SJ profits rise again

Swedish train operator SJ saw profits continue to rise in 2006, meaning the company's owner, the Swedish state, can expect to receive a bumper dividend.

In its annual report, published on Tuesday, the company said its net profits stood at 605 million kronor in 2006. The previous year profits stood at 484 million kronor. Turnover last year stood at 6.9 billion kronor, up from 5.7 billion in 2005.

The company’s board has proposed a dividend of 37.50 kronor a share, or a total of 150 million kronor.

The results cement SJ’s turnaround from a position of near-bankruptcy several years ago. Then, the company was saved after the government pumped in extra money. The continued improvement for SJ was put down to other factors:

“Aggressive price cuts, the environmental benefits of trains and a range of new product offerings have led to a record 9 percent increase in travel,” SJ wrote in a press release.

SJ sold two million more journeys in 2006 than in 2005. The good results led SJ to pay a bonus of 10,000 kronor per employee in December’s pay packet.


Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped and between Stockholm and Malmö severely disrupted due to a fire and several electrical faults.

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

“We have problems with all rail traffic south of Norrland,” Peter Jonsson, from the Swedish Transport Administration, told the country’s TT newswire. “The heat has of course had an impact, particularly when it concerns the fire, but we’re not otherwise speculating on the cause.” 

According to the agency, the issues are the result of four separate incidents, a fire south of Hallsberg, an overhead power contact line, which has snapped, and two electrical faults. 

Peter Krameus, a spokesperson for Sweden’s state-owned rail company SJ, said that all trains were being sent back to the stations from which they most recently departed until the faults could be corrected. 

While trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped completely, trains between Stockholm and Malmö have been affected by two problems with overhead lines. Trains between Mjölby and Nässjö and Eslöv and Stehag are travelling onto on one of the two lines now. 

“That doesn’t mean that all traffic has stopped, but it’s going to mean cancelled trains and delayed departures,” Jonsson said. 

So far, 50 of SJ’s train departures have been cancelled as a result of the faults.