Please sign in to post.

Reserving train ticket to Oslo via email?

In the update to the Scandinavia guidebook, Rick says that although you can no longer use a US-issued credit card to buy train tickets in Norway, you can either call a number or send an email (he provides specific contact info) to reserve a seat in advance. You then pay for and pick up your train ticket at the train station in Norway.

Has anyone tried this? My family of four and my aunt plan to take the train from Myrdal to Oslo S in August. I want to reserve in advance, and I thought about using the email address Rick provides. Just wanted to know if anyone had done this already, and if so, how you phrased your request.

Posted by
16883 posts

The email address was suggested to us by someone who used it to book reservations, but I'm not sure that others have been equally successful. Phone is more tried and true.

Posted by
15 posts

I just made my train reservations by phone. This information might be useful to someone else who wants to arrange train tickets ahead of time without going through a travel agent. Pressing 9 did not get me to an operator who greeted me in English, but rather in Norwegian, although when I explained what I wanted, she spoke English and said she would transfer me to customer service. The pleasant lady with whom I spoke at customer service did tell me that they accept American Express via the website and over the phone to pay for tickets, but not MasterCard or Visa, although I can use one of them to pay for the tickets at the station when I pick them up.

Posted by
6 posts

I booked an Oslo to Bergen train using the www.nsb.no/en web site and a MasterCard with a chip. We called CitiBank and requested the European-style "chip and pin" card. No problems using this on the NSB site. Remember that the sooner you book tickets (starting 90 days out), the cheaper your tickets will be.

We will be buying the Norway in a Nutshell tickets at the train station. This forum and others state that these tickets are easily purchased upon arrival. I hope that this is true.

Posted by
5 posts

We recently (summer 2014) found it impossible to pay for NSB train tickets in advance using a US credit card, but were successful when we booked through RailEurope.com

The issue appears to be how NSB manages online and telephone credit card transactions. They use a payment processing service called PayEx that requires "3D Secure" feature on any credit cards used to pay for tickets. This feature transfers risk from the vendor to the bank, and provides several layers of security (so I read). When I called Bank of America (several times, just in case I could connect with a more knowledgeable agent), they had no idea what "3D Secure" was and so did not offer this feature on any of their Visa cards. Chase Bank knew about it, but said it was a feature available from Visa, but not them. When I contacted Visa, they said it was a feature offered by banks and I should contact my bank. It may be available from AmEx or MC, but I didn't inquire.

Not having a credit card in the "3D Secure" database, the online NSB reservations system would not accept our credit cards for payment. I was advised to call NSB's customer support line (during regular Oslo business hours)
but while I could make a reservation, they would also not accept our credit cards without the "3D Secure" feature. The cards were blocked by PayEx (according to the NSB agent), not our bank. Our bank had no record of any NSB charges attempted, and yes, we had contacted them in advance to let them know to expect charges from Norway.

On a suggestion from a travel agent, we tried using RailEurope.com instead. The procedure was straightforward, and our credit card was accepted. Received confirmation quickly by email, but they said they will mail the tickets to us - Haven't received them yet but it's only been a few days. So far, so good... One negative - RailEurope.com would not let us upgrade the tickets to "komfort" grade. Not sure why.

Not sure if NSB requires "3D Secure" on credit cards used to buy tickets at their stations in Norway, but this experience implies that they might. Would be interested in hearing from anyone who has purchased tickets in Norway and what their experience was. Would also like to hear from any USA resident who has managed to obtain "3D Secure" feature for their credit cards. - Scott R.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you for your post, Scott. When I called NSB, I was able to make a reservation, but since I have nothing in writing, not even an email confirming my reservation, I am a bit nervous that I will show up at the train station to pick up tickets for my party of five, and there will be no record of my reservation! I may try Rail Europe and see what happens. We leave in five weeks.

Posted by
5 posts

Hello Marsha,

NSB agents I've spoken with told me they will hold an unpaid reservation for one week (that may be 5 business
days) then a reservation will be cancelled if unpaid. You may want to contact them again, perhaps by email, to
see if they will retain your reservation until you get there.

Also, regarding RailEurope.com, we obtained "tickets" from them successfully, but this is not the same thing as
having seats on the train. In correspondence from 3 June 2014, NSB's customer support said "You can book at
RailEurope.com but if you book there you will just get the trainticket, and there can therefore be a problem if you
are travelling with trains that require seat reservations.... Seat reservations have to be booked by phone if the
online booking with www.nsb.no does not go through."

In later correspondence, they also wrote "If you call the costumer service to book a reservation you do not
need 3D secure code. This is only a protection against fraud with online purchases." But when I called and
tried to make reservations, they would not accept either of our Visa cards because they did not have "3D
Secure" feature. It appears that the NSB customer service agents are not all 'reading from the same page'
or perhaps the policy in this regard changed recently and everyone didn't get the memo?

