Swedish transport mayhem continues

Hard-hit commuters can expect more of the same on Tuesday with snow causing delays, cancellations and limited services across the country.

Stockholm local transport authority, SL, has deployed an additional 30-40 buses to to replace metro train services to the suburbs of the city. There are now 200 metro replacement buses on the roads.

The Stockholm metro will continue to run only on those stretches of track which run underground. Roslagsbanan and Lidingöbanan are running as normal, while the Saltsjöbanan is running a twice hourly service.

“We are taking it an hour at a time. We’re letting services run at a pace at which we are comfortable that safety can be maintained,” said Jesper Pettersson at SL.

The National Rail Administration (Banverket) was unable to confirm on Monday evening when services would return to normal. The meteorological office, SMHI, meanwhile warned that more harsh weather was on the way.

“We have 1,400 staff working feverishly around the clock to remove snow and ice around the junctions. But the situation also depends on the coming weather conditions,” Helena Thorsson at Banverket concluded.

Snow fell in southern areas of Sweden including Skåne, Blekinge, Kalmar, eastern Kronoberg and on Gotland on Monday. In some areas more than 10 centimetres fell before pushing north-east.

SMHI has issued a class 1 (of four, with four being the highest) storm warning for parts of southern Sweden.

A class 1 storm warning carries a “certain risk to the general public” and can cause disruption in some services.

Stina Sjöström at SMHI offers some solace for rail travellers, however, as she doesn’t think the snow falls will cause additional problems for rail services.

“The worst arrived at the weekend,” she said.

But Skånetrafiken, the local transport authority in the far south of Sweden, warns on its homepage on Tuesday of delays in both bus and train services.

Rail services between Stockholm and Gothenburg are expected to get going during the day, although delays are expected.

National rail operator, SJ, has been criticized for claiming that its travel guarantee, by which passengers can reclaim their outlay in the instance of delays, is not valid during the current cold spell.

“You can not just terminate a guarantee. By going out with this in the media SJ are just trying to frighten off passengers from submitting a claim,” said consumer ombudsman Gunnar Larsson to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

State-owned SJ claims that it has acted properly, explaining that the current situation is extreme and lies outside of the firm’s control. They thus claim force majeure.

The National Rail Administration has in turn been criticised by freight firm Green Cargo. Mats Hollander at the firm claims that the situation has become acute, telling Sveriges Television (SVT) that the situation is comparable to Stockholm Arlanda Airport being closed for a week.

The Administration hopes that the Hallsberg-Örebro route will open later on Tuesday, while Hallsberg-Mjölby is next in line for snow clearance.

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