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Winter train delays cost Sweden 'billions': report

TT/The Local/cg · 20 Jun 2011, 10:56

Published: 20 Jun 2011 10:56 GMT+02:00

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According to the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), the heavy snowfall and record cold that swept across Sweden during the winter of 2010-2011 resulted in approximately four million hours in delays, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported.

The transport administration's costs for snow removal and similar wintry efforts were budgeted 210 million kronor, but landed on a hefty 310 million kronor.

Economic consequences for companies and others struck by train delays are not included in the figures.

In addition, there were a total of 22 million tonne-hours worth of delays in cargo traffic during the winter, which is an increase by 10 percent compared with the previous year.

The transport agency estimated the cost of cancelled freight trains at 200 million kronor in a report to the Riksdag.

"The direct costs of the transport systems are the only thing included. Companies obviously have other costs as well, but unfortunately those aren't included in the socioeconomic calculations, according to currently used models," commented the Swedish Transport Administration's director Gunnar Malm to news agency TT.

"This is a flaw that we're looking into right now, so we can assess total costs better."

According to Malm, the administration budgeted for roughly the same total costs for the upcoming winter as for the two previous ones.

He envisions facing similar traffic problems next winter, if problems with snow and cold return.

Story continues below…

Passengers' have pulled no punches in their criticism of Swedish rail service for its lack of up-to-date information about delays and cancellations.

"That has to improve. We have a number of groups working intensely with operators and buildings. It's an extensive project, that I hope will pay off this very year," said Malm.

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:36 June 20, 2011 by avatar
i wonder if Sweden should also claim damages from EU? If Spain can do it for their infected gurkas why not Sweden in this case.
11:42 June 20, 2011 by engagebrain
My experience is that trains are on time unitl about 10 minutes before they are due to arrive, and then suddenly become 40 minutes late or get cancelled.

When a train is running late the operators know for much longer that is is delayed - why not share the information and enable passengers to make alternative plans, drink coffee, find somewhere warm to wait, get someone to collect the children etc.

We live in an age of information, in theory,
20:25 June 20, 2011 by kenny8076
me and my girlfriend are going Interailing this fall, I cant wait to finally ride a REAL rail system in the other countrys, SJ is WAY overpriced, inconvenient, and slow...... PLAIN AND SIMPLE.......

me and my girlfriend's sister's husband were talking about train travel here a couple weeks ago. He said him and his wife look into going to Karlstad all the time when they go visit friends, coming from Västerås....... but for the two of them it is about 900-1100SEK roundtrip plus transfer times, and of coarse delay times..... He said when he does the math and calculates time, taking the car is WAAAAYYYYY more rational, convenient, easier, and cheaper.
09:47 June 21, 2011 by EP
Winter happens every year and yet the train companies act surprised and get caught unprepared each time. I don't understand it. In far poorer countries, trains run, don't get cancelled, in Sweden, a few cms of snow cause chaos.
16:47 June 21, 2011 by Puffin
@ EP - what does it even have to do with the train companies?? They don't maintain the tracks

It is an ongoing problem that the current government refuses to maintain the tracks to a high standard

I have been a long distance commuter for many years but poor maintenance coupled with track overcrowding (something else that the government won't pay to improve) means that the standards have been declining year on year

I read statstics a couple of years ago that Sweden only spends 1/8 per KM the amount that is spent in the UK


Well obviously traveeling 1st class will be expensive - 1st class ticket for this journey start at around 250kr per single journey for this journey

Why don't they buy the cheap tickets that start at 95kr??
18:20 June 21, 2011 by Micardo
Although they spent 310 million on snow clearing its not like they imported anything or the money left the country. It went back into the economy and the government got a lot of it back again in taxes. These figures are misleading and are manipulated to suit whatever whenever. What was the real cost, they can afford to spend more in reality and keep the transport systems running properly.
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