• Sweden edition
 
Transport hit as snowstorms ravage Sweden

Transport hit as snowstorms ravage Sweden

Published: 21 Feb 2010 11:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2010 13:49 GMT+01:00

Key intercity and commuter train services were cancelled, for the most part, as personnel worked around the clock to clear snow and ice from tracks and frozen switches. Passengers were advised to check appropriate websites for updated schedules before heading for stations.

Alternative bus transport could not be assured because of highway conditions.

Ambulance and rescue services were also delayed over the weekend. “People have had to wait for ambulances. We’ve had several cases where ambulances have found it very difficult to arrive. This has been a problem throughout the southern part of the country,” said Anders Klarström, spokesman at SOS Alarm Sverige (Sweden).

It has been the worst winter in 22 years. Klarström said northern Sweden managed better because the region is more accustomed to severe winters. But “you can see with your naked eyes that resources in the southern regions simply don’t suffice. We simply weren’t prepared to deal with as much snow as we’ve experienced this winter.”

It was unclear when the important Stockholm-Göteborg train route would be fully operational. Over the weekend about ten of these trains were running up to 15 hours late, according to the information department of Swedish Railways (SJ).

In Göteborg, Frida Grönberg boarded a Stockholm-bound train at 1:30 Saturday afternoon. Just before arriving in Hallsberg the train came to a dead halt. Switches had frozen.

According to the newspaper Aftonbladet, Grönberg and fellow travelers spent the night in an atmosphere of confusion and outright aggressiveness. The mood was grim. “I saw a passenger who opened an emergency door and simply jumped out,” she told the newspaper.

Personnel had no information whatsoever. “They wandered about, and sweared. They heard nothing from management

“There were no buses, nothing.”

The train was still stuck at 2 am Sunday morning when somebody got very sick. A conductor walked about and asked if there were any doctors onboard. “This is an emergency. I’ve got to ring 112 (emergency telephone service),” he said.

Thirty minutes later the train finally got underway for the long trip to Stockholm, and got as far as Södertälje near the Swedish capital before getting stuck once again. “We couldn’t take it anymore, and disembarked. We managed to get a taxi that drove us to a youth hostel.”

Worst hit was Western Sweden. In the province of Västergötland, special vehicles with chains were deployed to deliver insulin and other vital medicines to the homes of chronically sick citizens.

Numerous accidents were reported on the nation’s highways, “but in spite of extremely poor road conditions the number of truly serious accidents was relatively low,” said Thomas Andersson, information manager at the Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket).

Snow-laden rooftops verging on collapse posed a hazard. Part of a shopping center in Jönköping was sealed off after shoppers noticed alarming conditions. The roof of a recreational center in Borås collapsed during football training. Nobody was hurt.

In the past two weeks collapsing roofs have raised questions about their construction. Until the end of the 1980s the construction of rooftops was overseen by an independent inspector. Since then, the contractors themselves have been given this task.

Roger Choate (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

15:41 February 21, 2010 by Nemesis
I am in Central Skåne.

In my town I deliver reklam on a sunday morning and mid day to two areas.

The snowploughs were out early this morning.

The gritters are still gritting streets as I write at 15.30, trying to keep the streets clear, as are the snowploughs.

Te bad weather has been sustained for a few weeks now. I think the Swedish system were I live is holding up quite well. My friends in other kommunes in Småland, Halland and Norrland, say the same thing.

It is not perfect I know, but they are doing well even with recent underfunding.

The people out clearing the roads, pathways, railways and airports should be given a bit of support.

I work in that weather one day a week, only, in which if there is a eather warning I can work a day early or late. Those workers work around the clock, no matter what to keep the country running.

I for one am grateful to the Swedish workers who go out no matter what the weather and keep the country running.

When I first came to Sverige two decades ago it was actually worse. Recent complacency by all political parties has stripped out funding, equipment and training. That needs to be reversed before there is a major incident as the system can no longer be thinned out without a major failure, though no fault of the workers keeping the system running.

