SJ on the right tracks

SJ, Sweden's state-owned rail company, is anticipating a profit for the year of around half a billion kronor, says the organisation's management.

For the first nine months of the year the company has returned a profit of 397 million kronor. For the third quarter alone, the profit was 242 million kronor a significant improvement on the 70 million kronor profit for the same period last year.

But at the same time, SJ’s board has decided to write to the government requesting that it reconsiders its investment priorities.

“23 billion will, over the next fifteen years, be invested in Västernorrland. But the need is greater in Malmö, Stockholm, Mälardalen and Göteborg,” said SJ chairman Ulf Adelsohn.

“There, money is needed to remove bottlenecks and single-track stretches. In these regions it’s too crowded on the railways,” he said.

SJ is also pushing the environmental argument. The company reckons that if passengers who fly between Stockholm and Gothenburg took the train instead, the environment would be spared thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

The number of people travelling with SJ increased by 7% in the third quarter, compared to the same quarter last year.

The main increase has been on the medium-distance routes such as Malmö-Gothenburg and Malmö-Växjö/Kalmar. But even the longer routes, such as Stockholm-Gothenburg, have seen an increase in passengers despite tough competition from the budget airlines.

“I believe we have got the message out that if you want to travel cheaply, you travel with SJ,” said managing director Jan Forsberg.