from "Linx" services to Oslo and continuing services to Copenhagen, the X2000 never established itself outside Sweden. It remains a peculiar side note in the history of high-speed rail.

The Swedish railway news website Järnvägar has published three detailed articles about the train: firstly the history of its development and the rather charming prototypes, secondly the operational history of the train, including brief forays under different operating brands, and thirdly about the future and the long-delayed renovation project which should see another 20 years of service.

All these are in Swedish, but if you open them in Google Chrome the auto-translate feature will deliver them back to you in pretty decent English. Enjoy!

Part 1: "22 years from thought to reality" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/22-ar-fran-tanke-till-verklighet/
Part 2: "The rescuer in need of help" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/raddaren-i-noden-behover-hjalp/
Part 3: "The new X2000 is four years late" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/nya-x2000-fyra-ar-forsenad/
 
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hexagon789

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Thirty years ago today, at 06:33 on Tuesday 4 September 1990, the first public service of SJ (Swedish Railways) X2000 high-speed train left Stockholm Central bound for Gothenburg, where it arrived 3h 34m later.

Since I "Brexited" to Sweden last year, I've had the pleasure of making a couple of journeys on the X2000, and she is a remarkable piece of engineering. A bit like our own HST or IC225, the X2000 was a Swedish solution to a Swedish problem: how to run faster trains on older tracks. Where the APT failed, the X2000 successfully applied high-speed tilting technology to a passenger train, with dramatic effects on domestic train travel in Sweden and the profitability of the former state-owned railways SJ. Exports to USA and China were attempted but never lead to series orders. Apart from "Linx" services to Oslo and continuing services to Copenhagen, the X2000 never established itself outside Sweden. It remains a peculiar side note in the history of high-speed rail.

The Swedish railway news website Järnvägar has published three detailed articles about the train: firstly the history of its development and the rather charming prototypes, secondly the operational history of the train, including brief forays under different operating brands, and thirdly about the future and the long-delayed renovation project which should see another 20 years of service.

All these are in Swedish, but if you open them in Google Chrome the auto-translate feature will deliver them back to you in pretty decent English. Enjoy!

Part 1: "22 years from thought to reality" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/22-ar-fran-tanke-till-verklighet/
Part 2: "The rescuer in need of help" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/raddaren-i-noden-behover-hjalp/
Part 3: "The new X2000 is four years late" https://jarnvagar.nu/project/nya-x2000-fyra-ar-forsenad/
I always think it's remarkable how much of a parallel our own IC225 has with the Swedish X2000. Similar age, similar technology; the X2000 to me seems like a taste of what the InterCity 225 would be if they had fitted tilt.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Presumably the ASEA traction equipment design from Västerås for X2000 has found its way onto more recent Bombardier trains.
Derby's Electrostar and Aventra designs seem to use Swedish traction packages.
In a different world, our WCML could have had a derivative of the X2000 rather than Pendolinos.
On the strength of my one X2000 trip Copenhagen-Stockholm they seemed very solid, comfortable and capable trains.
 

rf_ioliver

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17 Apr 2011
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(bits of the original article snipped)
Exports to USA and China were attempted but never lead to series orders.

The Swedish railway news website Järnvägar has published three detailed articles about the train: firstly the history of its development and the rather charming prototypes, secondly the operational history of the train, including brief forays under different operating brands, and thirdly about the future and the long-delayed renovation project which should see another 20 years of service.

All these are in Swedish, but if you open them in Google Chrome the auto-translate feature will deliver them back to you in pretty decent English. Enjoy!
Tack så mycket för artikeln. Bra att jag kan läsa svenska ganska bra!

Interesting point about exports was it was offered (and by some reports a serious candidate) for Finnish railways when they were looking for a high-speed train (no natonal rivalry here at all, no) - in the end the Pendolino was available while the X2000 still in prototype, but of course there was nothing political and no rational rivalry at all here. Similarly rumours about Ikea not being able to come to Finland and their first store not allowed to be painted in the colours of the Swedish flag are similarly unfounded ;)
 

JonasB

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Thank you for sharing the articles, the X2000 really was a game changer for SJ and currently I think they wished they had more of them, which is quite a change from when they were new and SJ had too many.

It is also interesting to see how it has changed from a business train to being the backbone of the main lines. In the early 90's it was 1st class only and the train was fitted with onboard phones and an onboard fax machine.
 

James James

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29 Jan 2018
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372
I must say - as a passenger I wasn't all that impressed by the first class offering when I took one - seats were OK but not great, but the arrangement pretty much stopped optimal views. I probably should've gone for a table seat, but alas those were taken, and the airline seating lead to my only really getting views out of the side I was on.

(Although I am somewhat biased by having almost 100% window-aligned bay seating locally, which makes it easy to see out of both sides wherever you sit.)
 

JonasB

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I must say - as a passenger I wasn't all that impressed by the first class offering when I took one - seats were OK but not great, but the arrangement pretty much stopped optimal views. I probably should've gone for a table seat, but alas those were taken, and the airline seating lead to my only really getting views out of the side I was on.
When the trains were new there were perfect alignment between seats and windows. But that only lasted until the first interior redecorating, so now there are some horrible seat with nothing more than a wall to look at, that is something the SJ 3000 does a bit better.
 

jamesontheroad

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When the trains were new there were perfect alignment between seats and windows. But that only lasted until the first interior redecorating, so now there are some horrible seat with nothing more than a wall to look at, that is something the SJ 3000 does a bit better.
Although getting a window-aligned seat in the X3000 is no guarantee you’ll be able to see out; the windows have a kind of film on the outside to protect the glass (or prevent overheating) which seems to hold on to dirt and grime. /rant
 

JonasB

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Although getting a window-aligned seat in the X3000 is no guarantee you’ll be able to see out; the windows have a kind of film on the outside to protect the glass (or prevent overheating) which seems to hold on to dirt and grime. /rant
That is the big problem with the SJ 3000, but a dirty window is better than no window!
 

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