The Swedish Countryside at Speed

Rob Doidge

The Arlanda Express leaves Stockholm Arlanda Airport and flashes past green fields, golf courses, and pine trees at 120 miles or 200 kilometers an hour.  In less than 20 minutes, modern factories on the outskirts of Stockholm begin to appear before the train pulls into the downtown station.

A car takes twice as long to travel the same 26 miles or 42 kilometers from the airport to downtown, all the while spewing harmful gases into the environment.

The Arlanda Express is one mode of transportation that Sweden is using to help keep the environment clean.  It reduces congestion by reducing the number of cars on the highways and keeping harmful gases from the air.

In the 1990s, the Arlanda Express was one of the first major infrastructure projects to be built to meet the demands of a rising Swedish population and international air travelers.

Its inauguration in November 1999 happened as Stockholm Arlanda Airport was building a third runway and offering passengers an alternative to buses, taxis and private cars for getting  between downtown and the airport.

The underground station at the airport has the same feel as the air terminal above ground.  The yellow-and-grey color scheme of the train and the well-lighted, simply designed station are inviting.

Inside the train, passengers have plenty of room to store luggage.  Lights set into the floor illuminate a path to comfortable seats.  The bar tables are convenient for socializing and flat-screen television screens built into the walls at the front of the compartments  show the speed of the train, the time of day, information about Stockholm and commercial advertisements.

Almost before passengers realize it, the train glides into the downtown Stockholm station  – the Arlanda Express in action. #

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