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Passengers trapped on sweltering train

Passengers trapped on sweltering train

Published: 14 Jul 2010 10:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Jul 2010 15:17 GMT+02:00

Passengers were trapped on a train in sweltering heat for nearly seven hours on Tuesday afternoon, for much of the time without food or water. Rail operator SJ said on Wednesday afternoon that it would offer all passengers 800 kronor in compensation and refund the cost of their tickets.

The high-speed X2000 train, which was travelling from Stockholm to Gothenburg, broke down between the Stockholm suburb of Flemingsberg and the town of Södertälje, where it was left standing for six hours. Staff handed out free food and drink to passengers, but the refreshments soon ran out.

Passengers reported sweltering heat within the train after the air conditioning broke down - the Södertälje area was basking in temperatures of 30-35 degrees celsius on Tuesday. Windows in the carriage could not be opened and staff refused to open the doors to let air circulate, citing health and safety rules. Passengers reported temperatures of up to 60 degrees celsius in the train.

According to reports in Aftonbladet, a man in his thirties fainted in the heat. Another man, reportedly concerned for the wellbeing of his baby, used an emergency axe to break one of the train’s windows.

Only after six hours at a standstill did the train start its slow journey onwards to Södertälje. SJ confirmed that one person was taken to hospital when the train arrived. Spokesman Tobias Johansson said that the doors could not be opened for safety reasons, as other trains were passing at high speed.

“It is naturally very unfortunate for those passengers affected. The problem was that the train was stuck between two tunnels and we could neither get food to the train or let anyone off because of the uneven terrain.”

SJ blamed bureaucracy for the long delay in getting the train moved. The company said it needed permission from Trafikverket, the government agency responsible for the rail track network, before it could move the train.

Passengers were moved to another train when they arrived in Södertälje. But 80 kilometres outside Gothenburg their replacement train also broke down, and they were forced to transfer to commuter trains. They finally arrived in Gothenburg at 3:10am on Wednesday - more than 13 hours after leaving Stockholm.

According to Aftonbladet the passengers were offered compensation in the form of 200 kronor SJ vouchers, as well as receiving their money back for the ruined trip. SJ later said it would pay compensation of 800 kronor, in addition to granting refunds.

"It was an extraordinary situation," the company's head of press, Dag Rosander, said on Wednesday afternoon.

SJ said on Wednesday afternoon that the breakdown was caused by a fault with the train's main circuit breaker.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:04 July 14, 2010 by gozde
this is an outrage! SJ has been really messing up this year. in winter the trains didn't work coz it was too cold. now they don't work coz it's too hot! isn't it time they began taking precautions?
13:40 July 14, 2010 by vinve
"Rain operator SJ confirmed...."

Please correct it as "Train" operator. Thanks
15:18 July 14, 2010 by The Local
Thanks for pointing out the typo - it is now corrected.
15:56 July 14, 2010 by vladd777
Time we went back to the old steam train I think.
16:06 July 14, 2010 by Puffin
It seems that the whole thing was handled in a totally inept way by all concerned -I cannot think of anything worse that being stuck in a train that reached around 60C inside

Trafikverket apparently vetoed SJs plan to evacuate passengers onto another train 1 hour after the incident started and refused to allow doors to be opened
16:25 July 14, 2010 by teslar
I don't get the "trains are passing at high speed" argument against opening doors. Surely that only applies to one side of the train?
17:19 July 14, 2010 by farnoxo
There's a surprise - a problem on the X2000 to Göteborg. I work with several colleagues who use the X-2000 between Stockholm and Göteborg and they have problems / delays about 75% of the time. Also, weirdly, quite a lot of people (myself included) feel nauseous on the X-2000.
17:34 July 14, 2010 by eZee.se
"Also, weirdly, quite a lot of people (myself included) feel nauseous on the X-2000. "

That IS weird... because when I told a few friends I felt nauseous on the X2000, they told me thats pretty much unheard of, and I think I was one of the only ones.
18:11 July 14, 2010 by blursd
What were they waiting for ... the train to become a pressure cooker? The interior of the train pushes 60 degrees and the SJ employees have so little common sense they just sit there twiddling their fingers? If I were on that train I would be beyond pissed off ...

Coincidentally (to farnoxo & eZee.se) I got nauseated on the X2000 every single time ... I found if I chewed on a Tuggamin (gum with motion sickness medication in it) I could get through the three hour stint on the train.
18:49 July 14, 2010 by glamelixir
We had to wait for our train for 7 hours when we returned after midsommar.

Keep on privatizing without controls to costumer service and here we go... soon you will see what they are turning Sweden into.

I have seen this before, in 10 years .... you will remember.
19:17 July 14, 2010 by LeoKinmann
Everytime I take the X2000 train i feel sick. And the worst route for me is between Stockholm and Malmö. The train is always sliding sidways on the track. Once I saw an old man falling when the train was turning. Strangely, my Swedish friends claim that X2000 is the most comfortable train ever. I just can't agree with that.
20:51 July 14, 2010 by sendia
@teslar. As they mentioned the train was struck between two tunnels probably on the other side there was a mountain or something.

However why cant they stop the trains for say half hour to evacuate the passengers!... simply because no one wanted to take any responsibility. However why just one passenger broke the window?? they should have broken two or three windows for every coach!

I agree these kind of problems simply cannot be avoided, its how the handle it........................................
22:01 July 14, 2010 by Eric Cantona
No doubt the guy who smashed the window with an axe will be charged and sent to prison for 'daring to not conform with the other Swedish sheep'
08:49 July 15, 2010 by mojofat
Is it legal for the staff to detain people inside a train like that when it's stopped? I would've been beyond pissed as well had I been forced to remain inside that train all day long as well. That's crazy.
14:45 July 15, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
The Nausea is caused by the trains tilting mechanism. The train cars are forced into a tilt around corners so the train can go faster around the curves. It keeps the train from tipping over and crashing.

The sick feeling comes about because what the inner ear feels is NOT what the EYES experience. Unfortunately there are a sizable number of people out there who are susceptible to these forced "unnatural" movements.

This is the same reason that full motion home built flight simulators are unrealistic. Synchronizing the motion with the visual is very difficult.

-- IN THE MEAN TIME - Where is the damn HOT-LINE?
01:23 July 16, 2010 by Miss May
I would have smashed open a window also, if my four chioldren had been with me on that train! In fact, would have smashed a number of them! The very idea, operating a train in this pitiful fashion
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