• Sweden edition
 
Rail operator misled public on sweltering train

Rail operator misled public on sweltering train

Published: 20 Apr 2011 16:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Apr 2011 16:48 GMT+02:00

After passengers were stuck for six hours on a sweltering train last summer, rail operator SJ blamed bureaucracy for the long delay in getting the train moving.

But an investigation carried out by Sveriges Television (SVT) shows that SJ could have evacuated passengers after an hour and a half. Instead, they chose not to.

The high-speed X2000 train, which was travelling from Stockholm to Gothenburg in July 2010, 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 at the time basking in temperatures of 30-35 degrees Celsius.

Windows in the carriages could not be opened and staff refused to open the doors to let air circulate, citing health and safety rules.

Only after six hours at a standstill did the train start its slow journey onwards to Södertälje. By that time one passenger had been taken to hospital.

After the incident SJ blamed bureaucracy for the long delay in getting the train moved.

The company said it needed permission from the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), the government agency responsible for the rail track network, before it could move the train.

“It is terrible that this kind of thing can happen and totally unacceptable. If we could have done what we wanted and bring out an evacuation train then things would probably have been different, but we weren’t granted permission,” said Dag Rosander, the SJ press director, to SVT at the time.

But a transcript of the communication between SJ and the traffic administration tells a different story.

Initially the administration had advised against evacuation and instead another engine was sent to the scene to try to shift the train.

But after the train had been at a standstill for an hour and twenty minutes it was the traffic administration that was getting concerned for the well being of the passengers.

When told that the air conditioner had broken down the administration official decided that it would be worth the 45 minutes halt in other traffic to move the stranded passengers from the overheating carriages.

“Ok, I will let you evacuate – but you’ll have to make the decision pretty quickly,” the transcript of the conversation read.

Shortly after, SJ is reported saying that they have chosen not to evacuate.

“So, have you checked that passengers are OK there then, so this doesn’t hit the papers in the morning,” the traffic administration official said.

“Yes, I have spoken to staff onboard and it should be ok,“ the SJ official said.

When SVT questioned Elisabeth Lindgren, head of communications at SJ, she admitted that the information given to the public after the standstill was misguiding.

“I think that they really wanted to solve this the right way but it still went wrong, and there were a number of factors that contributed to the lengthy standstill,” Lindgren told SVT.

Lindgren had no answer for why SJ chose to put the blame on the traffic administration board after the incident.

“The most important thing now is what we do in the future. We have created a system that makes sure that we make a decision after 30 minutes standstill. No one should be stuck on a train longer than two hours,” Lindgren told SVT.

After six hours, passengers were finally 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.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

17:37 April 20, 2011 by Nilspet
I knew that it would turn out this way. I commute a lot and I can assure that SJ is very good at one thing i.e. blaming others (people, things, ...).
18:52 April 20, 2011 by KingArthur
leafs on the rails :)
Today's headlines
New coalition
New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Green Party leader Åsa Romson. Photo: TT

New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget

UPDATED: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrat-led coalition has revealed its first budget proposal, listing plans to spend more than 20 billion kronor. READ  

Royal family
Swedish royal couple set wedding date
The couple pictured in the summer. Photo: TT

Swedish royal couple set wedding date

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, who got engaged earlier this year, have announced they will marry next June. READ  

Analysis
Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'

There is talk that the nationalist Sweden Democrats could trigger a fresh election, by rejecting the new coalition's budget. But leading Political Scientist Li Bennich Björkman tells The Local that the party is just game-playing and should be focusing on getting its fatigued leader back. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Chocolate and liquorice are on the menu in Gothenburg this weekend. Photo: Shutterstock

What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st

A secret gig in Stockholm, a short film festival in Uppsala and a gastronomy event in Gothenburg have caught our eye this week. READ  

Science
Astronaut helps launch first student satellite
Christer Fuglesang on a previous space mission. Photo: TT

Astronaut helps launch first student satellite

Sweden's debut astronaut Christer Fuglesang is helping students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to become the first in the country to make their own satellite and send it into space. READ  

Weather
Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow
Kiruna, in far northern Sweden, has already been hit by snow this season. Photo: TT

Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow

Sweden's weather agency has warned that up to ten centimetres of snow are on the way for Sweden. READ  

Business and Money
Global profit boost for Handelsbanken
Handelsbanken is Sweden's second largest bank. Photo: Bertil Eriksson/TT

Global profit boost for Handelsbanken

Sweden's second-largest bank, Handelsbanken, has reported a rise in third-quarter profits, boosted by higher income from its loan book as it continues its expansion overseas. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden pulls back 'submarine' search
Navy vessels remain in the archipelago. Photo: Lars Pehrson/TT

Sweden pulls back 'submarine' search

Sweden is pulling back part of the naval operation which has been searching for a suspected Russian submarine off the coast of Stockholm for nearly a week. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange prepares for court ruling in Sweden
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange prepares for court ruling in Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he is "confident" his asylum status will be resolved, as he awaits an imminent ruling on his case by a Swedish court. READ  

Opinion
'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'
The submarine hunt is now in it's sixth day. Photo: TT

'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'

Military expert Johanne Hildebrandt tells The Local that the biggest question in the Stockholm submarine hunt hasn't been answered yet - why don't we know more about the "other operations" from the last few years? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den hr?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
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
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
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

977
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