• Sweden edition
 
Rail operator warns for winter travel woes

Rail operator warns for winter travel woes

Published: 09 Dec 2010 16:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2010 16:28 GMT+01:00

The state of Swedish train operator SJ's vehicles are worse this winter than last year, according to CEO Jan Forsberg.

Although winter has only just gotten under way in the country, train delays have already crippled Sweden's rail system.

"Passengers are deeply inconvenienced," Riksdag transportation committee chair Anders Ygeman pointed out when when several of those responsible for recent ice">rail service disruptions were questioned in the Riksdag on Thursday.

He pointed out that although the winter has barely begun, passengers have endured train delays, cancellations and even evacuations.

Stockholm county governor Per Unckel presented the investigation he undertook after last year's train disruptions, which showed a lack of snowploughs and facilities for de-icing vehicles.

SJ's Forsberg stated that the 80-point action plan that was drawn up after last winter has been largely implemented.

Several short-term measures, many of which have already been implemented, include emergency plans, better weather forecasts and plans to reduce traffic so that departures are adjusted to ensure other traffic flows better.

"Our Achilles heel was that we had damaged vehicles, which resulted in a delicate situation for us," he said.

Forsberg pointed out that the express X2000 trains are 17 years old and in great need of a facelift.

He noted that it has increased de-icing capabilities, improved the protection of train underframes, reinforced locomotive parts against elk collisions and made better preparations to inform passengers when traffic problems arise.

SJ has also developed traffic reduction plans.

"If we get a winter like last year, we will go with a 20 percent reduction," said Forsberg.

When asked if the vehicle situation is worse than last winter, Forsberg replied, "Yes, it is, unfortunately."

An X2000 train has been removed from service completely due to a train crash in Östergötland in September.

In addition, three X2000 trains have been set aside for review since they were the three vehicles SJ have had the most problems with. Another seven to eight InterCity trains have also been taken out of service after cracks were discovered in the wheels of a locomotive in Norway last autumn.

"This of course means that if there are traffic problems, we are just at the limit of what we need, or precisely, we have less than what we need," said Forsberg.

He was unable to reassure passengers that trains would arrive in time for Christmas, adding it costs money to have functioning train service.

Service and communication union Seko ombudsman Johnny Nadérus directed devastating criticism at the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) for SJ's woes.

"There is talk of resources and readiness. However, soon, there will only be one old guy left out there shoveling snow," he said, pointing out the staff reductions that have occurred in recent years.

Preparations that were supposed to have been carried out on October 15th have not been accomplished, he added.

"Fifty hours after a class 2 weather warning in Malmö is definitely grounds for an inquiry," said Nadérus.

He also cited problems with switches that have loose screws and the lack of maintenance on overhead lines at the same time as a major reallocation of investments and maintenance have been transferred from rail to road.

Lars Yngström, vice president of industry association Tågoperatörerna, was also critical of rail maintenance.

"One cannot remove snow at the desk. At the end of the day, it requires a responsible human being," he said.

New statistics from the Transport Administration revealed that November was a problem-filled month for trains. The punctuality of passenger services was 86.2 percent compared with 90.2 percent in October.

Punctuality refers to trains that are not more than five minutes late.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:57 December 9, 2010 by Vanity_of_the_Bonfires
I was in Sweden last year and took the train from Malmo to Falkenberg. It was absolutely the worst train ride I've ever been on. I hadn't been to Sweden for about 20 years and I was appalled to see how poor the rail system had become. Next time I'll rent a car. I don't know why Swedes put up with it. The passengers seemed to either take out their frustration on their fellow passengers or sit in quite toleration. Sad to see.

I love Sweden, it is a beautiful, prosperous country. With such punitive taxes, one would think the rail system would be better.

-Descendant of Swedish immigrants to the US
06:41 December 10, 2010 by Rap43
Ahhh... the benefits of a neo-conservative government!

Moderat times are good times... if you happen to be a corporation.
21:58 December 10, 2010 by kenny8076
i gave my cv to Sj in Karlstad...... was hoping to get a job doing anything.....cleaning the trains, cleaning the tracks,, construction.....something..... the guy told me theres about an absolute certainty i wont get a job with them...... he took my CV anyways....but i guess they are not hiring, or doing anything good from what i hear
Today's headlines
Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

An elementary school in southern Sweden was evacuated on Wednesday and dozens of pupils were taken to hospital after the smell of gas spread through the rooms. READ () »

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock
The Flymen Church weathercock in all its newly gilded glory. Photo: TT

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock

A Swedish churchwarden has reacted with joy upon finding out the parish has Sweden's nicest weathercock. READ () »

Greens push rich tax to finance schools
Per Bolund of The Greens. File photo: TT

Greens push rich tax to finance schools

Sweden's third largest party The Greens revealed its shadow budget on Wednesday, targeting schools and youth employment. High earners would have to pitch in more. READ () »

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'
Ibiza, you say? File photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'

Mythbusting Swedish researchers have found no link between gushing about your upcoming holiday online and returning to an emptied house. They told The Local that a trip to Ikea could be much more dangerous. READ () »

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft
The people in this picture are not those from the story. Photo: TT

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft

A woman in Gothenburg who accused a beggar of robbing her has been charged with fraud and false accusations. READ () »

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Photo: Kungahuset

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess

Sweden's royal family has set the date for the baptism of Princess Leonore. READ () »

The Local List
Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

With Swedish Game of Thrones fans frothing at the mouth at the season four premiere, The Local revisits its list of ten reasons why the hit books and show are (probably) based in Sweden. READ () »

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers
The Kockums Malmö shipyard and FMV headquarters. Files: TT

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

After the Swedish military raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp, a military expert tells The Local why recent Russian aggression means Sweden's Saab needs to take control of national submarine production. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Advertisement:
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
TT
Society
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching, March 28-30
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

745
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