Travel to Scandinavia in summer

Sweden’s railways have a total length of 12,000 (7500 miles). Almost the whole system, practically all of which is run by the Swedish State Railways (Svenska Statens Jarnvagar, SJ), is electrified, including the entire north-south line from Narvik to Trelleborg (2200 km 1375 miles).

Finland has about 5900 km (3700 miles) of railway line, including a number of new lines built since 1945, following the changes in the country’s frontiers. They belong almost entirely tothe Finnish State Railways (Valtion Rautatiet, VR). The Finnish railways have the Russian broad gauge of 1-524 m (5 ft), compared with the 1 435 (4 ft 8 in.) normal in the rest of Europe. The motor express trains are fast and comfortable.

The Nordic Rail Ticket, valid for either 21 days or a month, allows unlimited travel on the railway systems of the four Scandinavian countries and a 50% discount on the scheduled boat services between the countries. The 21 day ticket costs about 75 (approx. S150) second class and 110 (approx. S220) first class; fora month the cost is about 90 (approx. S180) second class and 135 (approx. S270) first class. Similar tickets can be obtained, at lower cost, for each of the four countries separately. There are also discounts for students and groups.

Buses In all four Scandinavian countries, the railway services are complemented by a network of bus services run either by the State Railways, the Post Office or private companies. The buses mainly serve areas without a railway line and are usually timed to connect with main-line train services. Many services operate only from the beginning of June to the end of August. Extra buses are operated if necessary, so that there is usually no difficulty in getting a seat (seats cannot be reserved). On long journeys, there are stops for lunch, etc. Tickets are issued on the buses themselves, but can also be obtained in advance through travel agencies, particularly for round trips involving a number of different services.

The Nord-Norge bus runs between Fauske and Kirkenes (131 8 km 81 9 miles), with branch services into Finland, from the middle of June to September; in winter, it goes only as far north as Hammerfest. North of Narvik hotel rooms are booked for passengers at the overnight stops. The cost of ferries used by the bus is included in the fare.

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