Rail Journeys

The Southern Sweden Explorer

Tour Date: 16 to 24 September 2023
Location: Sweden

This tour fills some gaps left by previous PTG tours in Sweden, but has much to commend it to any railway enthusiast. We will enjoy a mixture of trams, heritage railways, special trains and even some draisine riding, with a coach providing transport where required and conveying our luggage between hotels.

A highlight for many will be the chance to travel on all three of the railways on Sweden’s Baltic islands, Öland and Gotland. These are highly prized as they are difficult to get to. On heritage railways we expect a mixture of steam, diesel and railcars while the special trains will be a Y1 railcar. This has limited capacity, so book early for a comprehensive visit to southern Sweden hopefully in the sunshine and definitely in the long daylight hours of the Swedish summer!

From: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Liverpool. Or indirect from other UK airports

Tour Manager: Paul Griffin   paulg@ptg.co.uk

Tour Highlights

  • Private Charter Train
  • Non passenger lines
  • Accompanied by tour coach throughout
  • Preserved railways – some with steam
  • Great historic and scenic towns

Tour Itinerary

Pre-Tour Nights

If you would like to arrive in Stockholm a day or two ahead of the main group, to relax or make some personal explorations,  then we can arrange this for you.

Day 1 Friday 16 September, 2023

Flights from the UK to Stockholm. Early travellers  can take the Arlanda Express into the City, check-in to the group hotel and start some tourist or railway exploration of the Swedish capital.

Day 2 Saturday 17 September

In the morning our coach will take us south down good roads to visit the Museispårvägen Malmköping. This is the home of the Swedish tram and bus museums, the former with over 40 tram vehicles, one dating from 1903. A former railway line now serves as a 2.6 km long tramway from Malmköping to Hosjö, and we will have our own heritage charter tram to travel the line.

We have to double back slightly to reach the city of Norrköping, which boasts the second smallest tramway system in Sweden and here we will enjoy an ‘all available lines’ tour of the entire system starting from and finishing at the depot and using one of their heritage trams. The route includes the Klingsberg park loop, which has apparently not been used for almost ten years.

We will stay in Norrköping for the night. Once known as ‘the Manchester of Sweden’, the city is not a major tourist destination, though a stroll along the side of the Motala ström river is well worthwhile.

Day 3 Sunday 18 September

Today we travel to the 600 mm gauge Risten – Lakviks Järnväg. Centred on Lakvik, and utilising part of the former trackbed of the Norsholm–Västervik–Hultsfred Railway, the line runs north to Backasand, and south to a junction at Rosenhall, with a branch line alongside a beautiful lake to Risten. Once we have completed this attractive little line we travel to the shores of Lake Vättern, the second biggest in Sweden, and the town of Vadstena. This is the terminus of the  Wadstena Fogelsta Railway which claims to be the oldest heritage railway in the country. The track gauge is 891 mm, which corresponds to three Swedish feet. The line was a 9.6 km branch from the main line junction at Fågelsta, and yes, the spelling of both towns has changed since the railway was opened! In recent years the railway has struggled to survive and currently it is only open for 1.2km from Wadstena to Folkets Park, which we will of course travel by train. For those wishing to travel to Fågelsta by rail the only way is by two person draisine (one pedalling, one seated). The ride goes through a beautiful agricultural landscape, passing several large farms on the way, and after about 4 km  crossing the private Aska Vedbana (Aska Firewood railway).

Our day ends in the large town of Jönköping, known for its long lakeside beach, Vätterstranden. In the centre is the 19th-century Sofia Church, with its neo-Gothic design and towering spire.

Day 4 Monday 19 September

Our first call is the Skara-Lundsbrunns Järnvägar where we will look around the Skara roundhouse before travelling the 12km  from Skara to Lundsbrunn which is the remaining section of the  Skara – Kinnekulle – Vänerns Järnväg. If possible we will also travel the stub of the former Skara-Timmersdala Jarnvag before rejoining our coach for the journey to Gräfsnäs where a charter train on the  Anten- Gräfsnäs Järnväg will be waiting for us.

This is another 891 mm gauge survivor, this time of the Västergötland–Göteborgs Järnvägar, and we will enjoy  a 12 km ride between Brobacka and Gräfsnäs.

Our coach will now take us nearby Alingsås railway station to join our Y1 DMU which will proceed towards Gothenburg (Göteborg).  We expect to do three freight-only curves before travelling south down the  Vastkustbanan through Varberg and Ängelholm where we diverge onto the freight line to Åstorp and continue on freight line to reach our nights accommodation in Helsingborg via the Kattarp east to south curve.

The scenic seaport of  Helsingborg has many old stone buildings and a 600 year old medieval fortress in the city centre.

Day 5 Tuesday 20 September

We start the day in our Y1 railcar with visits to industrial lines around Helsingborg and Landskrona. Lines owned by Trafikverket are certainly possible, and private lines owned by the two cities have been requested. If we get approval then details will appear on the PTG website.

