Welcome to the summary of what's good to know when travelling in beautiful Norway by train.
Try to set aside that Norway is an expensive country, so train ticket prices can seem comparatively pricey, and there’s a lot to love about travelling by train in Norway.
In particular, the staff are incredibly polite and helpful (in our experience), the ticket system isn’t overly complicated, national rail operator Vy’s website is comparatively simple to use and of course the journeys can be stunningly beautiful.
Though if you would like help with planning a train journey within or to/from Norway, or want to add some Norwegian destinations to a European train travel itinerary, take a look at ShowMeTheJourney's new Concierge Service.
Details of amendments to national train services are available here though, aside from a slight reduction in services on the Oslo <> Bergen route, all long-distance 'Regiontog' services are operating according to the usual timetable.
Vy, the national rail operator in Norway, has also produced a page of travel advice.
Swedish national rail operator, SJ, provides the trains on the Stockholm <> Oslo and Stockholm <> Narvik routes and it has suspended these services until further notice!
Vy operates the trains on the Oslo <> Goteborg route and these trains are currently being turned round at Halden, with connections available to/from Goteborg
Twelve things worth knowing about Norwegian train travel:
(2) The long distance express trains are branded 'Regiontog'; but these are not regional trains, they're the top flight trains in Norway.
(3) These Regiontog services on all the routes they operate on, don't depart particularly frequently.
(4) Unless you will be using the commuter trains to/from Oslo or Bergen, turning up at a station in the expectation that a train will be leaving soon, is not a good idea in Norway.
(5) Tickets can be booked from 90 days ahead - and limited numbers of discounted 'Mini-Pris' tickets will be placed on sale for journeys by Regiontog trains.
(6) Children aged 4-15 travel at half-rate, but one child aged 4-15 can travel free with an adult travelling with an ordinary ticket.
Children aged 0-3 travel free
(7) Half rate is charged for those aged 67 and over.
(8) Tickets are required for bikes on trains and our guide to taking an ordinary bicycle on Norwegian trains is available HERE.
(9) Vy doesn’t use 1st and 2nd class, what would be 1st class is called ‘Komfort’.
It's worth considering travelling ‘Komfort’ for long journeys on Regiontog trains, as the standard seats on Regiontog trains can feel a tad cramped compared to other European express trains.
Komfort class is only available on Regiontog trains and on trains between Norway and Sweden.
(10) Reservations are available on Regiontog trains and aren’t generally compulsory (the Regiontog trains in both directions between Oslo and Bergen are an exception), so the price you will see online doesn’t usually include the reservation.
You have to opt to pay the additional fee if you want to reserve; recommended on all long distance trains in the summer months, particularly on Fridays and Sundays
It isn’t possible to book reservations online separately from ticket bookings; so if you have a rail pass and want to make reservations you need to call NSB (see the rail pass info below).
(11) Vy operates Sove overnight trains on these routes:
(12) International train services have been improved in recent years.
Norwegian Regiontog trains are used on the Oslo – Goteborg route.
Tilting Swedish Snabtagg trains now provide the fastest ever service on the Oslo – Stockholm route* and the frequency of the service has also been increased.
*The train service between Oslo and Stockholm has been altered due to works on the line.
The remaining trains are slower, less frequent and Swedish IC trains are being used on most departures
Children aged 0-3 travel free.
Children aged 4-15 travel at half-rate.
However, one child aged 4-15 can travel free with an adult travelling with an ordinary ticket.
Though if you will be making journeys by express Regiontog trains reservations are usually an optional extral; though they're included when booking on the Oslo - Bergen route.
If you have younger children, then on most routes that these Regiontog trains take, Vy Familie compartments and carriages are available; translate the page and then scroll down to access the Family info
You can book tickets for these familly areas by calling Vy’s international booking service on +4761051910.
Press 9 as soon as the service is answered in order to switch to the English language option; and have some patience as your call will be in a queue.
Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Norway:
The terms above also apply to journeys between Norway and Goteborg.
Tickets for the Snabbtag trains and IC trains to/from Sweden can be booked on SJ - the Swedish national rail operator's ticket booking service - seats will be assigned when booking
An adult booking on SJ on these trains enables up to two children aged 15 and under to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.
On the long distance express Regiontog trains spaces in the bike storage can be reserved in advance, there is a travelling with a bike option within the journey search service on Vy, the national rail operator's, website.
Though in order to reserve a bike space on a Regiontog train you also have to reserve a seat. The seat reservation will be complimentary, but you have to pay for the bike reservation and these are comparatively expensive.
They typically cost 50% of the adult ticket price, but if you want to take a Regiontog train on the Bergen Line in the summer, there is a flat rate fee of NOK 215 = approximately €22.
On the other non Regiontog trains, which are in effect the local trains in Norway, bike spaces can’t be reserved, but bike tickets are still required.
According to the Vy website they typically cost 50% of the adult ticket price, though maximum prices also apply to longer journeys.
The lack of reservations mean spaces can’t be guaranteed on these trains, but as the bike tickets can be purchased from the conductor, it’s best to take your bike on board, stow it in the marked areas and then seek out the conductor in order to buy the bike ticket.
If you buy the bike ticket from the ticket machine, there’s a chance you could board and discover that there’s no space available.
The exception to this are journeys on the Gjovik Line, bike spaces can be reserved on the trains which travel along this route and these reservations have a minimum price of NOK 21.
Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys within Norway
1st class Rail pass users:
If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you won't have to pay reservation fees to travel on the Regiontog trains - the express trains in Norway.
Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route, but they're free! They can be arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.
If you have a 1st class pass, make this clear when calling to make reservations in 'Komfort' class - in order to avoid being charged any fees.
2nd class Rail pass users:
Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route - and are available from 90 days ahead
On other routes by Regiontog trains - reservation are optional,
If you want to travel in 2nd class, they cost around the equivalent of €6
2nd class users can opt to pay a more expensive fee of the equivalent around €11 to travel in 'Komfort' class = 1st class on Regiontog trains.
They can arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.
Rail pass users can also obtain a 30% discount on the Flamsbana line
Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Norway:
(1) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:
No reservation fees are required on the Regiontog trains between Oslo and Gothenburg.
(2) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE required:
On the IC and Snabbtåg trains from Oslo to Stockholm: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7
Book from 3 months ahead of the travel date, on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the NSB (Norwegian Railways) website.
This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.