So with RailEurope.com 'tickets' in hand I called NSB about seat reservations. The agent I spoke with confirmed
that separate seat reservations were necessary. They were happy to make these, but required a payment of
NOK 50 for each seat. And of course, they would only take credit cards that were 3D Secure enabled, so I
could not complete these reservations.

But the agent suggested that I call them a week before our intended train travel date and make seat
reservations then without paying - So they will hold these for a week. But we will be in Norway a few
days prior to the train day, so can go to the train station and pay up then (in cash, if necessary). The
only problem with this plan (which may be the only one left for us) is that we plan to travel on a busy
train and there is no guarantee that we can get them, and if we can, my wife and I may or may not be
able to sit together.

Frustrating situation all around. But I recall something Rick Steves once said, which I think was roughly
"If your foreign travel doesn't meet your expectations, change your expectations." We're trying to keep
this advice in mind.

Good luck with your travels.

-- Scott R.

Posted by
1 posts

We have found this really frustrating. We are coming from Balustrand via express boat to Flam. We've got the Myrdal to Oslo tickets from raileurope.com EXCEPT we couldn't get the Flam to Myrdal train through raileurope. We booked the Flam to Myrdal train via Visitflam.com but the boat gets to Flam only 10 minutes before the train leaves and they didn't offer the later train. Going to the NSB site shows a later train from Flam to Myrdal and the same train from Myrdal to Oslo but it won't allow us to pay. Any thoughts?

Posted by
15 posts

Instead of trying Raileurope, I emailed NSB to check to see if my group of five still had a reservation. I received a reply that my tickets had been put "on hold," and I would be able to pay for them and collect them when I got to a train station in Norway. I called NSB to make a reservation back in mid-May and here we are on July 1, and my tickets for August 16 are still in the system. I printed the reply I got from NSB and will take it with me to Norway, just in case.

Posted by
15 posts

clongassoc, I have read that you can buy tickets for the Flåm-Myrdal train on the spot, that it rarely fills up. This is what we will be doing - my posts above refer to getting from Myrdal to Oslo.

Posted by
5786 posts

Marsha,

The primary benefit of purchasing your tickets early is to take advantage of the NSB's Minipris advance purchase pricing. the Minipris prices tend to be lowest most farthest in advance and may disappear as one gets closer to the day of travel.

And while seats are usually available, peak travel such as Easter Week finds the trains packed as every Norwegian heads for the mountains and their hytte.

Posted by
5 posts

Update on NSB seat reservations - When I bought the NSB tickets from RailEurope.com, apparently I missed something because the tickets came without seat reservations and I later learned that I could have obtained these at the same time. Our travel agent called RailEurope.com and sorted this out for us - She was able to get seat reservations on the specific train we want to travel on, Oslo to Bergen. This was at added cost, of course, but we have more confidence now that we will be able to board this busy, tourist season train and sit together!

Separately, I learned that Hurtigruten (we are including a cruise in this trip) could have made the train reservations for us as part of their cruise package. Their brochures don't say this specifically, that I recall. They are happy to make airline reservations as part of a cruise package, and apparently will do same for train reservations if asked. Next time...

Happy travels!

-- Scott R.

Posted by
22 posts

You can buy a ticket at the station though,..right? I will be flying into Oslo and need to buy one way to Fredrikstad. I planned on getting the ticket at the station.

Posted by
5 posts

Follow up to my previous postings about using RailEurope passes on NSB trains - We just returned from our trip to Norway, and had no problem with the 'tickets' and seat reservations we obtained online from RailEurope for the busy Oslo to Bergen train. And our US credit card was readily accepted by RailEurope.

On arrival in Oslo, we went to the NSB ticketing and reservations shop at the Oslo S train station to make sure we were all set, showed them both the tickets and the separate seat reservations we had purchased in advance from RailEurope, and were told it would be no problem - Just board the train and show these to the conductor. This was exactly what we did on the day we were to make the trip. We boarded the train, found our reserved seats in the train coach specified, and were on our way. The conductor came buy, quickly examined our tickets and seat reservations, stamped the tickets, and handed them back to us.

The train appeared nearly full as we left Oslo S. Seat reservations indeed appeared essential, at least for this busy regional train route. Another passenger boarded in Oslo and found that someone was already sitting in the seat that he apparently had reserved. The sitting passenger immediately moved when the newly boarded passenger said that it was his reserved seat.

To the question above about simply buying tickets in Norway on or near the day you wish to travel, we have no direct experience with this but will guess that it is done all the time. The only problem may be during high tourist season on busy regional routes like the Oslo-Bergen route we took. It may be easier on other routes. In any case, flexibility would probably be important.

One more train tip - Both NSB and Flytoget provide train service from Oslo's airport to Oslo S downtown. NSB is less expensive but Flytoget has more trains. We took Flytoget exclusively, bought tickets at the automatic kiosks with a credit card (ours was a chip-and-pin card), and boarded the train. It was very fast, very quick, comfortable, no hassle.