Classy Stockholm Train

Hannah Armstrong

The bold yellow cone of the Arlanda Express rushes into view, followed by a line of sleek gray cars.  Inside, seats that look like chairs that belong in a fancy office face built-in video monitors.   Travelers stack their luggage in racks overhead and in steel and glass compartments next to sliding glass doors. Little lamps with red shades are fastened to a counter set up for computer use.

Every 15 minutes, the Express leaves the station at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, and soon it is flashing past trees and fields of yellow flowers at 120 miles or 200 kilometers an hour, covering the 26 miles to downtown in about 20 minutes. The cars on a highway that parallels the tracks seem to be standing still.

The Arlanda Express is Sweden’s way of showing the world that it is serious about the environment, unclogging highways and taking tens of thousands of cars off the road.  Cars making the same trip would be on the road nearly twice as long, belching pollutants into the air.

The Express won the Red Dot Design Award in 2011 for eco-friendly design. The award is an international prize given by Design Zentrum, a German magazine.

The Express gives people who fly into Stockholm quick access to the city.  It has a capacity of 190 passengers and riding it is a calm and comfy experience.  The blue carpets and chairs, orange bar and surrounding white walls add to the experience.  Large, rectangular, windows offer views of a lush landscape that seems to underscore the vitality of the environment in Sweden.

Discussions on creating the Arlanda Express started in the 1980s, and the train was inaugurated in 1999.  The train’s simple and elegant design reflects Stockholm’s unpretentious architecture. To travelers from Boston, the Express is a marvel of cleanliness and modernity.    Unlike the T, the commuter train that serves greater Boston, the Express is quiet and spotless. #



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