Went on 2 trips on this train service between Gothenburg & Stockholm. Great concept, worth reviewing and I always like an upstarter 😉 Soooo:

What’s the business concept?

Blå tåget is a retro 60s train service between Stockholm and Gothenburg which offers an alternative to the State-run SJ train service. Blå tåget - göteborg till Stockhkolm

What’s different?

Blå tåget wants to compete on being a personal service with a proper restaurant carriage, bar carriage and a retro train experience from the 60s but with modern amenities such as Internet. In general, I think they rock on all points.

Background

Blå tåget was started by a guy called Måns Bolin in December 2011, and as early as January 2012 Expressen described here how passengers were ignoring the newly launched service.

Blå tåget - train conductor

The train conductor and the rest of the crew are all really friendly and relaxed

The concept is to offer fixed prices which are most often lower than SJ’s ticket prices, a proper gourmet restaurant replete with white tablecloths and service, on-time service and a retro-style bar with sometimes live music.

Recommendations for strategy and communications

This is a service that is very little-known even now, a year after launch. If I were running Blå tåget then I would do the following as a start:

– Use social media & PR far more extensively to spread the word. Examples here include a Twitter account to complement their Facebook account, and optimised press releases. Connect shares to benefits on the train, communicate those benefits on the train so people share en route. Make the experience shareable as it’s being experienced – nothing beats true emotion.

– Use their disruptive position in a positive way. There’s only one other competitor – SJ. How can they grab more coverage than SJ? This is a real advantage and unique position – work out how to capitalise on it best. When you’re the other option in a monopoly market, you can go crazy on your comms and win huge gains.

– Look at partnerships as a part of their “experience”. For instance, Liseberg in Gothenburg as part of a total experience package for families, Hasseludden as part of a Spa romantic experience for couples in Stockholm. Use the channels of partners to further push the Blå Tåget experience and ensure partners are themselves increasing the overall Blå Tåget experience.

– Use passengers & partners to suggest and build further parts of the experience and publish in online channels. Capture those requests and repackage for PR purposes, optimise for SEO purposes.

– Examine opening up for Interrailers and their tickets. There may be a tradeoff in terms of how much poverty-stricken and hygiene-challenged backpackers can pay for drinks and so on, but this may be outweighed by the publicity and SEO benefits of having a bunch of teched-out students singing your praises on various social media.

Blå tåget - live music

The piano bar is just waiting for people to roll up their sleeves, and their voice chords, and get rocking

In summary

A great service. I unfortunately didn’t get to experience the live music but any time I’m going between Gothenburg and Stockholm by train you can be sure I’ll look for this train first. If you’ve been on Blå tåget please feel free to share your experience in the comments field!

 
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