commuter traffic

Stockholm commuter rail

Stockholm commuter rail (Stockholms pendeltåg) is the commuter rail system in Stockholm County, Sweden. The system is an important part of the public transport in Stockholm, and is controlled by Stockholm Transport; the trains are operated under contract by Stockholmståg, part of the national railway SJ. The tracks are state-owned and administered by the Swedish Rail Administration.


Local trains have been operated on the railroads around Stockholm since the late nineteenth century. At the beginning, local rail services were part of the Swedish State Railways, but in 1967, the responsibility for these services was transferred to Stockholm County, which incorporated it with the ticketing system of Stockholm Transport. New trains were bought, stations were modernized, and the Stockholm commuter rail network was developed with an aim of making itmore metro-like.

During the years 1986 to 1996, important improvements were made to the railroads around Stockholm. Single-track stretches were upgraded to double tracks, and some double-track stretches were upgraded to four-track, allowing the commuter trains to run with less interference from other rail services. The service frequency was gradually increased, and from 2001 most stations on the network are served by trains at regular 15-minute intervals, with additional trains during rush hours.

The latest extension to the commuter rail network is the outer stretch between Kungsängen and Bålsta that was opened 2001. An in-fill station at Årstaberg was inaugurated in 2006, in order to connect with the then-new Tvärbanan light-rail system.

Operation of the Stockholm commuter rail lines has been contracted to private companies since 2000. This change has meant longer working hours and worse retirement benefits for the personnel, and many drivers refused to sign up with the new contractor. The first year was chaotic with huge delays and lots of train services being cancelled. The situation has gradually improved, but the commuter rail still faces problems such as poor punctuality and a shortage of railroad engineers. The network is currently operated by Stockholmståg, a subsidiary of SJ AB, the former Swedish State Railways company.


Line Stretch Travel time Length Stations
J35 Bålsta – Västerhaninge – Nynäshamn 1:44 107 km 27
J36 MärstaSödertälje centrum 1:21 74 km 24
J37 Södertälje centrumGnesta 0:31 30 km 6
Entire commuter rail system 200 km 50

There are three lines in the Stockholm commuter rail system. There are two long lines across the county which run through central Stockholm: route J35 runs from Nynäshamn in the southeast to Bålsta in the northwest, and J36 connects Södertälje in the southwest with Märsta in the north. The shorter route J37 in the southwest connects Gnesta to Södertälje. The total track length of the system is .

Because of the short station platforms and the lack of passing loops on the single-track portion of the Nynäs railway south of Västerhaninge, a train change takes place in Västerhaninge. Platform lengthening and the construction of passing loops are planned to be completed in fall 2008. However, the line will probably remain divided for some time, in order to sustain a higher level of punctuality in the more central parts of the network.

Trains operate every 30 minutes from 5 am to 1 am every day, with 15-minute intervals during the daytime. Additional trains during rush hours give an average of 7½ minutes intervals for many stations, and trains every 4 minutes on the central parts. Line J37 and outer parts of line J35 are served less frequently, with up to two hours between trains on weekends.

Most trains stop at all intermediate stations, except a few trains during rush hours that skip some smaller stations. 230,000 passengers use Stockholm commuter trains on an ordinary weekday.


There are 50 stations in the network, two of which are beyond the borders of Stockholm County. Eight stations connect with regional and long-distance trains, one connects with the light-rail system Tvärbanan, and three stations have access to the Stockholm Metro. Several stations are important interchanges to local buses.

Most stations are of a similar style, with an island platform in a ground-level location with one or two exits, turnstiles, and a staffed ticket office. A few interchange stations have multiple platforms. The stations south of Västerhaninge and Södertälje are smaller, and have no ticket vending facilities; passengers buy their tickets from the train conductor on these parts of the network.

Stockholm Central Station is by far the biggest station in the network, with more than 50,000 boarding commuter rail passengers per day. The smallest station is Hemfosa, which have approximately 75 boarding passengers per day.

The ten busiest stations (number of boarding passengers on a normal winter weekday 2005):

Rolling stock

Three types of rolling stock are currently used on the commuter rail network. The oldest type, X1, was built between 1967 and 1975, and was complemented by a second-generation train, X10, delivered between 1982 and 1993. X1 and X10 units are long and are completely compatible with each other. A train consists of two to four units, making the train 100–200 meters long.

The older stock is currently being replaced by new type X60 Coradia Lirex trains from Alstom. The first was delivered in 2005, and a total of 71 units will be delivered through 2008. A full-length train with two X60 units measures . Their maximum speed is .

Future expansions

The Swedish Rail Administration has approved the construction of a rail tunnel through central Stockholm, with a planned opening date in 2017. This new tunnel, known as Citybanan (‘the city line’), is intended for the exclusive use of the Pendeltåg system, and would split commuter traffic onto separate tracks from long-distance trains while traveling through the city. This would ease the rail systems' congestion problems, and permit Stockholm Transport to schedule more frequent service. Construction of the Citybanan began in 2008.

In December 2007, reports emerged about a potential future extension of the Stockholm commuter rail system to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport; at present, the airport has an express service from Stockholm C, but at least one change is required to reach it from any other station. Though Stockholm Transport reacted positively to the idea, the implementation of any such project is subject to successful negotiations between Stockholm Transport and Arlanda Express, who already operate the direct train from Stockholm Central Station to the airport, and have operating rights for the tracks involved.

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# Station Boarding passengers
1. Stockholm C 53 800
2. Stockholms södra 16 200
3. Älvsjö 12 100
4. Karlberg 10 600
5. Jakobsberg 10 300
6. Flemingsberg 9 500
7. Sundbyberg 7 600
8. Sollentuna 7 400
9. Södertälje centrum 7 100
10. Tumba 6 800