*** WARNING: I have never done this personally! Attempt this at your own risk! ***

Anders Peterson, Associate Professor in traffic systems at Linköping University in Sweden, posed an interesting question on Twitter:

Anders even pointed out that Swedish rail company SJ has been talking about how the timetable for this connection works. But how do you get a ticket for it?

I’m often asked whether I document the rail booking tricks I find, so in that spirit, here’s a guide how to do it.

Let’s first find the trains we want – using Deutsche Bahn’s Reiseauskunft – this is the example trip I will use for the blog post, departing 21 December 2021 and arriving 22 December. Note that Deutsche Bahn cannot find me a price for this connection – but don’t be put off.

Instead edit your search parameters, setting your departure time 7 hours earlier, adding an interim stop of 7 hours at Copenhagen main station (København H)

That will give you this connection that can be booked – €69,90:

Note the København H – Hamburg Hbf train is the exact same one as above – IC 393. Book this – you will get an eTicket. Ignore the X2000 train – we won’t be taking that.

But what about ticket conditions, and the reservation of a place in either a couchette or sleeping car on the Stockholm – Malmö leg?

The ticket conditions for the Deutsche Bahn booking are laid out in this PDF in German. The relevant parts:

Eine Fahrkarte „Sparpreis Europa“ darf nur an den Tagen, in den Zügen und in der Wa- genklasse genutzt werden, die auf der Fahrkarte angegeben sind (ZUGBINDUNG). Sie gilt grundsätzlich nur auf DB STRECKEN. Abweichungen sind ggf. in den SCIC-SB genannt.

1.5 Übersicht zu Besonderheiten der Sparpreis-Angebote in Länder Nordeuropas
Soll auf Wunsch des Kunden ein anderer als der ursprünglich vorgesehene SJ Hochgeschwindigkeitszug ab/bis Kopenhagen genutzt werden, muss für den neu gewählten SJ Hochgeschwindigkeitszug eine neue Reservierung kostenpflichtig erworben werden, sofern dies im Rahmen der Verfügbarkeit möglich ist. Hierfür wird eine Fahrkarte zum Aufpreis „Passzuschlag“ inklusive Reservierung ausgestellt.


A “Sparpreis Europa” ticket may only be used on the days, on the trains and in the car class specified on the ticket (Zugbindung). In principle, it only applies to DB ROUTES. Any deviations are mentioned in the SCIC-SB.

1.5 Overview of special features of the saver fare offers in Northern European countries
If, at the customer’s request, a different SJ high-speed train from / to Copenhagen is to be used, a new reservation must be purchased for the newly selected SJ high-speed train, provided that this is possible within the scope of availability. For this purpose, a ticket with a “pass surcharge” including reservation will be issued.

So – in short – if you have a Deutsche Bahn cheap ticket (Sparpreis, what you booked above), you DO NOT have to take the train mentioned on your ticket in Sweden, providing you purchase a pass surcharge reservation for the train you do want to take.

So how do you get that for the Stockholm – Malmö night train?

Head over to the SJ website, put in Stockholm to Malmö, and then click “Add SJ Prio / Commuter ticket / Rail pass” at the bottom right

This window pops up. Choose “Interrail or Eurailpass” (even though you do not have that!) and put the ticket number you have from the DB ticket you booked above in the field.

This will then give you options like this:

230 SEK (€22,75) for a berth in a couchette, 375 SEK (€37,10) for a berth in a sleeping car.

That gives you a comparatively reasonable total price of €92,65 for the trip with a couchette berth, and €107,10 for the trip with a sleeping car berth. And as you have one ticket from departure station to destination, you are covered if something goes wrong, you miss a connection or there is some sort of delay.

Note that this also works in the other direction – put in the interim stop in København H accordingly.

So yes, this all takes a little bit of messing around, but it looks like it’s the best way – for now – to make this trip work. Thanks as ever to the Twitter nerds in this thread for the insight explaining how all of this works!

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