Nordbanen is one of six radial S-train lines in Copenhagen. It connects Copenhagen with the city of Hillerød, and with several northern suburbs.


Name Services Opened S-trains Comments
København H B, E 30 November 1911 15 May 1934 Central station; also all other radials; bus terminal; cross-link express bus 250S
Vesterport B, E 15 May 1934 Also all other radials
Nørreport B, E 1 July 1918 15 May 1934 Also all other radials; transfer to metro; bus terminal; cross-link express buses 150S and 350S
Østerport B, E 2 August 1897 15 May 1934 Also all other radials; named Østerbro until 1934
Nordhavn B, E 15 May 1934 Also Farum and Klampenborg radials
Svanemøllen B, E 15 May 1934 Also Farum and Klampenborg radials
Hellerup B, E 22 July 1863 15 May 1934 Also Klampenborg radial; transfer to ring line; bus terminal
Bernstorffsvej B 15 May 1936
Gentofte B 1 October 1863 15 May 1936
Jægersborg B 15 May 1936 Transfer to Nærumbanen
Lyngby B, E 1 October 1863 15 May 1936 Major bus terminal; cross-link express buses 200S, 300S, 400S
Sorgenfri B 15 May 1936
Virum B 15 May 1936
Holte B, E 8 June 1864 15 May 1936 Service B terminates; bus terminal
Birkerød E 8 June 1864 26 May 1968 Cross-link express bus 500S
Høvelte (E) ?? 26 May 1968 Military base train station; not in the public timetable; only few trains from Copenhagen, none to Copenhagen
Allerød E 8 June 1864 26 May 1968 Named Lillerød until 1952
Hillerød E 8 June 1864 26 May 1968 Transfer to Frederiksværkbanen, Gribskovbanen, Lille Nord; major bus terminal; cross-link express bus 600S

Service patterns

The basic service consists of service B which stops at all stations until Holte, and E which runs with limited stops until Holte and then stops at all stations until Hillerød.

Between 1950 and 1989 rush-hour and limited-stop on the radial ran under service letters C, Cc and Cx. Service A ran on Nordbanen from 1979 to 2007, first as the stopping service until Holte and later (from 1989) as the limited-stop service to Hillerød.


Nordbanen was the second railway to reach Copenhagen in 1863. It was originally the main line to Elsinore before the more direct Kystbanen opened in 1897. The section from Hillerød to Elsinore still exists and is today the Little North Line operated by the railway company Lokaltog.

South of Hellerup the original Nordbanen followed a much more westerly route than the current line, taking it along the present ring line alignment to Ryparken and thence through Nørrebro to the 1863-1911 central station at present-day Kampmannsgade. The trains to Holte and Hillerød moved to the current line in 1921, but the old alignment was used by freight trains until 1930 and still leaves clear traces on a modern street map.

The line from Hellerup to the new central station had four tracks of which trains on Nordbanen used the two western ones and trains on Kystbanen used to two eastern ones. In 1928 two new tracks for local trains to Klampenborg were added to Kystbanen; these connected to Nordbanen's tracks at Hellerup. Thus when the first S-trains were introduced on the Klampenborg line in 1934 it was the Nordbanen tracks between København H and Hellerup that were electrified. But then plans to also electrify Nordbanen as far as Holte were already underfoot.

Early on, a service pattern had been established in which local trains between Copenhagen and Holte were complemented by trains to Hillerød and Helsingør which ran non-stop until Holte. The local trains to Holte were converted to S-trains in 1936, but trains to Hillerød and beyond were still steam trains for several decades, even though they shared the S-train tracks south of Holte.

The Hillerød trains became a problem in the 1960s when capacity on the central S-train section became a limiting factor for service extensions on the western radials. The steam trains had poor acceleration relative to the S-trains and therefore tied up the tracks for twice as long as an S-train would. In order to free this capacity the line from Holte to Hillerød were electrified in 1968 and the steam train replaced by S-trains.

Extending the S-trains to Hillerød turned out to be oddly controversial in the very areas whose service would be improved. Perhaps the inhabitants of the traditionally well-off cities north of Holte were afraid that disagreeable persons form Copenhagen would get too easy access to their neighbourhoods? For several years, in order to counter this opposition DSB maintained an official fiction that the trains to Hillerød were not really "S-trains" but simply trains that happened to be electrically propelled. One of the consequences was that the Hillerød trains carried a first-class car, otherwise not seen on the S-train network. The first-class cars were declassified to second class in 1972.

Likewise, the Hillerød trains kept the stopping pattern of the steam trains and ran non-stop all the way from Østerport to Holte. Only from 1989 did this tradition break down, and the Hillerød services gradually gained intermediate stops at Hellerup (1989) and Lyngby (1991), and finally (1995) at all stations between Østerport and Hellerup.

Coordinates: 55°51′31″N 12°22′35″E / 55.8585°N 12.3763°E / 55.8585; 12.3763

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