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Stockholm underground facing part-closure

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11:46 CET+01:00
Part of the Stockholm underground rail system could be forced to close for good after the New Year.

So many trains have been taken out of service that the planners at SL, the company which manages the Swedish capital's transport network, says it may simply be better to run bus services on the outer stretches of the system.

"There is no good solution but we must work out what is the least bad one," said SL's head of planning, Per Ekberg, to Stockholm City.

There are currently some 140 carriages out of operation following a fire in a tunnel in the spring and an electrical failure on a train in October.

"It is unclear when we will get back the carriages," said Ekberg.

The news is the worst case scenario for the city's public transport officials, who are already anticipating a surge in use when the congestion charge trial begins in January.

Per Ekberg said that he found it "hard to believe" that a whole line would be closed. Instead, buses could run in parallel with whole routes or, more likely, suburban sections would have to be shut.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Essingeleden - one of Stockholm's busiest stretches of motorway - is to remain partly closed until the New Year.

Two weeks ago a massive crane barge crashed into the bridge between the islands of Stora Essingen and Lilla Essingen. Engineers say that the damage is worse than previously thought and at least one northbound lane will remain closed while repair work is carried out.

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