From Landskrona we travel  to Kävlinge, reverse and proceed north through Teckomatorp to Åstorp where we head east through Klippan to Hässleholm. We will be requesting permission to visit the new depot here, which is on a short new branch. If we fail to get permission we may leave the Y1 railcar earlier to get to our next heritage railway earlier. Much depends on timings.

Sweden’s most southerly heritage railway is the Skånska Järnvägar where we will travel from Brösarp to Sankt Olof and back. Subject to time constraints and availability we may have the opportunity for some extra track on draisines before driving north to our overnight stay in Kristianstad. The historic city centre has the beautiful Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan, which is considered one of the most beautiful Protestant churches in Europe. No less photogenic is the Backaskogs Castle dating back to the 13th century.

Day 6 Wednesday 21 September

Our last day with the Y1 railcar sees us heading east along the coast to Karlskrona and Kalmar, but first we make a trip south on the long freight line to Åhus, and on the return we will include the freight only Kristianstad avoiding line before following the coast east towards Karlskrona. We will certainly visit part of the docks system at Karlshamn, and will seek permission to visit private branches in the docks as well as the branch to  Södra Cell Mörrum. At Karlskrona we make a side trip on the freight line to Verkö, which for a long time had heavy restrictions on the available hours of operation. North now to Emmaboda for a reversal then east to Nybro where we hope to visit the short branch to the Fredrikslund timber terminal.  Kalmar will be our overnight stay, and we should arrive early enough to enjoy a walk into the old town with its cobbled streets and well-preserved 17th and 18th-century buildings. Don’t miss the Renaissance-style Kalmar Castle, with its ornate turrets and drawbridge.

Day 7 Thursday 22 September

We  leave Kalmar and drive over the long bridge which connects the mainland to the island of Öland. Our objective is in the north of the island and is the Böda Skogsjärnväg who operate a 4.2km railway of 600 mm gauge from their base at Fagerrör to Trollskogen.  Operation is normally with steam.

It would be nice if we could get a ferry directly to the island of Gotland, but this is not possible, so we must travel by coach to Oskarshamn (or possibly take the ferry from Byxelkrok to Oskarshamn) then a ferry to Visby on Gotland.

The Hanseatic city of Visby is arguably the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia, and a UNESCO world heritage site. For the energetic it is possible to follow the 3.4 km long town wall that encircles the town centre.

Day 8  Friday 23 September

We have a busy day on this holiday island with two heritage railways to visit and a ferry to catch!  Our first railway is the  Gotlands – Hesselby Järnväg   which is 6.5 km long  and has a gauge of 891 mm.  We will travel from Hesselby to Roma and back before rejoining our coach and making our way to the north of the island and the  Bläse Kalkbruksmuseum Jarnvag. The 600mm gauge railway was built to convey lime from a quarry, and today a  museum shows how the lime was quarried, transported and burnt for quicklime. Diesel locomotives and modified stone wagons take passengers for a 2.2 km ride to the quarry.

We should have time to do justice to the sites attractions before heading back to Visby for the afternoon sailing to Nynäshamn, which is south east of Stockholm. Our original coach will be waiting here to take us to our hotel near the railway station, but some people may wish to travel (own expense) from Nynäshamn to Stockholm by train.

Day 9 Saturday 24 September

If you wish to stay longer in the Swedish capital with its extensive public transport network, then we can add on extra nights. Otherwise there will be airport transfers and flights to UK airports.

Prices & Options

Holiday prices per person in double or twin room (based on all 40 places being sold)

  • Full 9-day tour including flights from Heathrow: £1,885 (£1,785*)
  • Full 9-day tour including flights from Gatwick: £1,810 (£1,710*)
  • Full 9-day tour including flights from Stansted: £1,790 (£1,690*)
  • Full 9-day tour including flights from Liverpool, back to Manchester: £1,885 (£1,785*)
  • Full 9-day tour including flights from Edinburgh: £1,885 (£1,785*)
  • Joining in Stockholm: £1,570 (£1,470*)

* PTG regulars and BLS members: deduct £100 from tour price


  • Single use room supplement for full tour: £480


  • £600 with flights, £300 own flights

Transport & Accommodation


SK0532 13:55 Heathrow to Stockholm (arr 17:25)
SK1523 16:20 Stockholm to Heathrow (arr 17:55)

DY4456 14:10 Gatwick to Stockholm (arr 17:45)
DY4457 13:55 Stockholm to Gatwick (arr 15:45)

FR4693 21:05 Stansted to Stockholm (arr 00:25)
FR4692 09:55 Stockholm to Stansted (arr 11:15)

FR4666 10:20 Liverpool to Stockholm (arr 14:45)
SK2549 18:30 Stockholm to Manchester (arr 20:00)

SK2546 14:20 Edinburgh to Stockholm (arr 17:30)
DY4463 18:25 Stockholm to Edinburgh (arr 19:40)


12 August

15:04 St Pancras to Brussels

18:25 Brussels to Frankfurt

13 August

00:52 Frankfurt to Hamburg (sleeper)

08:56 Hamburg to Copenhagen

14:19 Copenhagen to Stockholm (arr 19:37)