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Wind storm wipes out Stockholm train service

Wind storm wipes out Stockholm train service

Published: 07 Apr 2011 23:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Apr 2011 23:37 GMT+02:00

Gusty winds brought train traffic to a standstill in Stockholm on Thursday afternoon, and also left thousands of Swedes without power in the south of the country.

Trains traveling north from Stockholm's Central Station couldn't move after a blown down pole knocked out power around 4pm and was left blocking five northbound tracks.

At first, the downed structure stopped trains traveling in both directions, but later on Thursday evening, southbound trains began rolling again.

Northbound trains, however, weren't expected to start moving again until Friday morning.

"It's total chaos here. It's packed like a can of sardines at Central Station," TT reporter Jan Winter said at around 7pm.

The pole which blew down was part of a provisional structure holding overhead lines up across a number of tracks.

According to the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), Thursday's stormy winds blew down two such structures between Karlberg and Solna north of Stockholm, stopping all trains to and from Stockholm which would normally use the northbound tracks.

Later on Thursday night, the agency announced that one northbound track from Stockholm was set to open around 11pm, but the report turned out to be premature.

"The track is too close to the pole that fell over all of them," Transport Administration spokesperson Monica Näslund told TT.

Certain postal trains will nevertheless be able to leave from the main postal rail terminal at Tomteboda during the night.

The transit agency continued to work feverishly in the area which caused the stoppage.

"Mobile cranes are on the scene and are going to remove the two [structures] that fell over and prop up the third so that it doesn't fall," said Näslund.

The work is expected to continue throughout the night, but the agency nevertheless expects work to be completed before the morning rush hour.

However, the Transport Administration is urging travelers to check if their trains are on scheduled since the repair timetable remains uncertain.

Shortly after 11pm, national rail operator SJ announced that night trains to Jämtland, Luleå and Umeå in northern Sweden would depart from Central Station and travel via the postal rail yard.

The X2000 train towards Sundsvall was also expected to depart in the early hours of Friday morning.

The power outage turned the main hall at Stockholm's Central Station into sea of weary and frustrated travelers, many of whom were left wondering exactly what had happened and when the problem may be fixed.

The situation was made even more chaotic after the station's public address system failed, as did those all at stations throughout the Lake Mälären region.

"It's really unfortunate that that happened just now," said Näslund.

SJ did its best to round up buses to take stranded passengers to their destinations.

"But as it stands now, we can't get any buses," SJ spokesperson Dan Olofsson told TT around 8pm on Thursday night.

Swedish meteorological agency SMHI had issued a class 2 warning earlier on Thursday due to strong winds.

In Skåne in southern Sweden, wind gusts were measured which topped 100 kilometres per hour.

The winds downed trees and scaffolding in many areas, and ripped the roof of a garage in Nacka south of Stockholm.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 40,000 households throughout southern Sweden, but by 9.30pm, the number of households without electricity had sunk to 25,000.

"Things have started to go in the right direction, but it's blowing really hard in some areas. We can't work everywhere – it's too dangerous," Roger Lindmark, a spokesperson for power company Vattenfall, told TT.

"Tree branches are blowing down on our workers."

Due to the continued strong winds, Lindmark was unable to say exactly when all of Vattenfall's customers would have their power back on.

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

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Your comments about this article

08:25 April 8, 2011 by procrustes
First snow, now wind...in the UK leaves on the tracks stop trains. Wake up SL, there's a delay you haven't thought of!

One would think that politicians would be all over the issue of rail outages since most people depend on public transportation to an important degree. If ever there were an instant vote-getter this is it.
09:38 April 8, 2011 by dammen
So procrustus - politicians can now control the weather!

Give it a break - thank god no one was hurt when those pole went as the cables are high voltage and that we did not get the storm that was forecast (as it was we were delivered 2 years free supply of wood onto our small property - caused a bit of damage when those trees fell).
10:28 April 8, 2011 by Strongbow
@procrustes

SL are already infamous for lövhalka, leaves on the line, that stops them every year.
10:45 April 8, 2011 by engagebrain
Accidents happen, but why does SJ not provide accurate information.

Last night the SJ website was still allowing bookings on trains from Uppsala to Stockholm.

At Uppsala C trains were not shown as canceled.
11:41 April 8, 2011 by Beavis
Find the whole Stockholm one quite suspicious... Was at Karlberg station where the train was standing, no power lines down.. Trains were going from Ulrik, so if there was a problem it was between the stations.. Just so happneded they started working back on the cityban yesterday, exactly between the 2 stations.. Probably the real cause of the "power lines down"
12:13 April 8, 2011 by procrustes
@dammen

"So - politicians can now control the weather!"

Clearly a sm*rt-As* remark reflecting "not my problem" mentality typical of politicians.

My point, which I am sure you got, is that with all of the weather related outages work has to be done to upgrade the rail system to a more robust weather tolerance level.

If you are a politician, please accept my apology, you probably didn't get it. If you still don't get it, leave a note and I'll try to make my point in even more simplistic language.
13:05 April 8, 2011 by Triniswede
@ engagebrain the information sent out at stations, displays and moniters arent controlled by SJ. That information in maintained, regulated and uppdated by traffikverket. SJ has no control over how the information is sent out.

Bookings were still allowed as it isnt possible to illiminate one part of the booking system without disrupting the entire system, and traffik to the south/southwest was still running.

@ procrustes.. i agree.. its the politicians.. we have the most undeveloped railway system in Europe, limited capacity and so on. The government isnt considering widening the railway network, not even between popular routes like sthlm-gbg/sthlm/malmo instead money is used to build the Botniabanan up north.

Food for thought.. the government is wanting to open up the railnetworks to allow other train operators into the system.. more trains on a limited railnetwork?

this power outage hopefully has shed light on the fact that that public services/rail networks/traffikverket need to be closer inspected..
09:55 April 10, 2011 by Raiha
If a powerline comes down near you, with live wires touching the ground, and you are lucky enough to still be standing DO NOT WALK AWAY from it. The ground around the live wires is now 'live', the charge decreasing in concentric circles the further from the wire you get. Stepping across these lines of charge will short the charge and kill you (Called step potential). Bunny-hop, feet together, away from the line until you have at least 8 metres clearance.

Could save your life one day.
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