The workers who keep the country running, should be given more support and respect.

If this weather had hit the UK or Ireland, both would now be major disaster zones, where'as Sverige takes it in its stride. Swedes should be proud of there ability to repond to bad weather.
18:17 February 21, 2010 by dobermann
I hate this winter.This morning I was waiting for metro train for more than two hours, there was so cold in metro station as outside of it.. Now I feel that I am sick..
18:36 February 21, 2010 by morchad
agree with Nemesis, everyone does a pretty good job here! I don't think the sensationalist type news helps anyone, it only makes those feeling bad - worse.

Well done everyone, it will be over soon :-)
20:10 February 21, 2010 by ingka
totally support Nemesis ... also here in south Kronoberg the workforce is doing its utmost to keep the roads as clear as possible ... even the bycycle paths in my village are clean in a couple of hours after sunrise ... it's impressing after 2 months of hard work the fight still goes on ... if this work morale would display itselves in other industries, Sweden would be serious competition for the G7 powers (not during Fika time though)
22:07 February 21, 2010 by jcupak
I live in New England, USA, where we get "Nor'Easters" which come in from the ocean and swirl around for days dumping snow. Natives and long-time residents know they have to have snow tires - sometimes with chains - to get around in the winter. We do have some commuter railways, but most of our travel is by highway, including buses. I'm surprised that Sweden is having a bad winter, and would have thought everyone would have skis strapped to their roof - just in case.
03:12 February 22, 2010 by Davey-jo
We actually had some snow today, but it all melted by tea-time so no great shocks here in Hull. You seem to be having loads of the white stuff, it's killing rabbits and making sub-editors think of more ridiculous headlines but I'm sure it's nothing that you can't deal with.
04:58 February 22, 2010 by för30årseden
When will you fools realize: Global Warming is Progress? It does not have to be like this. Sweden could be better.
08:04 February 22, 2010 by Sunshine09
It's called Global Climate Change, not Global Warming i.e. extremes in either direction, in case you didn't notice...... And för30årseden, Sweden IS doing a darn good job keeping things running.
08:46 February 22, 2010 by karex
I think that several decades ago Sweden was better equipped to deal with extreme weather in winter. I wasn't around at the time but my husband and his family tell me stories. Anyone remember seeing pics of the good old-fashioned trains with snow/animal blades attached to the front? Why can't we do this in this day and age and get the trains to clear the tracks instead of getting loads of poor workers out on this arctic weather to clean them? I'm sure the trans-siberian railways doesn't stop working when it's winter. Granted the trains would have to move much slower, but they could still move. But wait, they can't because the way they are built nowadays palces too many critical components exposed to the weather which freeze over. I'm glad they don't build planes this way...

Swedish authorities have become too complacent after some years of mild winters. When I was a kid I faced a couple of winters in the US midwest that would put this one to shame: -40C/F (it's the same at this temp), and snow drifts almost up tp the roof of the house. We had to crawl out a window to go to the other side and dig out the front door. Things got difficult, but not the chaos it has caused here.
09:33 February 22, 2010 by dammen
I also think that Sweden is holding up well to the weather situation. There has been consistent lack of investment in train traffic and roads and for teh government to start attacking Barnverket for their lack of maintainace of the rail network is totally unjust given they have already stated they are not going to invest anymore money in trains but put it into roads instead - so much for the environmental policies.

Just keep up the good work those who are out cleaing up so those of us who live in small places can get to work
10:36 February 22, 2010 by miss79
gee..thinking how sweden wants to be a capitalist country..hmmm
Today's headlines
Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

Science
Asteroids leave mark on Sweden
Astroids can leave marks like these. Photo: TT

Asteroids leave mark on Sweden

Some 458 million years ago, Earth was whacked in a double asteroid strike, leaving craters visible in Sweden today, space scientists have reported. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN