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WEATHER

Passengers trapped on sweltering train

Passengers were trapped on a train in sweltering heat for nearly seven hours on Tuesday afternoon, for much of the time without food or water. Rail operator SJ said on Wednesday afternoon that it would offer all passengers 800 kronor in compensation and refund the cost of their tickets.

Passengers trapped on sweltering train

The high-speed X2000 train, which was travelling from Stockholm to Gothenburg, 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 basking in temperatures of 30-35 degrees celsius on Tuesday. Windows in the carriage could not be opened and staff refused to open the doors to let air circulate, citing health and safety rules. Passengers reported temperatures of up to 60 degrees celsius in the train.

According to reports in Aftonbladet, a man in his thirties fainted in the heat. Another man, reportedly concerned for the wellbeing of his baby, used an emergency axe to break one of the train’s windows.

Only after six hours at a standstill did the train start its slow journey onwards to Södertälje. SJ confirmed that one person was taken to hospital when the train arrived. Spokesman Tobias Johansson said that the doors could not be opened for safety reasons, as other trains were passing at high speed.

“It is naturally very unfortunate for those passengers affected. The problem was that the train was stuck between two tunnels and we could neither get food to the train or let anyone off because of the uneven terrain.”

SJ blamed bureaucracy for the long delay in getting the train moved. The company said it needed permission from Trafikverket, the government agency responsible for the rail track network, before it could move the train.

Passengers were 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.

According to Aftonbladet the passengers were offered compensation in the form of 200 kronor SJ vouchers, as well as receiving their money back for the ruined trip. SJ later said it would pay compensation of 800 kronor, in addition to granting refunds.

“It was an extraordinary situation,” the company’s head of press, Dag Rosander, said on Wednesday afternoon.

SJ said on Wednesday afternoon that the breakdown was caused by a fault with the train’s main circuit breaker.

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WEATHER

Swedish towns set record for warmest March weekend

Several places around Sweden broke temperature records over the weekend, as unusually warm weather for March bathed the northern half of the country.

Swedish towns set record for warmest March weekend

Torpshammar, near Sundsvall in Västernorrland, on Sunday recorded a temperature of 16.8C.

This was the highest temperature registered anywhere in the country so far this year, although Gävle and Delsbo in Gävleborg were close behind, with both recording a temperature of 16.7C. 

“It’s been warm across the country, but it’s been mostly in the middle and north of Norrland that we’ve had temperatures that are a long way above normal,” Ida Dahlström, a meteorologist with state weather forecaster SMHI, told the TT newswire.

For Delsbo 16.7C is the highest temperature recorded in March since records began in 1898. The cities of Kiruna and Umeå, and the harbour town of Örskär, where records began in 1898, 1858, and 1937 respectively, also all set new March records.

Gäddede and Frösön, both close to the Norwegian border in Jämtland, registered the warmest March day since 1945, while the nearby Storlien registered the warmest March day since 1881.

Dahlström said that cold wind would soon bring an end to the balmy temperatures, with snow expected on Tuesday in many of the central parts of Sweden currently enjoying unusual spring warmth. 

Last year, Sweden recorded the third-hottest June on record, with Stockholm seeing its hottest ever month.

“June 2021 was the hottest June ever recorded in my hometown Stockholm, by a large margin,” climate campaigner Greta Thunberg tweeted at the time. “The second hottest June was in 2020. The third in 2019,” she added.

“Am I sensing a pattern here? Nah, probably just another coincidence.”

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