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Vintage railways face closure over new law

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 3 Aug 2010, 08:53

Published: 03 Aug 2010 08:53 GMT+02:00

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"We would never be able to manage it," Lars Johansson at the Anten-Gräfsnäs Järnväg association (AGJ) to the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) daily.

Johansson argues that if the proposal from the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) becomes law "100,000s of hours of voluntary work would have wasted".

The government has instructed the agency that from the beginning of 2011 its operations should be primarily financed by charges levied on rail transport firms and railway operators, a move which Johansson claims would cost his association up to 200,000 kronor ($28,166) per year.

"We sell train tickets for 800,000 per year, the new charges would take almost a quarter of our income," he told GP.

Other railway enthusiast groups have complained that the new proposal would mean that that the state gives with one hand, in the form of exemptions from track charges, and takes from the other with the new charges.

Story continues below…

The legislative proposal will be sent on a review round in the autumn and that the purpose is that the agency costs are reflected in its charges.

Ulrik Bergman at the agency tells the newspaper that the vintage railway operators are welcome to air their views and engage in a dialogue prior to the charges being decided upon in the autumn.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:48 August 3, 2010 by Swedesmith
C'mon, you gotta keep the old trains, they're a part of history.
15:41 August 3, 2010 by millionmileman
This is ludicrous, I cannot think of any other country that woul do this. As long as there are safety inspections, what is the problem?
15:43 August 3, 2010 by Nemesis
An exception is not to much to ask.

After all these enthusiasts are keeping part of Sweden's history alive, which can only be a good thing.
16:46 August 3, 2010 by Pont-y-garreg
They are called "Heritage" railways in British English.
00:05 August 4, 2010 by iridesce
Being from the States and having a vintage rail line near my home, I am all for the existence of such historic enterprises, typically undertaken by devoted volunteers.

That being said, I didn't understand the content of the article. Is the government now going to charge the operators of the AGP a new fee or is the government now going to require inspections ( and thus a new layer of bureaucracy ) that will cost the operators ????

Clarification would be appreciated
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