Recycling Bins and Tiled Bathrooms

Paola Plevak

It is almost noon and the Arlanda Express is leaving the station at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Passengers with luggage are stacking their suitcases into stainless steel racks by the doors.

People traveling together sit in pods of four high-backed chairs.  Before long, the sleek, yellow and gray train pulls out of the station and speeds down the tracks at 120 miles or 200 kilometers an hour as it makes the 20-minute journey to downtown.

The Express is one of the first examples of Sweden’s renowned environmental achievement that travelers encounter.  Thousands of people hop on the Arlanda Express every day, avoiding a taxi ride that can take twice as long. The train also has reduced the flow of private automobiles to and from the airport and helped reduce air pollution.  Sweden began building the Express in 1994 and inaugurated it in 1999. It was financed by a partnership between the government and private companies.

The Express is clean and spacious.   There are recycling bins throughout the train.  The high-back chairs, which look like they belong in a modern office, are covered in an elegant grey mesh fabric.  White acrylic material covers the walls.   Large, rectangular windows are framed in clear, blond, wood.

Tiled bathrooms on the train are equipped with modern and stylish appliances, the kind of things you might see in a four-star hotel. Every car has a help desk. On some trains one attendant takes care of passengers in several cars.  Conductors in blue and gray uniforms, walk the blue carpeted aisles, checking tickets.  The standard one-way fare for adults is 260 Swedish krona or about $36. A round trip is 490 Swedish krona or about $68 dollars, a savings of about $4 over the cost of two one-way tickets.  Students pay about $36 for a round-trip. #

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