The railway links the harbour of Hirtshals with the Danish State Railways. Construction started in April 1924, and the railway was opened the following year. In 2005 the current SiemensDesiro trains, which have a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), were introduced.
Apart from local passenger traffic, there are transit freight trains linking Norway to the European continent. The freight cars are transferred on the railway ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand. An international passenger service from Hirtshals south to Hamburg, Nordpilen, ceased many years ago.