SJ: The never-ending story
Published: Monday 2005-04-18.
It seems that I never learn, but today I once again tried to book train tickets on-line. It is soon time again for the yearly battle at the Casselbrantian residence, which is why I thought it was time to try to book me on a suitable form of transportation. Since I am planning to carry some computer equipment I wanted to use a land-based method of transportation, namely trains.
Since Linx was shut down at the top of the year, the possibilities for travelling by train between Oslo and Stockholm have been drastically decreased, there is one train in each direction on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Since the computer gaming is going to take place the first weekend of May I tried to book a ticket for the Friday. That didn’t work, since the Friday train was cancelled this particular Friday (the day after Ascension Day). Neither was there any service on Saturday, but thankfully I noticed that there was an extra train on the Thursday, so by using up one of my vacation days I could at least conjure up a trip eastwards. This was when the fun began.
Since I ended up with an extra day I thought it was a good idea to take a detour through my parents’ place on the way towards Stockholm and thus ran into the same problem I had last time I tried ordering tickets (even though I told them about it back then): The computer system apparently does not allow me to buy the combination of a border-crossing trip from SJ and a ticket on Tågkompaniet’s Tåg i Bergslagen at the same time, so I had to split that trip in two parts. The trip from there and on to Stockholm was possible to book in one go, but appeared in two parts in the overview that is shown at the end of the booking procedure, which was slightly confusing.
The next problem was the return trip on the Sunday. On Sundays, there is one train Stockholm–Oslo, but it was of course already fully booked, both in first and second class (and they complain they didn’t have any passengers?). True, it was only fully booked to Karlstad, from Karlstad to Oslo I could still book a ticket on that train, but the problem in that case was to get to Karlstad, the only train that fit was that actual train. So, the return trip thus became the alternative, slightly more time-consuming, route of Stockholm–Gothenburg–Oslo. Instead of a four and a half hour journey, it became seven and a half hour. Not very nice at all.
Oh well, now I at least, after quite a bit of puzzling, had managed to conjure up tickets that I could live with, so I went on, chose to pay by debit card and filled in all my details. I then pressed the button that would get me the final confirmation page, where you are supposed to confirm the purchase and the debit card and get a receipt on the entire transaction.
That page refused to load completely, no matter how many times I reloaded it.
At this point in time I wasn’t at all very happy, but after having uttered a few phrasing calling on the powers of darkness, I re-did the entire procedure on another computer and this time, thankfully, it worked. But I’m not very happy about SJ right now. If it weren’t for the luggage I intend to bring with me, and that I don’t like flying or or going by bus, I would have picket another mode of transportation.
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