Greens cite UK backtrack on railway upkeep

Greens cite UK backtrack on railway upkeep
The derailed train on Tuesday. File: TT
After two recent derailments on Swedish tracks, the Greens propose that the state take back management of the railways. The infrastructure minister said that it would be costly and inefficient.

"In England they have taken the journey that we have in Sweden, and outsourced maintenance to different companies," said MP Stina Bergström, Green member of the parliamentary committee on transport. "But it didn't work. There were many serious accidents and then they took (maintenance) back to public management."

Sveriges Radio (SR) reported on Friday that the deregulation of the Swedish railways began more than two decades ago when the state began outsorucing the tracks, trains and maintenance to third parties.Train traffic has almost doubled since the 1980s. 

While the Left Party politician backed up Bergström by calling the conservative government's commitment to the current system "nearly fundamentalistic," Infrastructure Minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd remained critical of the proposal. 

"I would sooner warn against suggestions that the state take care of maintenance," she told SR. "Costs would soar but would not result in one single krona going to maintenance. I think it's the wrong way to go." 

As late as Tuesday, a derailed cargo train caused commuter chaos in Stockholm. In November, a cargo train went off the rails in central Stockholm, just north of Södra Station, causing weeks of delays.

Spokesman Tomas Borg at the Transport Administration called the two recent derailments a "coincidence", emphasizing this week that "it's too early to speculate what caused this derailment". 


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