The train link between Germany & Scandinavia...

Air-conditioned trains link Hamburg with Copenhagen, city centre to city centre 3 times per day in each direction, taking around 4h40.  You can easily look up train times & buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  You print your own ticket.

COVID-19 update:  Trains are running normally on this route now, you can check at www.bahn.deMore COVID-19 travel info.

  What's the train like?

  What the journey like?

  Travel tips - make sure you read these!

  Train times & route map

  How much does it cost?

  How to buy tickets

With the timetable change on 15 December 2019 the Hamburg-Copenhagen trains were re-routed the longer way round through Flensburg & Odense via the Great Belt Fixed Link and no longer go via the Puttgarden-Rødby train ferry.  They were also reclassified from EuroCity to Intercity.  On the plus side, journey time is reduced to 4h40 (18 minutes quicker) and the trains are no longer be limited to 3 cars because they need to fit on the ferry, most departures doubled to 6 cars.  Trains will use this longer route while the direct line via Puttgarden is rebuilt and the Fehmarn Link constructed which will take some years.

Train times 2020

 Hamburg ► Copenhagen

 

 Copenhagen ► Hamburg

 Days of running:

daily

daily

daily

 Days of running:

daily

daily

daily

 Hamburg Hbf depart:

08:53

12:53

16:53

 Copenhagen depart::

07:26

11:26

15:26

 Kolding (for Legoland) depart:

11:40

15:40

19:40

 Odense depart

08:40

12:40

16:40

 Odense arrive:

12:19

16:19

20:19

 Kolding (for Legoland) depart:

09:18

13:18

17:18

 Copenhagen arrive:

13:33

17:33

21:33

 Hamburg Hbf arrive:

12:02

16:02

20:02

What is the train like?

Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are now operated by Danish IC3 trains like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity, a generic term used by many European train operators for quality trains.  IC3 trains are 3-car articulated diesel units, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are usually composed of two units making up a 6-car train.  There is a small 1st class section at one end of each unit.  IC3 trains are air-conditioned and there's free WiFi.  There's no catering car on these trains, so bring your own along.  Read more about IC3s at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IC3.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

The late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

2nd class seats on a IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

A Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 at Copenhagen station.  Photo courtesy of Tom Simpson...

The trains no longer go onto a ferry...

The highlight of the journey used to be the 50-minute ferry crossing between Puttgarden in Germany & Rødby in Denmark where the train went onto a ship.  This ceased from 15 December 2019.  The planned Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link will replace the ferry with a tunnel, dramatically cutting travel time between Germany and Copenhagen, perhaps as early as 2028.  The associated railway lines are being modernised, and while this happens the trains are re-routed.

Copenhagen to Hamburg tran bioards the ferry at Rodby   Hamburg to Copenhagen train on board the train ferry

The train entering the ferry.  Photo courtesy of Keith White.

 

The IC3 train on the ferry's car/train deck.  Courtesy Tom Simpson.

The Rendsburg Loop & High Bridge...

There are still things to see on the way.  Just north of Hamburg, the trains to Copenhagen cross the high and imposing Rendsburg High Bridge (Rendsburger Hochbrücke) over the Kiel Canal, built 1911-1913, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendsburg_High_Bridge.  The bridge is 42m (138 feet) above the canal, it's also a transporter bridge, with a gondola suspended below the deck ferrying cars across the canal.  The trains then go around the Rendsburg Loop to lose height (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendsburg_Loop) before passing non-stop through Rendsburg station.  You can see Rendsburg marked on the route map below.  On the map you'll see another loop at Flensburg, but these trains don't call at Flensburg and by-pass that loop.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Rendsburg Bridge

This Hamburg to Copenhagen train has crossed the Rendsburg High Bridge and is about to go around the Rendsburg Loop.  Photo courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

The Great Belt Fixed Link...

Hamburg-Copenhagen trains now use the Great Belt Fixed Link between the islands of Funen (on which Odense sits) and Zealand (on which Copenhagen sits), see the route map below.  For a century, trains were ferried across the water on a train ferry, this ended when the Fixed Link opened to trains in 1997.  It opened to road traffic in 1998.  The Great Belt Fixed Link is 18 km (11 miles) long, consisting of a box-girder bridge for the western section for both road and railway, then a suspension bridge for road traffic and tunnel for the railway for the eastern section.  It's a major piece of engineering, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Belt_Fixed_Link.  If you get any good photos from the train to illustrate this part of the journey, please get in touch!

Hamburg to Copenhagen train crosses the Great Belt Fixed Link

So civilised...  Crossing the Great Belt on a stormy winter's day in 1st class armchairs.  Photo courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

Travel tips...

Route map...

Hamburg to Copenhagen train route map

 

Click for larger map

Highlighted = Hamburg-Copenhagen route.

Green = scenic sections of line

The trains now take the highlighted 'long way round' via Flensburg, Kolding & Odense, without the need to use a train ferry.

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.

I recommend buying a copy of the European Rail Map for your travels, www.europeanrailtimetable.eu with shipping worldwide.

Train times...

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


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