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Sweden invests least in railway upkeep: report

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Sweden invests least in railway upkeep: report
10:27 CEST+02:00
Sweden puts far less money into railroad maintenance than other EU countries, shows a report that union Seko will be presenting next week, wrote newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (GP).

"This is worse than I thought," said Kristoffer Arvidsson, investigator at Seko, to GP.

"I knew we were bad at railroad maintenance in Sweden, but that we're so extremely bad came as a surprise."

Railroad operations and maintenance receive far below the EU average in Sweden, in relation to the gross national product (GNP). Sweden also invests less than any other EU country in reinvestments.

"Politicians have prioritized big ostentatious projects instead of the crucial maintenance. Gear changes won't get you any votes," commented Arvidsson to GP.

Change may be on the horizon, according to Gunnar Malm, head of the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

"Politicians are finally starting to understand what's needed. This spring we received 800 million kronor ($120 million) extra to prepare for winter, and now we're getting another 3.6 billion for increased railroad maintenance and reinvestments," he said to GP.

However, Malm warns that it will take between 7 and 10 years to reach the standard necessary to get trains to run on time.

Seko's report also shows that 67 percent of Swedes no longer trust trains to run on time.

"Swedish railroads are heavily used and maintenance has been disregarded for decades. That leads to major disruptions," said Gunnar Malm.

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