Copenhagen Central Station / Denmark


JPEG - 364.1 kb

Danish railway system

**Organisational structure of Danish railways

PNG - 22.1 kb

Organisational structure of Danish railways. Source: UIC 2013.

DSB was created in 1885 following a merger between Zealand Railways (state company) and the companies from Funen and Jutland.

On 1 January 1999, DSB was reorganised into four business units:

  • DSB Intercity (mainline passenger transport)
  • DSB Regio (regional trains)
  • DSB S-tog (suburban services in the Copenhagen area)
  • DSB Gods (freight)

In the passenger sector DSB faces competition from Arriva, a British transport company [and subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn]. Freight services, operated in the past by DSB Gods, were taken over on 1 January 2001 by a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, Railion, following a political move to liberalise the Danish railways in 1999. DSB thus now operates as a profit-making company, although it still provides certain public services on the basis of contracts with the Ministry of Transport and Energy.

Danish railway network:

  • The network is mainly used by passenger operators, and there is no high speed traffic.
  • Freight traffic is fully privatised and operated by a subsidiary of DB.
  • Length of the network: 2 667 km in 2007, of which 640 km are electrified.
  • The tracks are standard-gauge (1 435 mm) and all electrified lines are alternating current, 15 kV / 16.67 Hz

Governance and financing of Danish stations


DSB: buildings and passenger areas.
BaneDanmark: platforms, tracks and access ramps.


Governance of stations in Denmark. Source UIC 2013.


Construction and renovation of Danish stations is mainly government-financed, via the Ministry of Transport.
Financing of operating costs of stations: DSB and commercial revenue.

Renovation policy for stations in Denmark: Latest trends

One of the main preconditions to be met before launching a station renovation project in Denmark is achieving a consensus among stakeholders, especially concerning financing for the project.
At present many major stations in Denmark need renovating, mainly to improve intermodality, for example with bicycles. Danish stations are completely overrun by bicycles, making it necessary to reconfigure the urban area surrounding the station by adding suitable parking spaces and improving station accessibility.

Commercial activities are currently taking up more and more space in Danish stations, and measures to reorganise commercial areas have thus been planned for many stations on the network.

Efforts are also being made to reduce staff numbers in stations by increasing the level of automation, in particular for ticket sales (target: 100% within the next 10 years), which will bring the dual benefit of generating free space in stations and ensuring they have longer opening hours.

Case study, Copenhagen Central Station

Geographical context

PNG - 41.2 kb

Copenhagen is a densely populated city (7 300 inhabitants / km²).
Economic capital of Denmark.
Urban context: central.
At the heart of a dense urban fabric.

Station’s position on railway network

PNG - 45.6 kb

The journey from the central station to Copenhagen airport takes 11 minutes by direct link.

JPEG - 88.4 kb

Situation within Copenhagen transport network

JPEG - 49.9 kb

The station is not connected to the city’s metro network, but a project has been launched to build a circular metro line by 2018.

JPEG - 60.6 kb
Copenhagen station cycle park: Source: UIC

**Copenhagen station, key figures and accessibility

Date of construction: 1911 Number of metro lines: 0
Date of last renovation: 2008 Number of suburban lines: 6
Total station surface area: 35 000 m² Number of bus routes: 15
Number of passengers / year: 120,000 -
Number of visitors / day: 10% of the number of passengers (estimate) Number of public car parks: - parking spaces
Retail space: 5 200 m² Cost of parking near station: -
Number of retail outlets: 40 Parking surface area: -
Restaurant space in station: - m² Cost of cycle hire: -
Infrastructure manager: BaneDanmark Existence of checkpoints in station: no
Operator: DSB , DSB S-tog , l’ORD son , Deutsche Bahn , SJ Transfer time in station: 5 minutes
Number of tracks in station: 13 (including 4 for S-tog [suburban] services)  

**History of Copenhagen station

The station as it currently stands was completed on 1 December 1911. It was the third station built on the site; the two previous structures had been wooden.
The station was completely renovated in 1980; escalators and lifts were installed to access the platforms and the main hall of the station was divided into arrivals, departures and freight and completely refurbished. Further renovation work was carried out between 2004 and 2008: the roof was replaced and platforms 3 and 6 were lowered in order to comply with international standards. The towers and the bridge over the platforms, on which the main building of the station is located, were refurbished.

JPEG - 19.9 kb
Photo of Copenhagen in 2011. Source: City website

**Renovation of Copenhagen station

Progress status: ongoing

Duration: 2010 - ?


  • Construction work for the station on the circular metro line.
  • Reconfiguration of urban areas around the station.
  • Construction of a new intermodal terminal.

Financing: Danish government, SDB, BaneDanmark


  • Government
  • SDB
  • BaneDanmark
  • City of Copenhagen

Conclusion / expected outcome:

  • Improvement of station accessibility in relation to its urban environment and greater intermodality.
  • Solutions to the problem of insufficient cycle parking space.

**Description of station renovation project

At city level:

Circular metro line project for 2018:

The first three sections of Copenhagen metro were opened in 2002 and 2003. The success of these initial phases led to the decision to pursue work with the construction of a fourth section: a circle line around the city (the Cityringen), due to open in 2018.
The Cityringen will measure roughly 15.5 km and connect the major neighbourhoods in Copenhagen, in particular the Danish parliament, the central station, the city hall, existing major stations with metro and suburban connections and the principal national monuments.
Services will operate at intervals of 100 s, with a total of 28 trains (3 coaches, 39 m) running at 90 km/h.
In total the Cityringen project is expected to cost 15 billion Danish crowns (2 billion euros).

Key dates:

  • October 2007/April 2008: design study
  • May 2008/April 2009: preparation of the tender
  • May 2009/April 2010: negotiation of the contract
  • May 2010/2018: construction

Project at station level:

Increase of station capacity:

The central station has a capacity of 17 incoming trains per hour from the west. In a context of proposals for developing infrastructure in and around Copenhagen, the need to increase capacity has been mentioned on several occasions, in particular by the infrastructure commission. Proposals involving the central station, which remain to be discussed, suggest several possible configurations, including increasing the number of tracks and platforms, or creating a satellite station or a new terminal.
Some of the works proposed for the expansion of the main station would optimise connections to the bus, metro and S-tog networks, while others would ensure better connections with Copenhagen airport.

Creation of a new intermodal terminal:

The most likely location is above the station platforms, on a bridge at a right angle to the tracks. Among other purposes, this configuration would ensure better integration of the station within the city.
Financing problems currently appear to be the main hindrance to station development; the only works to have begun so far are on the circular metro line. The projects may have to change, but the issues remain the same.