Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters

Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters
It's not the first time train delays cause headaches for Swedish commuters. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
A faulty railway switch in Stockholm was expected to cause rush-hour headaches for travellers across Sweden on Monday morning after several trains were cancelled and others diverted.

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Heavy delays were expected in and around the Swedish capital on Monday morning after SL, which operates public transport in the Stockholm area, cancelled the reinforcement trains normally used at rush hour.

“What we are able to say at the moment is that the spare trains will not be running, and some trains coming from the south will have to turn around at the Stockholm Södra Station,” SL press spokesman Bengt Stenberg told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The faulty switch was discovered at some point during the night and is not expected to be fixed until around two o' clock in the afternoon, according to the Swedish Traffic Authority (Trafikverket).

“There will probably be quite a few travellers affected by this, which we are very sorry for. The Traffic Authority's assessment is that this switch has to be fixed and that safety has to come first,” Stenberg added.

Passengers travelling from further away will also be hit by the problems, with long distance trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg, Malmö in the south, Karlstad, Hallsberg and several other towns set to be affected.

It is not the first time train delays have caused headaches for Swedish commuters. Last week, more than ten thousand passengers were faced with travel chaos after a signalling fault caused trains to come to a complete halt for hours north of Stockholm.

And earlier this month, commuters in Stockholm were left stranded at rush hour after a cable caught fire at one of the capital's railway stations, only days after more than a dozen trains came to a halt when an electric wire was torn down in southern parts of the capital.

The Swedish government announced plans in their spring budget for a billion kronor railway revamp earlier in April. Ministers want to invest 620 million kronor ($72m) in 2015 and thereafter 1.24 billion a year until 2018 to put an end to delays and train cancellations which have plagued Swedish rail travellers in recent years.

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