Picture: Either Jonas Lindkvist or Beatrice Lundborg
For the first time in decades, a chartered train from Stockholm rolls all the way down to southern Europe. Before departure, the locomotive was renamed “Rudolf Wall” after the newspaper Dagens Nyheter’s (DN) founder; and now 350 passengers are on their way to Venice via Berlin and the Dolomites.
Many people raised their eyebrows during Sunday morning at Stockholm Central Station. Maybe it was for the enormous length of the train: 400 meters, 16 carriages – so far that it can barely fit on the longest platform. Or it was for the unusual destination sign: not “Katrineholm”, “Flen”, “Hallsberg” or any of the other names you got used to, but “Venice via Berlin and Bolzano”.
The staff in white coats and the orchestra that welcomed the passengers also stood out compared to an ordinary morning at the Stockholm Central Station.
– Finally, what was said to be impossible – driving a night train all the way down from Sweden to Italy – is possible, says DN’s editor-in-chief Peter Wolodarski.
After a ceremony where bubble was sprayed against the locomotive, the train left the platform at 9.53 for traveling south.
Using the Stena ferries Trelleborg – Mukran (Rügen) in the first morning, the passengers will wake up in Berlin, where they are guided, among other things, by Dagens Nyheter’s Germany correspondent Lina Lund. Day 2 will pass the Brenner Pass at dawn, after which it is time for a stop in Italian Bolzano and a hike out in the Dolomites, before arriving in Venice the same evening.
After a few days on site, where the Venice Biennale is in full swing, the train stops in Verona on the way home where the Opera Festival is underway with Puccini’s performance Tosca on the program, as well as another stop in Vienna before the journey continues to Stockholm.
It all started with a question from DN’s editor-in-chief on social media last fall about whether there was interest in train travel down to the continent – as such no longer exists. The response from the readership was huge and after very hard work the first DN train was able to leave platform 12 on Sunday morning. Already in a week, a new tour goes as the first was fully booked immediately, and next year Dagens Nyheter plans to arrange further trips to, for example, Southern Europe.